"Triratna’s Manchester Buddhist Centre has formed a weekly Poetry group, where The Poet’s Way by Manjusvara has guided recent work.
"It's good to report that Aryamati has just won a Poetry prize at the University theatre, for a poem on Manchester - copied below. Also, the serious Manchester-based writing group Womenswrite is celebrating its 20th birthday with a book of short stories entitled ,'life, death...the whole damn thing' which impressed the UK’s Arts Council to renew its grant. One of Aryamati's stories, to be published in the book, was inspired by Ananda and his Wolf at the Door workshops: to make a story out of a list, in this case recalling a saintly godmother's life and death.
"Bhante encourages us to use our imaginations, to deepen meditation - and re-imagine the Buddha. He has helped those of us who try to write, with his own volumes of poetry. We owe gratitude to the encouragement we receive in Triratna for the developing of creativity, sharing ideas and practice.
BUILDING THE MANCHESTER CANAL 1820
I was young once – now old at twenty-four
each unlit dawn I walk five miles to work
to lay rough-hewn blocks along their canal.
But towpaths we build stretch right to the sea.
This labour separates my skin from my bones
its grime slimes our mouths, hands, feet, clothes
the muck we dig out for their freshwater canal –
It all started here, in Manchester's guts.
Foreman strides up, warm coat on, early as usual
‘We'll finish the towpath this month, if it kills me'
May not kill you, but a mate's sure to die.
Spades on tired shoulders, we march to his orders,
We dig hours all morning, we dig with bruised shoulders
weeks of hoisting stone on stone over rough rope
Some days we sing - till our throats stop croaking;
after 600 wounded, too scared to revolt.
And storms brew in this muddied, dank air
girders drown, locks sink, our names drown.
We build while they dance, we dig vast tombstones.
It all started down here, from our bodies and guts.