Colourful Reality

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Colourful Reality

by Kristy Giacoman

Colourful Reality
Milestone Image
It's All About Perception


"A London Full of Colour" is a project that aims to portray a different reality of the daily life of London citizens. By picturing different scenarios in their reality comparing them to the reality that I chose for each one of them, the audience is able to admire the beauty and uniqueness of the city from a different perspective. I have gone to international poetry competitions and taken painting and photography courses before arriving to college. This project will combine my favorite forms of expression through art and hopefully brighten the days of the viewers. The main message I wish to convey is that every single one of us chooses the reality they want to live in, meaning that the same place could be seen as a prison for our souls or a wonderland for our imagination. The goal of this Milestone, however, is to connect the emotions displayed in the pictures and the colors of the paintings in a creative way empathizing with the people walking by the site as a daily routine. The sets of paintings and pictures are accompanied by a poem of my own writing.


It is in the beauty of a great writing where a person's real emotions are free to be exposed. And what makes a great writing so great? I would say that the ability of a writer to appeal to the readers' emotions precisely. In writing there is no such thing as truth, each writer is free to create their own reality as dark or as colorful a they wish to do so. Though it is true that life experiences and situations shape a person's way of viewing life, each individual has the power to define his or her own reality and a way to do so is through literature. In this Milestone, the work of different poets is presented, as well as information about the writer's background and the path that lead to their accomplishments. The writers are chosen for their relevance as well as for the topics they cover in their poems, related to people's emotions, to symbolism, sociopolitical perspectives and to weather. Poetry has been a tool for many of these writers to use not only as a form of expression through art but also to raise awareness about their concerns. For the deliverable of this Milestone, a poem of each author presented in the background is chosen and interpreted by me. Poetry is for everyone and its power is beyond most people's imaginations, which is why, also as part of the deliverable, poems of my own will accompany each set of picture and painting done in the Milestones Colourless London and Adding Pigment that will encompass the same topics covered by the poets in the background.

Section 1: Background

Mathew Arnold

Mathew Arnold
Milestone Image

In the biography published in the Encyclopedia Britannica this great literary character is introduced like this: "Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) was an English Victorian poet and literary and social critic, noted especially for his classical attacks on the contemporary tastes and manners of the “Barbarians” (the aristocracy), the “Philistines” (the commercial middle class), and the “Populace.”" [1] He divided the society in these three categories and wrote about their realities from his perspective. Instead of referring to them as high, middle and low class, he called them "Barbarians", "Philistines" and "Populace". Also through his writings it is easy to get his idea of how society worked, specifically in the poems "West London" and "East London", where seeks to portray how the case of society relies in the working class, which, if we think about it, makes total sense. The working class is first of all where the great majority of people are situated, they are educated enough to actively participate in a roll of society contributing to the economy, and yet, are aware of the sociopolitical situation of their country because they are directly affected y it. They do not enjoy major privileges and they know that to get the bread to the tale they have to work for it, which they do. The high class instead, enjoy of all the privileges that come with being above everyone else and the lower class contribute very little to the economy and their voices are, if anything, barely heard."Arnold saw in the Philistines the key to the whole position; they were the most influential section of society; their strength was the nation’s strength, their crudeness its crudeness: the key was then to educate and humanize the Philistines." [2]

Mathew began his career as a poet and it was not hard for him to excel as he started to publish. This maybe influenced by the fact that he was the son of a very respected image, for his father, Thomas Arnold, was the headmaster of a renown college in England. Also his success was propelled by the way he wrote for a higher cause than himself. He wanted to make people conscious through his writing, so he raised awareness through his poetry which expressed his ideals for society. "a poetry that would address the moral needs of his readers, to animate and ennoble them” [3] He was a man of great character and strong moral values that he worked to promote to his readers. Also, by the way he critiqued society in his poetry, he is considered to have "established criticism as an art form" and been inspiring English critiques until present times. According to a biography written by Hamilton and titled "A gift imprisoned: the poetic life of Matthew Arnold", Mathew became such an important image to represent English poetry that he was elected to the Oxford chair of poetry and very proud of this accomplishment, he wrote to his mother: "some 200 more voted than ever before".[4][5] This victory was only surpassed by the success of his first speech at Oxford, “On the Modern Element in Literature”, where according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, he gave a whole new definition to the word "modern": "being taken to mean not merely “contemporary”, but the spirit that, contemplating the vast and complex spectacle of life, craves for moral and intellectual “deliverance”". [6] This claim is also supported by the biography written by Hamilton, where he elaborates more about how Mathew believed that poetry was the best way to positively influence people and teach them morals, or as Mathew said: "a faith which could be thought of as a thing of beauty". [7]

