Each year BBC Local Radio teams up with specially chosen poets to create sparkling new poems for broadcast on National Poetry Day. This year, I was chosen to represent Devon, to write a poem that challenges stereotypes and celebrates the delights of the County.
Because You Invited Me (full version)
by Kimwei McCarthy
Home Truths poem for Devon
Invite me over to your favourite cafe
somewhere on the river Dart
where it trickles between our past and our future,
or invite me to your house
where it rests like a barnacle on a hilltop
near a stone circle
where we shall take tea together.
In ancient times you moved the earth
turning woodland to moorland,
clearing pastures for grazing
just so you could live together,
allowing the wildness of gorse and heather
to care for itself
whilst caring for you.
Then, you stopped being so careful
and began building cities,
cutting through this county,
cutting through each other with big ideas
until you were burning and hanging women,
Now you are sorry
and honour those killed
and welcome magic back
and remember who you were before that all started
with every moment that you invite me in.
Bring out your finest china
and tell me the story of an outcast wife
who won back her family
by returning from exile
with the secret of clotted cream –
tell me to remind me that this place is my home,
as you take up the butter-knife,
spread a cloud on a scone,
place it in my hand.
I hold it up to the window,
so it seems to twin a cloud in the sky
and I think how similar two things can be and how different
and yet how right they can look next to each other.
How startling it is when we can belong together
because you invited me.
I’m Kimwei and I’m The Grand Bard of Exeter – I have taken an oath to the land and the people and I’m asking for your support to go to London this October, to protest to protect our home, the earth. If you believe in me and are willing to support me and the work I’m doing in protesting, please donate here!!!!!!!!!!
As a musician and poet, I can bring a lot to a protest. Leading drumming. Singing with a crowd. Performing music and words. If you offer me financial support, I can do more and more. Together we can make governments listen and act to save our future. We need to act now! Thank you for supporting me and for being a part of this journey.
Why Protest For Climate Justice?
I am totally sure that non-violent protest is now the only way to create the change needed. Although I am a Bard, not a scientist, until a few years ago I lived with one of Exeter Met Office’s Expert Climate Scientists, who also worked as Advisor to The Minister to Climate and through her I learned both that we are in a Climate Emergency, that Governments are not doing enough. Protest is the only way forward. Climatologists in my life, Extinction Rebellion, and my wonderful partner, the science communicator Dr. Emily Grossman, all continue to update me on the latest – the crisis is worse than ever.
Why Do I Need Money?
After performing, drumming and leading drumming in the Extinction Rebellion Spring (XR) demonstrations I discovered that food and tube fares alone can add up to hundreds, as well as other costs*.
I’d encourage anyone with the means to support Climate Justice to donate to XR itself here: https://rebellion.earth/donate … but if you’d specifically like to support ME and the work I’m doing in the protests, it would help me SO MUCH if you would put in some cash to help get me through the October Rebellion (7th-19th) – it would make a huge difference to me.
I’ve estimated a figure based on my costs from the Spring Rebellion, earlier this year, but the more you can donate the better equipped I’ll be and the better a job I can do. If the target is exceeded I can even provide a little for my band of drummers, where needed. Thank you for believing in me and trusting me.
I will post daily updates from London on facebook so you can follow my story.
Lots of love warm wishes (but not 1.5C too warm)
*other costs – breakdown of funds needed and predicted spending available on request.
I’m thrilled to have been selected as BBC Devon’s Home Truths Poet for National Poetry day this year – Read more on the National Poetry Day Website. Celebrating the 25th anniversary of National Poetry Day (October 3rd 2019) I will be writing and performing a poem that represents Devon. There are 13 poets in total and the project aims to give a voice to the true nature of each region.
The world is warming, and we are the cause. What can we do? Here are 7 pieces filmed and produced by Molly Clarke and Matthew Haddock for XTV, in which I invite your to explore how we could live to create a more sustainable future in the face of impending climate change.
Stay tuned for my next video – “When I Lived With A Climate Scientist”, to be released by XTV on Saturday June 23rd.
The annual competition for citizens of Exeter to elect their next Bard took place on Sunday 28th April at Exeter Phoenix.
Wordsmiths of all kinds competed by delivering a performance of their own work and presenting their vision for the Bardship. Tim King, Peter Roe, Adam Skerrett, Richard Green, James Turner all presented enthralling offerings and the evening concluded with inspirational poet Melanie Crump being appointed as the new Bard.
In her Manifesto, Melanie pointed to the underrepresentation of women in spoken word and over the next year she aims to support female artists, as well as putting energy into the existing poetry scene and running educational workshops.
Exeter is one of only a small group of cities with the right to appoint a bard, in a tradition that dates back 200 years. The role is kept for one year and a day and the Bard is said to represent the land and the people of the territory.
To conclude the evening, outgoing Bard Kimwei McCarthy was also awarded the role of Grand Bard by outgoing Grand Bard Jackie Juno. This role is 7 years and Jackie has notably organised the record breaking Grand Witches Tea Party at Rougemont each year under the role. The coming year will tell what Kimwei will do as Grand Bard.
If you missed the campaign the album can still be pre-ordered here: PRE-ORDER Nothing’s Binary
Click HERE to go straight to my Kickstarter Page and Pledge!
After 4 year’s work, Nothing’s Binary (The Album) is almost ready! It’s got all your favourite songs on it, including the viral title track (with Billie Bottle), I Won’t Be Your Heroine, Superheroes, Spell Out Your Name, Truthseeker, Ordinary Miracles and more! It’s the first album I’ve made as a Digital Nomad and van dweller and the sound is very spontaneous and intimate as a result. I sincerely hope you enjoy it as much as I loved making it.
There’s a bit more to do on the album, but mainly what I’d like from this Kickstarter, is to be able to get the Vansion I live in ready for winter. It would mean the world to me if the people who love my music would contribute to how I live as a musician and help keep me warm this winter.
The main cost is a diesel heater at £740, but if the target is exceeded or a cheaper heating solution is found, then I could also get all manner of bountiful things such as:
-tongue n’ groove wood cladding for the interior walls
-insulated window panels
-an additional cupboard (to help make room for the heater)
If you have something to contribute besides money, please get in touch, whether you have materials going spare, or can help to build, or to install the heater. If you have any of the following to give/lend, please let me know:
-A winter duvet
-Use of a sewing machine/workshop where I can make and install better curtains.
-A studio in London where I could record a drummer.
Love and light
In summer 2014 I took my own, self-designed £0 Challenge, to run out of money on purpose and then build back up from zero without begging borrowing or stealing. Here’s my video series about the experience, which I’m now making 4 years later. A new instalment is uploaded each Tuesday, so subscribe to avoid missing any.
The section of my weblog that chronicles this in text starts here: £0 Challenge
Kimwei takes his “Nothing’s Binary” workshop to the legendary Summerhouse Weekend at the end of August, as well as performing songs exploring gender and consciousness. This event is sold out, but watch this space and nothingsbinary.com for more gender-spectrum celebrations from Kimwei!