BATTLE OF LEWISHAM POEM - 'BREATH'
Poem responding to the 1977 Battle of Lewisham by acclaimed writer Grace Nichols installed alongside permanent public artwork to commemorate role of women...
Inspired by the Battle of Lewisham and its legacy, Breath (2020) by Grace Nichols connects the events in Lewisham on 13 August 1977 with the Black Lives Matter movement and the impact of Covid-19 on black communities:
The mounting faces of the dead look out at us
from the small windows of a TV screen -
That young nurse pregnant with the seed of life,
that bus driver, that doctor, that cleaner -
A patchwork quilt of humanity
gone to a memorial of rainbows.
But how could we have foreseen
the way in which a pandemic
would unseam to reveal
the endemic strain of another -
The insidious stitches against a people’s dreams.
The thread-like breath now banner: I can’t breathe.
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