For his many apportions Mr. Arnold has been considered one of the most influential writers of his time and he is the only person to have two memorials in Westminster Abbey, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.[8] "A bust by Alfred Bruce-Joy" and "a mural tablet of Lepine limestone and green Westmorland slate with a motif of gilded flames, designed by Donald Buttress" can be seen in different sides of the Westminster Abbey according to its official website. The inscription in the tablet reads: "Remember Matthew Arnold 1822-1888 Poet and Critic. Let but the light appear and thy transfigured walls be touch'd with flame" and that quotation is taken from his poem to one of the Deans of Westminster. [9] Being given the great honor of having two memorials in the abbey there is no way to deny his influence in English literature and the quality of his work. Mathew Arnold sets an example to all writers and invites them to believe in the power they have with their literature. In the same way, he invited us all to become aware of other people's situations and our roles in society.

Richard Aldington

Richard Aldington
Milestone Image

Edward Godfree Aldington was born in a middle class family in Portsmouth, England, on 1892, however he grew up in a town called Dover at the Southeast end of the UK and since a very early age chose to be called Richard. [10] What seems really interesting is the strength of his character, as, which kid would ever decide to change his or her own name? This detail helps us have a better idea of some traits of his personality. Now, about his life, as an adult he openly expressed he did not live the childhood he would have preferred. Through his poems people can have a very vivid picture of what the earliest days of his life were like, specially through his poem "Childhood", which setting is Dover. According to a biography written by Charles Doyle, "a great source of early dissatisfaction and insecurity for Aldington was his immediate environment".[11] In a letter written to a friend later in his life, he said: "The photo of poor old Dover is indeed shocking. The Victorian houses, with all their drab squalor, still had some remote trace of humanity, but these skyscraping slave-pens, industrial ergastula, give one the creeps. It is the same everywhere, and reflects the age, which will do itself justice"[12]. By this description, Dover does not sound very different to what London once was as seen in the first Milestone of this project (Colourless London). A gray place that, from Richard's perspective, as shown in his poem "Childhood", was dull, dark, stinky and hateful. He felt helpless in that town as if he was trapped there and unable to grow. In fact in the same biography previously mentioned, Charles Doyle realizes a repeated metaphor in Aldington's writings, the first one appears in the poem "Childhood" and the second one appears in the book "Rejected Guest":

From "Childhood":
Somebody found my chrysalis
And shut it in a match-box.
My shrivelled wings were beaten,
Shed their colours in dusty scales
Before the box was opened
For the moth to fly.

From "Rejected Guest":
"A child, grubbing about in the garden, finds the chrysalis of a tiger moth. An old boot box is begged from the kitchen, a useless pile of unnecessary leaves is arranged for the treasure air-holes are punched. Every half-hour or so, the child into the box to the wonderful change it has been told about. Nothing happens, the box is forgotten, and then one day carelessly opened. The bright-winged creature lying dead." [13]

With this visualization of himself and the town that saw him grow, it is not hard to identify the dark and depressing perspective of his works. The moth's metaphor however, was probably inspired by one of his hobbies as a child as stated in a biography written by Hernandez: "It was at Dover, also, that he began collecting butterflies; an occasional hobby that he would stay with for most of his life."[14] After going through terrible childhood, his life did not become that much better, as when being an adult he had to go though very traumatic experiences and misfortunes such as having a stillborn child in his first marriage, a long and messy divorce and his participation in WWI. However, in spite of all these tragedies, he never topped writing. "The two and a half years that Aldington spent in active duty during WWI was to become perhaps the greatest single influence on his writing for the decades to follow." [15] He used these events as a source of inspiration and did pretty well in his career for a while, until he caused controversy with one of his biographical books. As he wrote the biography of Lawrence of Arabia, who was admired by many, Aldington realized he was only a farce and when he published his book exposing all the lies, he got a lot of backs turned to him. "Aldington expected that he would be writing the biography of a hero, but in the process realized that the legend of the man was, in fact, legend indeed--and mostly of T.E. Lawrence's own making."[16]

