Finding poetry in unexpected places (part 2)

I’ve been taking a bit of a break from blogging this month (one of my New Year’s resolutions was to reclaim some time for other endeavours) but before the month ends, I’d like to share a follow-up to my post from last May about finding poetry in unexpected places.

Poetry is everywhere; you just need to pay attention and stop to appreciate art when you encounter it. Here are some more examples of poetry in unexpected places that I’ve discovered since my last post.

On temporary hoardings around a building site

It’s not often you walk past a building site and stop to look more closely, but that’s exactly what I did when I saw the temporary hoarding around the construction of the new Alliance Manchester Business School last summer.

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The boards feature extracts from a poem by University of Manchester alumnus Tony Walsh (a.k.a. Longfella) called “Manchester Means Business”, which was commissioned by the School to commemorate its 50th anniversary in 2015. You can watch a video of the full poem (narrated by Tony) on YouTube.

On a fence in a North Carolina garden

I was recently sorting through some of my holiday photos and found this picture of a poem fixed to a fence in the Audubon Swamp Garden at the Magnolia Plantation in Charleston:

Charleston garden poem
“Give fools their gold and knaves their power / Let fortune’s bubbles rise and fall / Who sows a field or trains a flower / or plants a tree, is more than all”

The verse is an extract from A Song Of Harvest by the American poet John Greenleaf Whittier, who was an advocate for the abolition of slavery in the United States. I thought it was poignant that these words, which honour those who tend the earth, are displayed in a place where people were once enslaved to work in the fields.

Above the players’ entrance to Centre Court, Wimbledon

I went to Wimbledon for the first time last summer and learned that there’s an extract from Rudyard Kipling’s “If” above the players’ entrance to Centre Court.

Although I couldn’t see it for myself (because I’m not a professional tennis player!), here’s a picture of Roger Federer (I think) looking at the poem back in 2015:

The extract reads “If you can meet with triumph and disaster / And treat those two impostors just the same“; I think it’s a fitting way to remind players to appreciate the moment, whether the match ends in victory or defeat.

On the streets of Manchester

Last year I published a popular post about Manchester street poetry, which featured several poems I’ve spotted while strolling around this fantastic city.

I didn’t expect to find poetry on the walls above my head and in the pavement underneath my feet, but the photos below show that there’s always something interesting to discover if you pay attention to your surroundings as you go about your day.

public-poems-mosaic

> Read the full post to find out more about these and other street poems

Have you ever discovered poetry in an unusual place? Let me know in the comments.

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