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Royal Festival Hall (Level 5), Southbank Centre, LondonOpen Tuesday – Sunday from 12 noon – 8pm
Recorded at 'Citizens of the Archive' at the National Poetry Library, July 2017. Written for Nelson Mandela.
Wild with sleep and sleeplessness
I kept losing tables, cities,
trees, churches, palaces, entire countries
Where was Egypt?
How could I have misplaced Poland?
When there was only one table left in the world,
breakfast tried to cheer everyone up –
I lost autumn,
ageless autumn, mislaid winter,
all summer I searched for spring
I stole some shadows from my one remaining forest,
some rain from El Nino
I’d appreciate your help
in snatching an hour of lost light back from the moon and stars,
but I guess that’s not going happen
in my lifetime
So much time has passed. Snow-
flakes fall round lit street lamps.
They’re falling in Glasgow
They’re falling in Norway
Would it be good for me
not to say “so much time”?
Would it be better if
I could say “I’m alive
and I remember snow-
flakes falling round street lamps
when I was very young