He suffered a lot from the critics after publishing this book even though it was later proven that he was right and for a writer with a bad reputation it is very hard to publish. Nevertheless, he did not give up and towards the end of his life things got a little bit better as in a visit to the USSR he said "Here, in the Soviet Union, for the first time in my life I have met with extraordinary warmth and attention. This is the happiest day of my life. I shall never forget it."[17] Also, according to Doyle, after his death in 1962, "The Literary Gazette" published that "his work preserved the best tradition of British critical realism".[18] With a life full of ups and downs, Aldington was one of the first English poets to discard the conventions of rhyme and meter but he discarded them for "a stricter and more difficult form which can hardly be called free verse because of the masterful control which regulates and balances every detail with the minutest precision". [19] Also, after looking at a life so full of misfortunes, it is a little bit easier to understand the perspective of his writing.

Don Paterson

Don Paterson
Milestone Image

Don Paterson was born in 1963 in Scotland but moved to London at the age of 16 to work as a jazz musician and joined a band. According to "The British Council", him joining the jazz-folk ensemble Lammas, was one of the most influential factors all through his career. "Paterson’s strong ear for rhythm and understanding of the ‘sense in sound’ are partly attributable to his background in music" [20] Music is as much his passion as poetry is and even today he continues to play in Scotland as a professional musician. An astonishing fact about his life is that he taught himself the rules of rhyme and meter, and Egan his career as a self taught poet. He has a quite peculiar way of looking at his own profession, as in an interview with the journalist JP O'Malley, he asked Paterson if it was true he felt uncomfortable saying he was a poet, to what he answered; "I think that's true with most poets. I know only one or two who are comfortable with that. It's mainly because it's not a job of any kind. It's just something weirdly synaesthetic thing you do with words, and is probably symptomatic of a broader pathology. I think poetry is more of a diagnosis than a calling."[21] It is sad to think that still in the 21st century it is hard to admit a profession for fear of judgement, specially a character like Patterson. However, in my opinion, he is not to blame, for maybe he doesn't want to deal with the comments and questions that come when you admit that you decided to pursue a career in literature.

Don Paterson has a great imagination worthy of admiration and by reading the interview, he also seems like a very down to earth person, someone that enjoys what he does and thats it. He does not pretend to be anyone's hero or use his poems as a gateway to escape his personal problems. He writes as inspiration comes to him and keeps close attention to every single word he chooses as he said "Ted Hughes used to talk about this: he said he knew a poem was finished when every word was listening to every other word."[22] Reading a poem that has had so much thought put into it makes us appreciate poetry as a complex art form. His exemplary work has been widely acknowledged as he has received a great number of awards. According to "The Scottish Library", his collection "Nil Nil" won the Forward prize for best first collection, he was included on the list of 20 poets chosen for the Poetry Society’s ‘New Generation Poets’ promotion and became poetry editor at "Picador Macmillan".[23] However, the awards don't end there, as stated in the official website of the Poetry Foundation: "God’s Gift to Women (1997) won both the T.S. Eliot Prize and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, and Landing Light (2003) won the Whitbread Poetry Award and an unprecedented second T.S. Eliot Prize. Christina Patterson, reviewing Landing Light for the Independent, praised Paterson as “one of the few poets writing today whose work combines postmodern playfulness with a sense of yearning for the transcendental.” Paterson’s poem “A Private Bottling” won the Arvon Foundation International Poetry Competition. He has won an Eric Gregory Award, three Book Awards from the Scottish Arts Council, and a Creative Scotland Award. The Poetry Society named Paterson one of the New Generation Poets and as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Fellow of the English Association. For his service to literature, he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2008 and received the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2010."[24] His work was so acknowledged that he won the T.S. Eliot Prize twice. A Life full of success that still continues and yet, he remains humble and down to earth. He seems like the kind of person that if you came across in the street, you would never imagine is so recognized by the quality of his work.

