Where were you when….? This is often a question that roots us to a place, a memory where the global meets the local. For my parent’s generation it was either the end of the Second World War or when Kennedy was shot (I was probably asleep in my pram). For my generation it was when Thatcher was elected, fall of the Berlin Wall, or when Princess Diana died (I think I was asleep for that one as well). And for today’s generation it must be 9/11 or when Simon Cowell appeared on the Simpsons. But of course there are many less tragic memories that take us back in time.
In Jacob Sam-La Rose’s epic five part poem Speechless, he takes us through the stages of his life with references to major events (both good and bad), linking them to his own family’s history and those that affected him personally. It begins in 1950: ‘Uruguay beats Brazil 2-1/to win the World Cup, China invades Tibet’. In Guyana his mother who ‘has a voice like ripe Jamoon wine‘ is trying to find her freedom in the shadow of her Father who is a Police Sergeant and whose ‘word is law’ and on the wall is ‘a poster/proclaiming that Britain needs you.’ (more…)