A moment echoes forward

The Ravens roosting at the Houses of Parliament. Photo: Julia Grime


After two exhibitions in Grasmere and Bury, the Ravens alight on Westminster…

The Ravens project has encompassed much in it’s 18 months runtime – as a collective of over 100 people affected by homelessness, through workshops in support venues and on the streets of north west England and in special visits to Wordsworth Grasmere, we’ve made Refuge from the Ravens: New Lyrical Ballads for the 21st Century, a poetry book of 23 poems that’s been presented to Wordsworth Grasmere’s Archive in a leather-bound edition and now sits with Wordsworth’s original Lyrical Ballads of 1798. We’ve made a film and soundscape representing homeless lives; we’ve made a CD of songs and readings; we’ve had two of the songs arranged for natural voice choirs across the country; and presented two exhibitions, mixing our own work with Wordsworth’s original notebooks and papers, one at Wordsworth Grasmere, the other at Bury Art Museum, where we’ve all gathered for two public celebration events.

Now, in an echo of the letter sent by Wordsworth 222 years ago, to Charles Fox MP, Leader of the Opposition, we’ve installed a fragment of the project in the Upper Waiting Hall of the Houses of Parliament, together with our new letter, asking all who pass through to pause and remember that ‘we have all of us one human heart’.

In 1801, poet William Wordsworth sent a copy of his book Lyrical Ballads to Charles Fox, MP, Leader of the Opposition, together with a heartfelt letter reminding him ‘men who do not wear fine cloaths can feel deeply’. Wordsworth’s new book used everyday language to tell the all-too-everyday stories of people at the edge of society.

Now, when many in today’s Britain struggle to heat their homes, to eat, or keep a roof over their heads, we need a Lyrical Ballads for the 21st century to speak to injustice. And once again take these words to the heart of power.

Exhibition sponsored by Tim Farron MP – Celebration Event#3 on 17 May.

Refuge from the Ravens is supported by the Heritage Fund