Don Paterson’s poems are so admirable because of the great deal of work he puts into them, and how, despite he sticks to the verse rules, that does not restrain his creativity and imagination for the lines flow with perfect sense. The hardest thing about doing this, at least for me, is definitely finding the right words to fit the rules without changing the original course of the poem. However, he must master a huge vocabulary, as he keeps the same trajectory of the poem at the same time as he keeps the rhyme and meter right. As Ben Wilkinson summed up in the British Council’s Writers Directory: "a sharp, witty and distinctive poetic voice, Paterson’s formal dexterity and dedication to poetic tradition are combined with contemporary postmodernist elements, producing poems of cutting-edge relevance, but also of intense, MacNeiceian lyrical beauty."[25] Also, we must not forget that Patterson is still relatively young as has much more to offer as a poet and a musician. As he continues his career, we'll see what new wonders he creates for us to enjoy.

Harry Baker

Harry Baker
Milestone Image

Harry Baker is not only one of my personal favorite poets, but also a great example for people that are too afraid to follow their passions. Harry grew up in London and he explains in his book "The Sunshine Kid" and in his YouTube videos how, as he was always an excellent student and enjoyed science, as his time to choose a career path approached, he was advised to study medicine and become a doctor. However, as he says, he discovered that despite enjoying science very much, "poetry was a more fun way of saving lives". [26] So then he decided to study maths at Bristol after finishing his gap year between high school and college, which he thinks was one of the best decisions in his life, for it was along those times when he discovered Slam Poetry. Indeed, the first part of his book is called "Harry Baker's Super-Amazing Mega-Awesome Gap Year Adventures: Birth Of A Champion". [27] In harry's poems it is easy to see how much he enjoys playing with the sounds of words and how at times the poem turns almost into a rap and sometimes it sounds like a tong twister. On the first note, Harry was actually a rapper before he started writing poetry. and one of his poems called "99 problems" he takes Jay-Z's lyrics and turns them into a poem about maths. In his book, he explains that from a young age he was told to write about things he knew about, and as he is a mathematician, this poem and others such as "59" talk about maths and numbers in the most creative way anyone could possibly imagine. He introduces the poem "59" as " a love poem about prime numbers" and he explains it is "the first proper poem he ever wrote".[28] With this poem he won his first "Poetry Slam Competition", which was a turning point that inspired him to keep writing and performing "almost every night", as he says later in his book. [29]

The Academy of American Poets explains in its official website that Slam Poetry is a movement that started in the U.S. somewhere between two or three decades ago and revived young people's interest in poetry. The way these work is that participants are given a few minutes in the stage to perform an original work of poetry written by themselves. The performances are individual or by groups and random members of the audience judge who wins. The website previously mentioned explains: "The work is judged as much on the manner and enthusiasm of its performance as its content or style, and many slam poems are not intended to be read silently from the page." [30] Harry became a London Slam Champion and was later invited to participate in the Poetry Slam World Cup of 2012 held in Paris, France. In his book, Harry tells the story of how this came to happen as well as all he had to do to go and the three poems he chose to participate. The first poem was "Dinosaur Love", the second one was "The Sunshine Kid" and the third poem, which he performed in the final, is called "Paper People". This poem is the one that made him win the Poetry Slam World Cup on 2012 and got him to become the youngest ever World Slam Champion. Harry is very proud to have this title as it has given him the chance to meet a lot of people and travel all around the world to perform. He is also very proud of his poem "Paper People" and this is easy to see baby the way he introduces it in his book: "So it's technically the best poem in the world". [31] Harry Baker is an inspiration because while being a mathematician he still follows his passion for poetry and excels at it at an international level. He is only in his early twenties and has already finished his degree, published a book and travelled the world meeting amazing people and doing what he likes.

Section 2: Deliverable

West London

By Mathew Arnold

Crouch'd on the pavement close by Belgrave Square
A tramp I saw, ill, moody, and tongue-tied;
A babe was in her arms, and at her side
A girl; their clothes were rags, their feet were bare.
Some labouring men, whose work lay somewhere there,
Pass'd opposite; she touch'd her girl, who hied
Across, and begg'd and came back satisfied.
The rich she had let pass with frozen stare.
Thought I: Above her state this spirit towers;
She will not ask of aliens, but of friends,
Of sharers in a common human fate.
She turns from that cold succour, which attneds
The unknown little from the unknowing great,
And points us to a better time than ours. [32]


