Speak Up, Speak Out

Peter Read
The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2012 (27 January) asked us all to Speak Up, Speak Out to create a safer, better future.

The theme asked us to think about the rights, responsibility and duty we all have to speak up when we see or hear something which we believe to be wrong. It challenged us to learn about what happens when we don’t speak out and what can happen when we do use our voice.

HMD 2012 looked at how we make a choice when to speak up and considered the dangers in both choosing to speak out and not speaking up and asks us all to speak up against injustice and hatred today.

On 16 November 2011 John Tripp Award Winner, Peter Read ran a workshop with residents and day attendees at Ty George Lansbury to create poetry which would reflect some of their thoughts, memories and concerns for the future.

Ty George Lansbury is the first extra care scheme in Torfaen and caters for older people who need care and support but who want to retain their independence in a home of their own. It also provides day respite care for people in the local community requiring extra support.


Speak Up

We are special, we are individuals.
We are ourselves. We are all human beings.
Don’t call us old, we have the wisdom
And we need to pass it on to the young people.
We might not have big houses, money or a Rolls Royce,
But we like our memories and we’re happy with what we’ve got.
We don’t have to do what they tell us,
We’ll do what we want to do.
We don’t need to leave our chairs
To go into the world of dreams or memories.
The sun still shines in Greece with no rain.
In our chairs we can go anywhere, even to Tenby.

We Remember

We remember miners walking over the hill,
Faces blackened with coal dust
Walking to their tin bath in front of the fire.
We hear them plodding in noisy clogs,
To the sound of rattling water jacks.
A time when we all leaned on each other.
No one was isolated, doors were left open.
We never knocked, just went in and out
Except on Sunday afternoons. Children sent out to play,
Leaving Mum and Dad to play together.
They call them the good old days,
But times were really hard.
Walk the streets at three o’clock in the morning
With no fear of violence. You could almost live outside.
Miners with rickets never saw the sun.
Dust settled on their throats and lungs.
Snuff up their nostrils to keep their heads clear.
Men went to the pubs for treats to smoke and drink.
The women stayed at home to darn socks and care for children..