Daily Archives: September 12, 2018

Manifesto, by Maggie Mackay

I am not a silent poet

Every slave is a person

with a name, a story, a dream.

Elsa is a hostage exploited

to keep her parents in servitude. 

Kofi is forced to fish all day,

dive into danger, below fraught lake waters.

Benjamin spends his childhood making bricks.

They dream of school, of making friends,

of mums, dads, brothers and sisters under one roof.

Safe is a fairy-tale word, love a thing of magic. 


‘We have no slaves in Scotland…’ This was the conclusion of a 1687 case concerning a travelling showman and a performing gymnast he’d ‘acquired’. It was the first time a Scottish court had rejected slavery. Now, thanks to the work of Alan McLean QC, composer Tom Cunningham and novelist Alexander McCall Smith, the story has been turned into an operetta. Here, the creators discuss their project and explain why the story still matters today.

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Tuned to Cicadas, by David Chorlton

I am not a silent poet

Along the route we take to see
summer’s last cuckoo
a radio keeps company with the miles
of open country. There’s conflict
on the interstate, and arms
are being sold in all directions
even on the country road
that runs through hills made green
by August rains. The clouds today
are decoration, glowing at their edges
as they float without a care
that one country’s murderers
masquerade as a security force
and their trial has been staged to reassure
the people that they’re safe.
Ocotillo brush against
the sky, there’s a dip and a rise before
news of xenophobia
translated into yet
another language, and it makes us as sad
to hear it as glad somebody cares
enough to send reporters
to places that ceased
to be anyone’s home. Finally the trail
begins, away from traffic,
winding between mesquite
and Arizona sycamore
in dappled shade, vibrating
with the rattle from…

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