The speaker of the poem sits in Belgrave Square and looks at a poor woman with her baby and young daughter, all dressed in rags, evidently from the lower class. Then, as some men from the working class pass by, the tramp sends the little girl to beg and she successfully brings back some money. However, as rich men pass by they make no effort to beg at all. Then the speaker explains how he realizes that the tramp will only beg from the working class who will understand her situation and are more likely to show some compassion and give her money. He also realized that from the perspective of the poor family, the rich men that walk by are "aliens" that would show no empathy at all for her cause, for which she sees no need to try to beg. In this short poem, Matthew Arnold criticizes society's lack of response to poverty. He lived in a period of modernization and was able to see the gap between social classes broaden as people became "aliens" for each other and all the empathic community that once existed was deteriorating. The title "West London" accentuates his idea of rupture of society caused by socioeconomic status, for that is considered to be a very wealthy side of the city. He uses this to accentuate the fact that poverty remains present despite the wealth of high class neighborhoods like West London. Finally, by the end of the poem, he leaves the readers with his desire for a change and an attempt of a wake up call. As he refers to the poor girl as the "unknown little" and to the rich as the "unknowing great" he shows how unconscious people have become and how he hopes for a better future. Just as it is explained in the background of this Milestone, he attempts to make his readers aware of society's situation so that hopefully they are more conscious about they reality and restore the lost morals of the broken community.

Childhood III

By Richard Aldington

I hate that town;
I hate the town I lived in when I was little;
I hate to think of it.
There were always clouds, smoke, rain
In that dingly little valley.
It rained; it always rained.
I think I never saw the sun until I was nine --
And then it was too late;
Everything's too late after the first seven years.

The long street we lived in
Was duller than a drain
And nearly as dingy.
There were the big College
And the pseudo-Gothic town-hall.
There were the sordid provincial shops --
The grocer's, and the shops for women,
The shop where I bought transfers,
And the piano and gramaphone shop
Where I used to stand
Staring at the huge shiny pianos and at the pictures
Of a white dog looking into a gramaphone.

How dull and greasy and grey and sordid it was!
On wet days -- it was always wet --
I used to kneel on a chair
And look at it from the window.

The dirty yellow trams
Dragged noisily along
With a clatter of wheels and bells
And a humming of wires overhead.
They threw up the filthy rain-water from the hollow lines
And then the water ran back
Full of brownish foam bubbles.

There was nothing else to see --
It was all so dull --
Except a few grey legs under shiny black umbrellas
Running along the grey shiny pavements;
Sometimes there was a waggon
Whose horses made a strange loud hollow sound
With their hoofs
Through the silent rain.

And there was a grey museum
Full of dead birds and dead insects and dead animals
And a few relics of the Romans -- dead also.
There was a sea-front,
A long asphalt walk with a bleak road beside it,
Three piers, a row of houses,
And a salt dirty smell from the little harbour.

I was like a moth --
Like one of those grey Emperor moths
Which flutter through the vines at Capri.
And that damned little town was my match-box,
Against whose sides I beat and beat
Until my wings were torn and faded, and dingy
As that damned little town. [33]


Richard Aldington wrote this poem at the age of 21 and, as seen in the background, he did not live a very happy life in general. As it can e inferred by the title, this poem narrates the depressing and traumatizing period of his childhood. The complete poem "Childhood" is over a hundred lines, which is why I chose only a section of the poem to talk about. I chose the third section because here Aldington talks about Dover, the town he grew up in, which had quite some similarities to London, starting by the weather. This is a very honest, crude and personal poem. His bitter and miserable childhood contrasts with the way any person would ever imagine what should be such a joyful and enjoyable part of anyone's life. In this third part of the poem, he talks specifically about Dover and its rainy weather and since the first lines he reveals his perspective about it. He complains about the rain, the smoke and the clouds that, according to him, seemed to always surround the valley. Everything that he expresses in the poem is in a negative way. He says that when he was finally able to see the sun, it was already too late. For this maybe he not only he meant "the sun" as a literal thing but also in a way in which, if you ever live through bad experiences for long enough it is hard to recognize when something good happens, as you get used to constant tragedy and that is all you expect. After this, he goes on a more personal level and talks about the street he lived in, which he compares to a drain.

