A poet has captured the grief, anger and frustration of local people following the Grenfell Tower tragedy in a “devastating” eulogy to the victims of the fire.
Police estimate that 79 people were killed when a fire tore through the 24 storey tower block in Kensington earlier this month, leaving hundreds more homeless.
Now, Nigerian-born writer Ben Okri has penned an impassioned poem about the incident and plans to hold a writers event to raise money for the survivors.
Performing the poem, titled ”Grenfell Tower, June, 2017”, on Channel 4 News, Okri read:
“If you want to see how the poor die, come see Grenfell Tower.
See the tower, and let a world-changing dream flower.
Residents of the area call it the crematorium.
It has revealed the undercurrents of our age.
The poor who thought voting for the rich would save them.
The poor who believed all that the papers said.
The poor who listened with their fears.
The poor who live in their rooms and dream for their kids.
The poor are you and I, you in your garden of flowers,
In your house of books, who gaze from afar
At a destiny that draws near with another name.
Sometimes it takes an image to wake up a nation
From its secret shame. And here it is every name
Of someone burnt to death, on the stairs or in their room,
Who had no idea what they died for, or how they were betrayed.
They did not die when they died; their deaths happened long
Before. It happened in the minds of people who never saw
Them. It happened in the profit margins. It happened
In the laws. They died because money could be saved and made.”
Fans of the poet have praised Okri for capturing the horror of the fire, saying a “momentous shift” is required in the wake of the incident: