A couple of weeks ago we were lucky enough to have a workshop run by artist Tom Cross and poet Aoife Mannix based on the Patterns exhibition currently showing at The Francis Crick Institute.
Aoife spoke with our members, listened to their stories and wrote this beautiful poem in response.
We Are Ageing Better
A meter scientist ticking,
his head in a glass jar.
Refugees from apartheid,
Mandela’s 100th birthday.
The wisdom of laying train tracks,
clearing slums, forgiving not forgetting.
Waves of smooth wood
growing into soft, sweet jelly.
The voice of a child merging
into joyful flowers. Fruit tarts
that whisper of happy memories
in a thatched house full of lavender.
It’s in the way they stride past
the window, sheer determination.
Picking yourself up, engineers
to the end. I didn’t get out
of bed for a few weeks
but then I thought c’mon girl.
So many different types of cancer,
heart transplants. The highs
and lows of being a bus driver.
My Mum used to walk Camden
to Oxford Street and back.
Still doing staircases at 92.
I’m thankful for my skin,
showing the birth cert
for a drink. My daughter’s
the same. My son has
my father’s walk. The priest
tried to tell me I wasn’t married
but 62 years is properly registered.
They said colouring in was just
for factory children but now
I own the moments I couldn’t read.
37 years she’s my neighbour,
takes me everywhere,
cares for me and her husband.
The discovery of how to preserve silk
that is over a thousand years old.
Triangles of toblerone, the devil’s own job
to break them off. Swiss sorrow,
losing my granddaughter,
a train rolling into the distance.
I’ve the memory of an elephant
but you have to learn to let things go.
That’s the science of resilience,
no matter what they throw,
you get back up. Draw the patterns,
experiment with infinity.