Keisha Thompson, a Manchester based writer, performance artist and producer, was inspired to write this poem by Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which codifies the right to an adequate standard of living. Keisha said:
“Article 25 reminds me of Maslows’ Hierarchy of Needs. It taps into the idea that we have very basic needs that are the foundation for us being able to reach the best versions of ourselves. Also with the current climate of Covid and Brexit, we are really having to think on a heightened political level about where we get our food from, where are our key workers from and how we look after ourselves as a society. Article 25 feels palpably relevant.”
How to Make an Article 25
- A bold
- I often think
- About the person
- Who invented meringue
- Their aching arm
- Legislating a dream
- For something different
- To the translucent, slimey
- Substance before them
- A whisk gaveling hope
- Into soft white peaks
- A sweetness in the air
- My mother never writes anything down
- She prefers for me to watch her in the act
- Follow and repeat until it gets into my bones
- I secretly take notes
- Worry about being alone
- Or failing to pass this on
- How many times do you lick your fingers before reaching for pen and paper
- Confident that you have come up with something good enough for everyone
- A precedent of good taste
- A full-bellied declaration for your future guests and your unborn children
- An invitation to a never-ending banquet
- Clear and concise
- A petition of ingredients that you hope everyone can get hold of
- A half-stained writ composed on the side of an apron
- Something good has happened here
- Knowing you will not be in this kitchen forever, you hope this meal will outlive you
- Please rewrite this recipe in languages I cannot speak with ingredients that I do not know
- Spill oil, soapy water, red wine and laughter all over it as you convert grams to cups and double up the quantities, do whatever you need to do to make it make sense to you, until you don’t have to look at it anymore, until the measurements are in your bones and you can make a dance of this meal on a Sunday afternoon
- Please put it through the letterbox of your neighbour, or make it a visible bookmark in the novel you donate to your local charity shop
- Don’t assume that someone will simply find it, or that someone has probably come up with something better somewhere else, this recipe wasn’t written with self-doubt or serendipity in mind
Keisha is Senior Manager of Children, Young People and Learning at Arts Council England, chair of radical arts funding body, Future’s Venture Foundation, a MOBO x London Theatre Consortium Fellow and a member of Greater Manchester Cultural and Heritage Group, and recipient of The Arts Foundation Theatre Makers Award 2021.
She is currently working with commissioners Eclipse Theatre, York Theatre Royal and Pilot Theatre to stage new play, The Bell Curves. The script was made in development with Box of Tricks.
She is also working with Fuel Theatre and Alan Lane (Slung Low) to create new children’s show, Izzy, BOSSS & Fractal.
In August 2020, she released a new mini album, Ephemera, in collaboration with Tom “Werkha” Leah and featuring riveting cellist, Abel Selaocoe.
Poetic Universal Declaration of Human Rights
To celebrate Human Rights Day on 10 December a Poetic Universal Declaration of Human Rights, consisting of 30 original poems inspired by each article, will be unveiled online on Human Rights Day.
The poetry for this Poetic Declaration has seen been created by school children across Greater Manchester. The entries will be whittled down to the final 30 poems by an expert panel of judges, including Manchester’s Keisha Thompson. This anthology of poetry celebrating human rights is presented in Manchester by Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights UK and Curious Minds.
The two charities are now partnering with cities across the UK (Manchester being the first) to create further Poetic Declarations that highlight the experience of young people in the cities they live in.
First published in A Poetic Declaration, September 2021
On Human Rights Day, 1O December, to see the new Poetic Universal Declaration of Human Rights – click here
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Feature image: Ripples of Hope Festival