Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

S is for Poet Lemn Sissay, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA


Lemn Sissay

Lemn Sissay MBE is author of a series of books of poetry alongside articles, records, broadcasts, public art, commissions and plays. Lemn was the first poet commissioned to write for London Olympics.  His Landmark Poems are installed throughout Manchester and London.  They can be seen in The Royal Festival Hall and The Olympic Park. Lemn was official poet for The FA Cup 2015 and his Desert Island Discs was pick of the year for BBC Radio 4 2015. He is Chancellor of The University of Manchester, Patron of The Letterbox Club, Canterbury’s Poet Laureate and he is a regular contributor to radio and television. Lemn’s wonderful poems are frequently included in anthologies for children.


I have been given free reign to choose any of his poems, so here is one that is included in 100 Brilliant Poems for Children, ed. by Paul Cookson. I have rarely read a poem by Lemn that hasn’t made me want to cry, and this is no exception:


Let There Be Peace


Let there be peace

So frowns fly away like an albatross

And skeletons foxtrot from cupboards;

So war correspondents become travel-show presenters

And magpies bring back lost property,

Children, engagement rings, broken things.


Let there be peace

So storms can go out to sea to be

Angry and return to me calm;

So the broken can rise and dance in the hospitals.

Let the aged Ethiopian man in the grey block of flats

Peer through his window and see Addis before him

So his thrilled outstretched arms become frames

For his dreams.


Let there be peace

Let tears evaporate to form clouds, cleanse themselves

And fall into reservoirs of drinking water.

Let harsh memories burst into fireworks that melt

In the dark pupils of a child’s eyes

And disappear like shoals of darting silver fish.

And let the waves reach the shore with

Shhhhhhhhhh shhhhhhhhhh shhhhhhhhhh


© Lemn Sissay (Reproduced by kind permission of the author)

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You can hear more about children’s poets and poetry, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit on Twitter


Award-Wining Children's Poet, Author, Wildlife and Climate enthusiast, NPD Ambassador, blogger and owner of Lola the retired alert dog and Paddy the alert dog in training. Books include CLiPPA shortlisted Being Me, Poems about Thoughts, Worries and Feelings, Editor of Shaping the World, Author of Be the Change, Apes to Zebras, The Same Inside, Reaching the Stars and Animal Magic. I visit schools, libraries, literary festivals via Zoom and give lessons on writing poetry for children. @Lizpoet

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