As he proceeds to describe the places he used to go in the town with great amount of detail, he invites the readers to transport themselves to his childhood. It amazes me the way that he only focuses on the worst perspective of the town, which I am sure, could not have been nearly as ad as he describes. However, despite this, he says that "there was nothing else to see" as if he would have actually made an effort to look for a it of beauty in that place and failed. As he says "in rainy days-it was always rainy" he makes it seem as if there was no escape from that "depressing" panorama. He days "everything was dull" and then proceeds to say "except a few grey legs under shiny black umbrellas, running along the grey shiny pavements" making emphasis on the colors which were all dull as well. He keeps using the words dull, hollow, dingy and gray as he continues to describe the town and its weather. He has the most negative perspective I have ever heard of the museum, however, as I think this, I can almost hear him say "'s true though, isn't it?". It is sad to think that the first thing to come to a kid's mind when being ale to observe such wonderful creatures so up close, is that they're dead. And then instead of showing interest in the captivating roman history, "oh, they're also dead". By the end on this section of the poem he talks not comparing himself to a moth inside of a matchbox. As he does this there are a few things to point out. First of al, the fact that instead of being a butterfly, he decides to be a moth, then the fact that he is in a matchbox meant that someone else put him there. This is almost as if he lamed his parent for carelessly putting him in a place where he felt trapped. Then as he descries how his wings were hurt and he couldn't fly he probably means to say that y growing up in a place where he was not meant to be, like the moth inside the matchbox, his aspirations were hurt and he was condemned to not be able to except his abilities at their full potential. In the last line of the poem he compares himself to the town, as if he had let the place he came from, define the rest of his life and he was damned to always be part of that town.


By Don Paterson

I love all films that start with rain:
rain, braiding a windowpane
or darkening a hung-out dress
or streaming down her upturned face;

one long thundering downpour
right through the empty script and score
before the act, before the blame,
before the lens pulls through the frame

to where the woman sits alone
beside a silent telephone
or the dress lies ruined on the grass
or the girl walks off the overpass,

and all things flow out from that source
along their fatal watercourse.
However bad or overlong
such a film can do no wrong,

so when his native twang shows through
or when the boom dips into view
or when her speech starts to betray
its adaptation from the play,

I think to when we opened cold
on a rain-dark gutter, running gold
with the neon of a drugstore sign,
and I’d read into its blazing line:

forget the ink, the milk, the blood—
all was washed clean with the flood
we rose up from the falling waters
the fallen rain’s own sons and daughters

and none of this, none of this matters. [34]


In this poem about rain written by Don Paterson, he presents a whole different perspective from the one of Richard Aldington talking about the weather. Again since the first line, the perspective of the author is reveled and invites us to keep reading as the author contains in eight syllables per line every scene where rain is present in a movie. In this poem is beautiful the way Paterson describes his scenes. It is almost as if he only knew the most beautiful way to say things as simple as rain falling down a window. Instead he makes us visualize the drops falling and intertwining with each other as he says "braiding a windowpane". Also he makes us recall movie scenes where we have seen these images and makes us appreciate more the beauty of those scenes. The truth is that in movies, usually rain appears in sad parts just to add to the emotion as he says in the line "or streaming down her upturned face". Then as he says "before the act, before the blame, before the lens pulls through the frame" he seems to mean that whether it is being filmed or not, the rain is still there, beyond the movie. It exists whether we watch it or not and whether we are ale to appreciate it or not, it is beautiful. After this he recalls scenes where rain is used to create suspense "as a woman sits by the telephone" probably waiting for her lover to call or even maybe waiting to receive bad news. Then he says that no matter how bad the scene may seem or how wrong things start to go in the movie, that does not affect us because at the end of the day it is just a movie. Later, from my perspective, says that when bad things happen in the movie he starts thinking about how, just as in the movie, bad things happen in life and despite this the rain is able to wash away our problems as "we rise up from the falling waters". Just as in a movie, when a scene is rainy and sad it does not matter, because in the end, it is just going to e a scene of the movie, as that bad episode of our lives is just going to be that; an episode. I like the contrast this idea makes with the idea expressed in the previous poem as they both use the same object (the weather) to state opposing ideas. Also, as seen in the background, It is worthy of admiration how, Paterson is able to achieve such an accurate and understandable poem that is easy to appreciate, as he sticks to rhyme and meter. How he finds just the right words for each line to continue the same train of thought and guide us through the poem.

Paper People

By Harry Baker,

I like people.
I’d like some paper people.
They’d be purple paper people.
Maybe pop-up purple paper people.
Proper pop-up purple paper people.
How do you prop up proper pop-up purple paper people?

