Hannah Kate

poet, short story writer and editor based in Manchester

Clayton Hall: A Patchwork Poem

As part of my role as writer-in-residence at Clayton Hall, I was at this year’s Heritage Open Day, writing flash fiction inspired by the hall (and by prompts supplied by visitors to the hall’s open day). I’ll be posting about this – and sharing some of the finished pieces – later, but it occured to me that I never posted anything about last year’s Heritage Open Day at the hall and the ‘patchwork poetry’ activity I ran at the event.

I wanted to create a poem using snippets and scraps provided by visitors to the hall. I asked people to leave me a word, a phrase, or even a line of poetry, that captured their visit to Clayton Hall.

Afterwards, I took these patches and sewed them together to make a poem for Clayton Hall, stitching together all the little scraps of poetry created by the visitors and volunteers at the Hall. And here’s the finished patchwork creation…

Jewel in the City

A Patchwork Poem by Hannah Kate and the Heritage Open Day visitors

We didn’t know it was here,
this window on the past, this hidden gem,
a black-and-white house, a new discovery,
unexpected, evocative, unique.

Its walls hold an intriguing story –
wattle and goose feather, daub and manure,
a library, a moat, a Memory Lane,
fustian and philanthropy,
gentlemen merchants, hard-working volunteers,
a living history, fascinating, friendly and warm.

The past is brought to life here
and we learn something new of our town,
homely heritage, Humphrey Chetham,
cracked timbers and elbow grease.
We feel at home with this Old Lady,
this Tudor rose in the city,
this beautiful Manchester gem.

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