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A poem for Canterbury

A poem for Canterbury

An audience filled the Cathedral Nave on Saturday 9 June when Canterbury Poet Laureate Lemn Sissay MBE unveiled his poem for Canterbury Cantuarian.

The evening of music and poetry, to celebrate the wonder of the human voice, had been put together with the collaboration of The Marlowe, Canterbury Cathedral Trust and The Wise Words Festival.

In this very special performance, Lemn performed his Poem For Canterbury, commissioned as part of his Laureateship, followed by an audience with The Dean of Canterbury.
A host of voices from across Canterbury and Kent then took take to the stage, including Elham Valley Voices and local musician Richard Navarro performing with Ellie-Maye Fox and local choirs.

The concert culminated in a magical performance of A Poem For Canterbury by Lemn, joined by the boys and men of the Cathedral Choir.

Proceeds from the performance will support the Cathedral’s campaign for music, The Canterbury Voice, and the Canterbury Laureateship.

You can watch a video of the poem being read by Lemn – with some help from the citizens of Canterbury – here, or you can read the poem.

Cantuarian

I ha’ant the time to rest at night
I hold the moon and satellite
I am the library of light
For Canterbury for all its might

And I roll beneath I roll
And I hold I hold I hold
And I swirl and I swirl
And waves uncurl

This Cantuarian
This latitudinarian
Carried the stones
Of the Trinitarian

In the river of the broken sword
(The failure of the knighted hoard)
In that winter – sheath unseen –
I washed it clean I washed it clean

Time and river entwine a ripple of twine
A shiver of rhyme this rhythm of mine
I carry the story out to the sea
The west wind addresses me

By bank and bed, red and deeper
The city head the secret keeper
I bathed the uncivilized scream
I washed it clean I washed it clean

And I roll beneath I roll
And I hold I hold I hold
And I swirl and I swirl
And waves uncurl

I am the library of light
For Canterbury for all its might.

image of the Cathedral
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