I’d probably prop up proper pop-up purple paper people
with a proper pop-up purple people paperclip,
but I’d pre-prepare appropriate adhesives as alternatives,
a cheeky pack of Blu Tack just in case the paper slipped.
I could build a pop-up metropolis.
But I wouldn’t wanna deal with all the
paper people politics,
paper politicians with their
paper-thin policies,
broken promises
without appropriate apologies.

There’d be a little paper me.
And a little paper you.
And we could watch paper TV,
and it would all be pay-per-view.
We’d see the poppy paper rappers
rap about their paper package,
or watch paper people carriers
get stuck in paper traffic,
on the A4.

There’d be a paper
princess Kate
but we’d all stare at
paper Pippa.
And then we’d all live in fear of
killer Jack the Paper-Ripper,
because the paper propaganda
propagates the people’s prejudices,
papers printing pictures of the
photogenic terrorists.

A little paper me.
And a little paper you.
And in a pop-up population
people’s problems pop up too.

There’d be a pompous paper parliament
who remained out of touch,
and who ignored the people’s protests about
all the paper cuts,
then the peaceful paper protests
would get blown to paper pieces,
by the confetti cannons
manned by pre-emptive police.

Yes there’d still be
paper money,
so there’d still be
paper greed,
and the paper piggy bankers
pocketing more than they need,
purchasing the potpourri
to pepper their paper properties,
while others live in poverty
and ain’t acknowledged properly.

A proper poor economy,
where so many are proper poor,
yet while their needs get ignored,
the money goes to big wars.
Origami armies
unfold plans for paper planes,
while we remain imprisoned
by our own paper chains,
but the greater shame,
is that it always seems to
stay the same.
What changes is who’s in power,
choosing how to
lay the blame,
they’re naming names,
forgetting these are names of people,
because in the end
it all comes down to people.

I like people.
Because even when the situation’s dire,
It is only ever people
who are able to inspire,
and on paper,
it’s hard to see how we all cope.
But in the bottom of Pandora’s box
there’s still hope,
And I still hope
because I believe in people.

People like my grandparents.
Who every single day since I was born,
have taken time out of their morning
to pray for me.
That’s 7892 days straight
of someone checking I’m okay,
and that’s amazing.
People like my aunt who puts on plays with prisoners.
People who are capable of genuine forgiveness.
People like the persecuted Palestinians.
People who go out of their way to make your life better,
and expect nothing in return.

People have potential
to be powerful.
Just because the people in power
tend to pretend to be victims,
we don’t need to succumb to that system.
And a paper population is no different.

There’s a little paper me.
And a little paper you.
And we could watch paper TV,
and it would all be pay-per-view,
and in a pop-up population
people’s problems pop up too,
But even if the whole world fell apart
then we’d still make it through.

Because we’re people.[35]


I like the volatility if this poem, how it is funny, serious, sad, true and enjoyable all the way through. How Harry plays with the words that emphasize the sound of the letter p and that is his style all through the poem. He adds rhymes here and there without having to stick to the verse rules and even making the poem sound as a tongue twister sometimes. The poem also starts happy with the phrase "I like people". A phrase so vague and at the same time so full of meaning. Then he starts talking about "paper people" as if he did not want to talk directly about people. Similar to when you ask someone's advice for a problem "your friend" has, when it is really you who have the problem. Harry says he would build a pup-up paper metropolis but would not wand to deal with the "paper politics". Here is where the poem gets a little more serious as he complains about the politicians making useless "paper-thin" policies that do not actually help and then breaking the promises they do in their campaigns as they look for votes. Right after this he goes back to the funny side of the poem playing with words, like when he says that cars would "stuck in paper traffic on the A4" meaning the paper type as if it was also the name of a congested highway. Then he proceeds to help us give a setting to his paper metropolis and the rest of the references in the poem as he talks about the "paper princess Kate" and "Jack the paper ripper". As the poem goes through, he never lets it get too funny or too serious finding the perfect balance to make us reflect out what he s saying without making it tedious or boring. He talks about how "propaganda propagates people's prejudices" and I have been able to see this, specially in London, as in the past weeks of being here the city has suffered terrible terrorist attacks. The saddest thing is that the last one was an attack to a mosque inspired in islamofobia. And the media fosters this sometimes without the intention of doing so by "printing pictures of the photogenic terrorists" and making people think it could be any one of them.

