It was just another moment, streaming a show on my phone while sketching at the kitchen table.
Until it wasn’t.
Until this voice started talking, like a British artist at a slam poetry contest (which I didn’t know at the time was the voice of Kate Tempest, and this an excerpt of her gorgeous work).
She started slow and rhythmic, tearing my eyes away from my sketch and to my screen.
Until the words, swollen with emotion, caused my eyes to pool with tears.
Until, finally, I’m holding my phone, and my shoulders are shaking, and I’m wiping snot from my nose.
Say what we will about Facebook (and I generally have plenty to say that isn’t complimentary), but they really struck gold with this compilation of Tempest’s poetry with their own video creation. As a sometimes-poet myself, I can appreciate a piece of media that channels something deep and human, taking me completely by surprise.
There have been so many grief moments, rumbling just beneath the surface without words, so far in this pandemic. This commercial feels like both a moment of silence in the wake of tragedy and the joyful, tearful celebration of our collective resilience.
And I’m grateful for this offering.
“Was that a pivotal historical moment
we just went stumbling past?
But here we are,
dancing in the rumbling dark.
So come a little closer,
give me something to grasp.
Give me your beautiful, crumbling heart.
We’re working every dread day that is given us,
feeling like the person people meet isn’t really us,
like we’re going to buckle underneath the trouble,
like any minute now the struggle
is going to finish us.
And then we smile
at all our friends.
Even when I’m weak and I’m breaking
I start weeping at the train station
because I can see
There is so much peace to be found
in people’s faces.
I love people’s faces.”
~ adapted from Kate Tempest’s People’s Faces
Watch the video here: