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Royal Festival Hall (Level 5), Southbank Centre, LondonOpen Tuesday - Sunday from 11am to 8pm
Poem from The Way the Crocodile Taught Me (Seren, 2016). First published in The Spectator.
I walk the alleys trampled through the wheat,
Through whole blue summer eves, on velvet grass.
Dreaming, I feel the dampness at my feet;
The breezes bathe my naked head and pass.
I do not think a single thought, nor say
A word, but in my soul the mists upcurl
Of infinite love. I will go far away
With nature, happily, as with a girl.
Everyone stood outside their front door.
As the clock struck eight they began to clap
slowly as if someone was coming on stage
but as more in the street joined in, they clapped
louder and louder as if they were freeing
something within, perhaps a patient who never
had the opportunity to thank everyone
who looked after them when they were ill.
Everyone was clapping all over the country
banging lids, pots. Fireworks lit the sky.
Their spirits zoomed. They felt how a patient
must feel when administered good news.
Their hands will never finish clapping.
Everyone has been a patient.
Everyone’s hearts are clapping.
As long as hearts clap, hands will too.