Harry also talks about sociopolitical concerns, just as Mathew Arnold used to do, the difference is that Harry adds humor to it and talks in a somewhat figurative language. He mentions how the parliament remains out of touch and how people are unable to peacefully protest. How there is a huge gap between the rich that have more than they need and the poor that are not acknowledged properly. How the economy is already poor and instead of dredging the population's needs the money goes to fund armed conflicts between nations. But despite all the rebellions and the wars, things never seem to change, it is always the same problems and the only thing that changes is the person in power, who is always the one to blame, but, it really? Harry makes us reflect that at the end of the day we are all people and we make mistakes and when we point our fingers and start laying the blame we forget "these are names of people". He goes towards the end of the poem in an optimistic perspective pointing out how even when the situations get rough, "it is only ever people who are able to inspire", and saying that there is still hope as long as we believe there is. Then he gives a simple example we can all relate to of how he believes in people, as he talks about his grandparents. He then proceeds to list people that without knowing it, are fighting for a bigger cause, people that inspire through their actions and "have the potential to be powerful". After that he exhorts us to do not fall into "the system" of hiding behind the excuse of "being victims" and he empowers us by his last lines, which are my favorite out of the whole poem and say that "even if the whole world fell apart then we’d still make it through because we’re people".

My Own Reality in London

In this section I present poems of my own writing, to complement to the pictures taken and paintings made for the previous milestones of the protect "A London Full of Colour". I had the chance to visit London once again during the summer of 2017 as part of an Academic program of my university Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). During this experience I visited Museums, Palaces, Concerts, Plays and interacted with a great amount of all types of people. As part of the program, however, I had to keep a personal Travel Journal, narrating my day to day in this magnificent "World City". Throughout the program I not only stretched my intellectual capacities by doing independent studies, but I also explored new areas of my personality through art and developed a better sense of understanding of my own reality, acknowledging that my perception of it differs from that of others. Being here also made me more aware of my surroundings and of myself, as unfortunately, we lived together with London a great deal of tragedies in a very short period of time. As I learned more about the history of this place and the way it continues to grow despite the opposing circumstances, I was more and more motivated to leave (in some way) a piece of me to contribute to the beauty of this city. Just like the artists presented through this project, I leave here my own perception of London, which may not be that relevant to many, but it shows that each person has the capacity to create a reality for themselves and turn it into the life they wish to live.

Lady London


Through the development of this milestone it was possible to understand the reasons why each author chose a specific style and portrayed their own version of reality as well as their concerns with respect to it. Tracing the poets' literary developments through their lives provided a solid background that helped understand the peculiar nature of their greatest accomplishments and even the perspective from where they chose to write. Though it is true that weather conditions may influence a person's behavior and way of being and viewing life, (as seen in the previous Milestones linked to this one) a person's life experiences are the main sculptors of his or her perception of reality, which at the same time, will define his or her actions. At the beginning of the Milestone, we can see how Mathew Arnold's experiences guided him to become one of the most influential writers in the United Kingdom. He was often seen as a humanist more than just a social critic and exemplifies how shaped his character and and worked very hard to follow his passions and develop his talent raising awareness for a cause better than his own benefit. The section of Richard Aldington however, helps us understand why he gave a depressing scent to his writing and leaves us wondering if the negativity shown in his work was the effect or the cause of his tragedies. Later we see Don Paterson that uses poetry as his most perfect way of expression, taking careful attention to the rhyme and meter and giving poetry a new perspective. Finally, the contemporary poet and international poetry slam champion Harry Baker decides to express through poetry things that he knows about such as love, maths and (in some way) people. Doing so in the most creative way playing with the sounds and pronunciations of words.

All of the poets, besides being British have in common their strength of character when it came to poetry, as well as their love for it and their effort to (in their very own and individual ways) improve it. By the end of this Milestone, after interpreting the selected works of the authors presented in the background, I leave my own sets of poems that show the feelings I identified myself with while living in the City of London for nearly two months. I present my own work as well as the renown poets' work not only to fulfill my academic requirements, but to display my own version of reality in London and let the readers discover the wonders and calamities from which I was inspired to photograph, paint and write what I see as a London full of colour.


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