I am the song what the angels sing....each of the lines in this short poem written by one of my children many, many years ago, stands on its own as a flag of confidence and self-belief. I am so proud of it, and of the many others I've stuck in scrap books, retrieved from old hard drives, transferred from one laptop to another. These poems have the status of faded colour 35mm photos from camping holidays.
I came across the poem after a generous friend, Jill Gardiner, the historian and poet, took me to Charleston Festival at the weekend. The singing began. What I mean is the older I get, the more connections, resonances, chimes there are. Or is it that lockdown provided a detox and now I am more open to the many ways artists' work reflects my own life?
The first bars of the angel song were Michael Morpurgo talking about his farm for city kids (my cousin set up one of the first city farms in Cardiff decades ago) and Brighton illustrator Emily Gravett who was just so honest about academic failure.
More bars came as Sarfraz Manzoor and Yasmin Cordery Khan talked about white wives, mothers and the experiences of mixed race children. As they spoke, my son Mrisi was preparing for another gig at Brighton Festival, his music the vessel for his experience growing up with British and South African heritage. And my daughter sent me pictures on Whats App of her show in Germany: photos born in an interrogation of colonialism, heritage and cultural ownership.
I was itching to ask questions, but they are perhaps better off unsaid so they can continue with their music, fizzing, building momentum, burrowing, sitting with those sky gods. And they took me back to this poem about identity, written when my adult children were so little and came along to help out at Saturday workshops for children. Which brings in On Poetry, just a month in the world.