Here's the poem I wrote for Radio Manchester, which they've filmed with lots of local people. It's a response to Portia's speech "The Quality of Mercy" from the Merchant of Venice, entitled "Rain, Like Mercy".
Here's my slot on Radio Manchester discussing it with Alison and Phil
And here I am on All FM chewing the fat with Lenny the Lounge Lizard and reading this poem and others
And here's the poem for you.
Rain, like Mercy
, we’re awash Manchester
with it. Drains are overwhelmed. Cars
aquaplane, drenching passers by. It drips
from the tents of the makeshift city, muddies
premiership knees. It sits in reservoirs
in hills above us, saved for dryer times
piped to dryer places. We built a city
on all this wet. We feel it in our bones.
But under roofs and inside glass there are those
untouched by it. So, shake it off your brolly
in the bank. Let it trickle from your coat hem
in the courts. Stamp your oozing boots
on the town hall tiles. Let it seep
into the dry places, dribble on the great
and the good. Tempt them all out in it –
from clerks to CEOs, councillors,
chancellors and constables – shirts clinging,
socks wringing, all of them, singing and….
Maybe, once in a lifetime, all of us
should dance naked in it. Understand
mercy through the skin, flesh prickled
with it, carrying it with us in our blood.