To accompany the Service of Remembrance event we have an educational resource available, free of charge, which links to the event and the city’s wider remembrance programme. This resource can be viewed online below or downloaded – free of charge.
During this years Service of Remembrance writer, designer and poet Jane Weir will be reading out a poem she has written entitled “Poppies”. This poem is currently being studied across the city region by many GCSE and A Level students and we are proud to be able to have Jane read her poem during the service.
Poppies: The poem, “Poppies” and the artwork associated with the postcard detailing the poem is replicated here with the expression permission of Jane.
Three days before Armistice Sunday
and poppies had already been placed
on individual war graves. Before you left,
I pinned one onto your lapel, crimped petals,
spasms of paper red, disrupting a blockade
of yellow bias binding around your blazer
Sellotape bandaged around my hand,
I rounded up as many white cat hairs
as I could, smoothed down your shirt’s
upturned collar, steeled the softening
of my face. I wanted to graze my nose
across the tip of your nose, play at
being Eskimos like we did when
you were little. I resisted the impulse
to run my fingers through the gelled
blackthorns of your hair. All my words
flattened, rolled, turned into felt,
slowly melting. I was brave, as I walked
with you, to the front door, threw
it open, the world overflowing
like a treasure chest. A split second
and you were away, intoxicated.
After you’d gone I went into your bedroom,
released a song bird from its cage.
Later a single dove flew from the pear tree,
and this is where it has led me, skirting the church yard walls,
my stomach busy
making tucks, darts, pleats, hat-less, without
a winter coat or reinforcements of scarf, gloves.
On reaching the top of the hill I traced
the inscriptions on the war memorial,
leaned against it like a wishbone.
The dove pulled freely against the sky,
an ornamental stitch. I listened, hoping to hear your playground voice catching on the wind.
The poem is available to download here.
About the Artist
Jane Weir is an Anglo-Italian writer and designer who grew up in Manchester where she was born. Her writing and poetry is focused on women and womens’ lives and work.
Alice, a pamphlet, is based on the life of the early twentieth century Derby political activist, Alice Wheeldon. Walking the Block and Spine are ground breaking poetic biographies exploring the creative partnership and lives together of modernist hand block printers, Phyllis Barron and Dorothy Larcher, between the two World Wars.
In Man about the Place the universal and perpetual challenges confronted by women – identity, equality, creativity and autonomy – are examined through a dimly lit window at the farm in D. H. Lawrence’s novella The Fox, and the lives, loves and tragedies of the two women living there with the single man who breached their space.
Anna Magnani, eat with me recognizes and celebrates the fusions of Jane’s dual cultural heritage.
Fleas of Eyam & Other Making Poems is a pamphlet of childrens’ poems based on the arrival of the Great Plague in the village of Eyam in Derbyshire carried by fleas living in a bolt of cloth brought to the tailor’s house in the village from London three hundred and fifty years ago.
‘Poppies‘ is a poem for all parents, their children and the bonds which hold them.
The Poetry Archive published an extensive audio selection of Jane Weir’s work in 2015. Her poetry is published by Templar Poetry.