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Manchester - A Poem

Updated on June 1, 2017
Greensleeves Hubs profile image

This is one of several pages of original poetry, prose and reflection by this author which comment on many aspects of the human condition

The Background to This Poem

On Monday 22nd May 2017, the singer Ariana Grande performed at a pop concert at the Arena Concert Hall, Manchester, England. Her fan base is young - very young - and so the majority of the audience for the concert were children and teenagers - mostly girls. Many had no doubt excitedly looked forward to seeing their idol for months in advance. Because of the logistics of organising a concert like this, some fans would have received their tickets as Christmas or birthday presents as long ago as last year..

At the end of the concert, children and teenagers began to gather in the foyer, no doubt in a state of some euthoria, having at long last seen their idol perform. In some cases parents (or grandparents, older sisters, brothers or other relatives) had accompanied them to the concert, but in other cases the parents had stayed away and were now arriving to collect them and take them home. And so the foyer was crowded with people of all ages.

Then, at 10.30 pm, a suicide bomber detonated a device. Twenty two died. Nine of the twenty two were aged between fourteen and nineteen, and eight of those were girls. The youngest victim of all was just eight years old. Many of those twenty two were accompanied by family members who lived, but they had witnessed the devastation. Afterwards the stories of community support, the selfless actions of local people, and the professionalism of the emergency services.were all in stark contrast to the story of the bomber.

Yours Truly
Yours Truly | Source

I'm not a poet. I've written very little poetry, and so I make absolutely no claims at all for this piece which combines free verse and rhyming verse. But it did seem the best way to try to commemorate this event.

This poem therefore is my attempt to express as best I can, some thoughts and feelings after Manchester.

The Concert

Children, broadly smiling, fantasising,

sparkling eyed and idolising,

and crowds of happy adolescents

with vital vibrant effervescence,

and sons and daughters, sisters, brothers,

childhood friends and teenage lovers -

all had made their fateful way

to the concert hall that day in May.

And mothers and fathers with delight

also came that way that night

at the concert's culmination,

to savour their children's high elation

and share the mood of celebration.

The music finished, and the evening done,

the parents, the young, and very young

all together. In unison.

All together - except for one .....

The one who chose to end the fun.

The Bomb

In an instant.

A bloody blast, a moment's silence - and then the screams

to herald a lifelong nightmare, and end a family's dreams,

as mothers cried for their children - and children for their mums,

and brothers for their sisters, and fathers for their sons.

Families torn asunder, bloodied, broken, cut to pieces

a loved one's life now ebbs and ceases.

In an instant.

The Aftermath

Just one instant later.

Though families have been broken - the community's come together,

forged by bonds of unity more durable than ever.

Police and paramedics, and the people from the street,

came to here from far and near to do their best to treat

the wounds of utter strangers ..... and to simply try and share

a shoulder on which to cry, to show that people care.

And thus from one vile germ of gross and cruel Insanity

was spawned one thousand shoots of pure and good humanity.

Just one instant later.

The Future

Will anything change? For better or for worse?

In our country? In our community? In peoples' souls?

Our country will stay open

and our community stay close.

Our speech will stay free

and our love will stay dear.

Our life will go on

and new life will take off.

Nothing changes. The world continues .....

The children will become teens,

and the teens will become parents.

And the parents will become grandparents of children and of teens.

And they'll all go to concerts.

Nothing changes.

Except .....

Some children will never become teens,

and some teens will never become parents.

And some parents will never again have a reason to live.

Whatever was the point?


Please feel free to quote limited text on condition that an active link back to this page is included.

© 2017 Greensleeves Hubs

I'd Love to Hear Your Comments. Thanks, Alun

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    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 5 weeks ago from Essex, UK

      Graham Lee; Thank you Graham. I felt the introduction was necessary even though at the time of writing this is still a very recent tragedy - I always try to stay mindful of the majority on this site who do not live in the UK, and who may not know the background to the attack.

      The warmth of your comment is very sincerely appreciated. Alun

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 5 weeks ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Alun. An excellent hub from you, a clear introduction and then your lovely heart felt poem. A wonderful tribute to those who suffered at the hands of terror. Thank you.


    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 7 weeks ago from Essex, UK

      Audrey Hunt; Thanks so much for that generous and kind comment Audrey. It's never easy for me writing poetry, and particularly so when words have to be very carefully chosen to create the right tone. For that reason, I'm so glad that you liked it and found it appropriate. Alun

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 7 weeks ago from Nashville Tn.

      You have a beautiful heart which is conveyed through your expressive poetry. What a wonderful gesture. It isn't easy to describe a tragic event such as this but you've not only managed to do it - you've done it well!

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 7 weeks ago from Essex, UK

      Eiddwen; Thank you Eddy for those lovely words.

      Can I say it's a delight to hear from you? I believe you've had some time off from writing hubs recently, but it's always good to see you here. Hope all is well with you. Alun

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 7 weeks ago from Essex, UK

      FlourishAnyway; I very much appreciate that, Flourish. It took a long time to write this, as poetry doesn't come easy to me, but of course with a poem of this kind, it was important to do my best to complete it within a few days of that tragic event. Alun

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 7 weeks ago from Wales

      What a truly heart tugging read. You have done yourself proud , so touching.

