Alun said: “I really hope the poem helps in some way, either with encouraging fundraising or with affording some comfort to those who suffered. Some of the poem is, I hope, very uplifting (the lines about the community coming together) but some is inevitably more sad, written as it was immediately after the attack. It would be lovely if it helps either the community or the families.
“I also hope the poem helps in some small way to reaffirm that the rest of the country were thinking of Manchester. I live in Essex and when I originally wrote the poem, although it did not reach a large number of people, I nonetheless received sympathetic comments from people who read it in America, Canada, Australia and the West Indies as well as all parts of the UK.”
Read Alun’s poem in full:
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 childrens’ high elation
and share the mood of celebration.
The music finished, the evening done,
the parents, the young, and the very young
all together. In unison.
All together – except for one …
The one who chose to end the fun.
In an instant.
A bloody blast, a moment’s silence – and then the screams
to herald a lifetime’s 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.
But just one instant later …
though families had been broken, the people came 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
and tend the wounds of utter strangers ….. and to simply share
a shoulder upon which to cry, to prove 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.
Will anything change? For better or for worse?
In our country? In our society? Or in the peoples’ souls?
Our country will stay open
and our community will stay close.
Our speech will stay free
and our love will stay dear.
Our lives will go on
and new life will take off.
So does anything change as 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 still go to concerts.
Some children will never become teens,
and some teens will never become parents.
And some parents will never again have their reason to live.
Whatever was the point?