Sunday, 29 June 2014


18:00:00 Posted by Shaun Brookes , , , , , , , , , 2 comments
When it comes to performing poetry, the space and the venue that you're in certainly makes a difference. At the start of the month, I found myself at Poulton Gala with a poem I'd written just the night before. As it happened, I had been notified that the back up plan was to use the church in case of rain so, I suppose coupled with the Brazilian carnival theme of the Gala I was swayed into my decision over what to write about.
You'll be surprised to hear that I managed to focus on football and religion for my poem and so, when the rain did indeed come down heavy, I ended up reading my piece in a packed St John's- straight after the Gala Queens and Dignitaries had been awarded- no pressure!
In any case, both Joy and Al read superbly well so as part of our little 'representative team' it felt great- I just wonder how much I had been influenced by the knowledge of where I'd be reading the piece during the 'creative' process.
Here it is though, out of carnival day context and up before it's out of date. Hope you enjoy.


On the hunchback Corcovado mountain
Cristo Redentor stands, arms raised.
He watches over each favella,
every high rise, every stage.

Around him, in the evening twilight
lit up with a purple hue
fans of many different nations
gather, taking in the view.
And from this vantage point, he watches-
waiting for the game to start:
Arms half way to celebration
Half way to catch each falling heart.

One whistle cuts straight through the samba.
One ball watched around the world.
Streamers fly around the terrace
as passionate songs are unfurled.
And nearby in the cramped favella
locals swell round one TV,
the gunshots stop for ninety minutes
and passion lifts the great city.
They feast on sweet Bolo de Rolo
sticky, like the evening heat
but it's hard to watch the world cup football
not thinking of bustling streets.

Of Rocky, in his homemade shelter
a one man ambulance of the hill.
He raises sick above his shoulders
to bear his share of Rio's ills.
Of mothers, fearful for the children
growing into the wrong scene-
not quite lucky, not quite out yet
struggling to hold their dreams.

But set in soapstone, towering over
Christ's redeeming pose holds strong.
Four weeks of idol celebration
then the gaze of the world is moving on.

Thanks for reading,



Christo said...

Well done, Shaun - inspired.

Colin Davies said...

Fantastic work Shaun.

I bet it had an extra poignancy in the location it was first read.