Pathway Arts

Rethink

 

Pathway Arts commissioned poet Andrew McMillan to respond to refugee and asylum seeker participants from Rainbow Haven for the ‘One Thing’ project. Below is Andrew’s own personal response to the project.


Rethink

think of words that mean England
red busses fish and chips London The Queen

think of words that are more than merely names for things
convention covenant fingerprint

think of words you never knew the meaning of before
escape danger freedom

think of language as a common skill not a difference
think of thirty six pounds and sixty two pence a week

think of a room where people get what they need
food help friends laughter

think of the country as a room as a house

think of the bricks you’d need to build
stability safety family love

think of the astronauts who return from space
having lost all concept of borders

think of the people who know too well
what abstract lines can mean

think of being forced to give over a map of yourself
think of always being lost never being home

think of opening your doors
kettle snacks comfort

think that objects are the same no matter what names we have for them
house haset maison ev casa

think this we’re all from somewhere else

think if someone knocked on your door in tears
would you help them

Andrew McMillan 2014


Poems participants wrote with Andrew McMillan

Passport
my eyes to the world
my keys to the world
my door to the world
blue, but too dark to be Manchester City
hard outside, soft from the inside
the passport smells of Freedom

6 weeks, a boy and girls
and two older twins, boy and girl, who are seven.
Six altogether, but I need more twins!
When they were born I was very happy,
I felt love.
When they grow up I want them to be happy
and have good jobs, like doctors.

The Bracelet
Three different civilisations
Green, the many centuries ago, the after
White, the king of Syria
The stars mean blood
Black, the third one
Everyone has one, it represents the need for freedom

Read Dr Jonathan Darling’s response to One Thing here.