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Hope and Celebration

Xia Leon Sloane

I can see many rains and flowers,
trees and steps, bright bushes
and the patio with its nest of flowers.

Clothes and my blue blanket, tears
nibbled by so much warmth, sown
together with the long threads of lockdown hours.

All my books huddled around me,
their pages noisy like children's voices.

I would like to help people
who have lost or never known
all this. Home. Food, clothes.
We have too much. I would like to help
like family: like brother, like sister,
like mum, like dad. I think it helps
everything: clothes, money. Everything, body.
Touching everything. Looking. Everything looking.

In my back garden, I will maybe open
a space, a little space for keeping
chickens. And every morning,
they can wake morning, I remember them singing
something almost like a lullaby, but shaped
for dawn. As night began
unfurling, they would make another song:
a small noise to show us
that it’s time to go to sleep.
It's a good memory.

My daddy is trying his best
to get ice cream
so we can get more sticks.
I'm trying to eat lots of ice cream so we have lots and lots
and lots of sticks but we need more
to make a bigger house.

I would like to own a very big house,
and have a creche in my home, a nursery
where people can drop kids.
A very big house with enough space
for childcare. See, who you are,
is who were when you were little.
Childhood sculpts you.

Ever since childhood, I was drawn
to this song for what it expresses:
the dream to have a unique world,
where people of different colours can stand together
and live in peace and live with joy.
I'm a French speaker, and when I was young
I didn't understand this,
but when I came to the UK
and learnt English, I started to see
that it is not just for a fleeting
glance at happiness,
but that the message is one which we need
even now that the writer has passed away,
a message which keeps ringing
into our own time. That is why
this is my favourite song.

This is a pakistani song

sung by a little kid.
It's about how everyone should have equal rights
to education: poor kids
who can't afford to go to school,
girls, boys, and everybody
should be equal; it's about not bullying,
but helping one another.

I think I would like a normal house
with a garden, with space. Because in lockdown,
I miss having space.
A space you can make your own,
a garden you can watch flourish
through the rain and sunlight.
I miss having space.
Here in Manchester, the houses
are too busy — they crowd
together, knocking shoulders,
and there's no space.
A normal house with space,
with a garden. I can plant flowers.
I would like to plant sunflowers.

We have a very funny looking tree
called a katakataka.
It has little tiny seeds and they keep growing
on the edge and you can pull them
down with your fingers as if they want you
to take them. And if you drop them
in soil they grow again like that.
Next time I see you,
I will bring you all some katakataka seeds.
Drop them and they will grow and grow and grow.

Some people call it a resurrection plant
because it just keeps growing
and they won't die, so I'll give you some seeds
and you can try and planting them.

I can see many rains and flowers,
trees and steps, bright bushes
and the patio with its nest of flowers.

Xia Leon Sloane (2020)

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