Last week was the first anniversary of the Manchester Arena bombing, and I’ve been thinking a lot about the poetry which was shared in the aftermath of the attack and came to embody Manchester’s resilience and community spirit.
I’m sure that by now, most people will be familiar with This is the place by Tony Walsh – which became synonymous with the attack when Tony (a.k.a. Longfella) gave a stirring reading of the poem at a public vigil held the following evening.
It was a pivotal moment in the city’s response to the attack and inspired an outpouring of Manchester pride, but there are several other powerful poems about Manchester (including some which were written in direct response to the attack) which people may not be as familiar with.
Our city by Dave Viney
I was fortunate to see Dave perform this at Punk in Drublic earlier this year and you could have heard a pin drop in the room. I had a lump in my throat the whole time.
And the bees still buzz by Ryan Williams
The conclusion of this poem refers to the Manchester bee, which has been an emblem of the city for over 150 years but took on additional meaning after the Arena attack.
Manchester’s sprawling by David Scott
David, a.k.a Argh Kid, also wrote A breathing masterpiece to mark the first anniversary of the Arena attack.
What these poems all have in common is pure, unadulterated Mancunian pride – something which I feel deeply even though I’ve only lived in Manchester for a few years. Here’s my tribute to Manchester, in the form of an acrostic poem spelling out the name of the city.