      Take care


    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 7 weeks ago from USA

      You are a fine poet who can put to words such difficult feelings in a time like this. Very poignant.

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 7 weeks ago from Essex, UK

      Geetbhim; Thanks Geet for visiting and commenting. It's good to hear from you. Alun

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 7 weeks ago from Essex, UK

      Dora Isaac Weithers; Thanks Dora. Very much appreciated as ever. It's easy to become used to these kind of events isn't it, so that they become less shocking - but the day we lose a sense of horror when they occur, is the day we lose humanity. Alun

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      Geetbhim 7 weeks ago

      Very very nice nicely compiled the words that forms the poetry.

      Keep writing.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 7 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Alun, it is commendable that you immortalize these very sad feelings in poetry. Your expressions are the exact thoughts of many others and most likely will be quoted over and over. We usually think "I don't know what to say." What you said/wrote is very meaningful.

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 7 weeks ago from Essex, UK

      Louise Powles; Thanks Louise. Sadly, it won't be any time soon. But maybe one day this kind of senseless attack will be a thing of the past. One can only hope. Alun

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 7 weeks ago from Norfolk, England

      That's a beautiful and thoughtful poem. I do hope, in time, there will be change and we can all live in peace. I feel so sorry for all those that have lost their innocent lives. So terrible. =(

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 7 weeks ago from Essex, UK

      Linda Crampton; Thanks Linda for your generous comment. Appreciated as always. Alun

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 7 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a moving and very effective tribute, Alun. What a horrible and tragic incident. I'm so sorry for the people who died and for the families who lost loved ones.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 7 weeks ago from England

      Psychopaths don't feel do they? I get the feeling that brainwashing is just part of it. genetically there is no feelings!

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 7 weeks ago from Essex, UK

      Nell Rose; Thanks Nell. Incomprehensible isn't it? And especially because as a suicide bomber, he would have seen the faces of the people immediately around him, and would have known that all within a few metres - including children - would certainly die.

      Christine Baughen; Thank you very much Christine. Cheers.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 7 weeks ago from England

      There are no words are there? I sat in my house in Bucks, just down the road metaphorically and sobbed like a baby. I was so so angry! I won't put my thoughts on here, only to say this poem was amazing, and spot on. x

    • neversaydie profile image

      Christine Baughen 7 weeks ago from UK

      A touching tribute to such a terrible atrocity.

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 7 weeks ago from Essex, UK

      Jo Miller; Thanks Jo. I appreciate your words. All life I guess is equally valuable, but when it's teenagers and children - and in the company of their families - it seems all the more grotesque, and touches the emotions more.

    • jo miller profile image

      jo miller 7 weeks ago from Tennessee

      Thank you for this tribute that brings some beauty to this immense tragedy. I'm not a poet either, but I'm impressed by your first venture.

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 7 weeks ago from Essex, UK

      Melissa Reese Etheridge; Thanks very much Melissa. I guess when dramatic and intensely emotional events like this happen, poetry is the medium which many find to be most appropriate for expressing their feelings

    • melissae1963 profile image

      Melissa Reese Etheridge 7 weeks ago from Tennessee, United States

      Your sentiment is expressed so well. It reminds me of several poems that were written after many other tragedies: Katrina and 9/11.


    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 7 weeks ago from Essex, UK

      Michael Murchie; Thank you Michael. Not wanting to make anyone sad, but I'm glad this moved you. Your words give me confidence in my writing, and make the effort worthwhile. Alun

    • Zakmoonbeam profile image

      Michael Murchie 7 weeks ago from Parts Unknown

      You succeeded in bringing tears to my eyes, thank you for this wonderful poem. Inspiration finds itself in happy times as much as sad and terrifying ones, and I am grateful to you that I got the chance to read your thoughts on this tragic event.

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 8 weeks ago from Essex, UK

      John Hansen; Thank you John. As you are one of this website's most experienced poets, that comment means a lot to me. I'm one of those people who prefers rhyming poems to free verse, but creating rhymes which sound natural and uncontrived is extremely difficult for me - and particularly so, when conveying the true emotion of an event such as this is all important.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 8 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      It is a very sad and devastating event that inspired this poem, Alun, but you did an amazing job with this rare foray into poetry. I am very impressed y your touching tribute, and hope it Spurs you to write more poetry. Well done.

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 8 weeks ago from Essex, UK

      Janis Leslie Evans; Very much appreciated Janis. I'm not at all confident when it comes to writing poetry, and with such a serious and sad subject it is all the more important to try to do it justice, so I'm truly grateful for your comment. Thank you, Alun

    • janshares profile image

      Janis Leslie Evans 8 weeks ago from Washington, DC

      Thank you for organizing this painful event into a poetic story. It was an extremely emotional read. You sum up the reality of this terror attack with a raw eloquence which speaks to a sad truth: "In an instant ... One minute later ... Life goes on ... Nothing changes ... What's the point?"

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