In our wider neighbourhood area, Clarendon Park, Leicester, there is an annual festival called Artbeat. This year it will incorporate an Interfaith event, part of which is a poetry competition called ‘We all belong’. The neighbourhood is unique in that in an approximate square mile there are religious buildings for five different faiths, Jewish, Moslem, Sikh, Hindu and Christian including Chinese Christian, Anglican, two Baptists, Congregational, Methodist and Quaker.
I don’t consider myself a poet but I wanted to celebrate this unique diversity so I put pen to paper and here it is.
Basically we are all the same
We may look different, have a different name.
The real us is deep inside
Sometimes we show, sometimes we hide.
How far do our loyalties go?
We’re part of evolutions ebb and flow.
Look at where we are right now
And ask the most poignant question, how?
In days gone by with Victorian pride
Church and chapels side by side
Quaker friends in the neighbourhood
A league of those who work for good.
A century later in these same streets
A variety of places where the faithful meet
In just one road five calls to prayer
Sikh, Hindu and Chinese join the Christians there.
In another road, a miracle it’s true
Synagogue and mosque share a neighbourhood view.
Including Bahá’í, six faiths share one space
Making this spot a remarkable place.
We all belong here, of that there’s no doubt.
Whether you look in or whether you look out
A rich bouquet of difference unite in diversity.
Sharing one place, not should, could – just be.
If there is a God there can only be one
The name may be different through difference of tongue.
So many places where God’s name is raised
So many ways in which God can be praised.
It all happens here where we feel we belong
Embracing each other just cannot be wrong.
The world is now present in Clarendon Park
A vibrant, lively, lovely human Ark.