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Kilburn born poet laureate launches Christmas cultural season with ode to Wembley Park

PUBLISHED: 12:29 27 November 2018 | UPDATED: 12:29 27 November 2018

Momtaza Mehri, young people's laiureate

Momtaza Mehri, young people's laiureate

Archant

Brent’s home-grown poet star switched on the Christmas lights in Wembley Park and read her specially written ode.

Momtaza Mehri officially opened Xmasbox, Wembley Park’s first Christmas cultural season, on November 21 kicking off a series of free events.

The 24-year-old’s Our North Stars Wear Parkas poem is now on display next to the Spanish Steps as part of a series of creative installations on show throughout this season.

She said: “Having grown up in north west London, it’s great to have had the opportunity to celebrate this part of the city, and especially the young people who make it so vibrant.

“I wanted to reflect some of the experiences of young people I’ve spoken with and to draw attention to the small moments of shared experience that reveal the love, friendship and support that these young people find in each other.

“After all, isn’t that what friends are for?”

James Saunders, chief operating officer of Quintain, the developer behind Wembley Park, added: “It’s a great pleasure to hear Momtaza Mehri read her fantastic poem to officially open Xmasbox, Wembley Park’s first Christmas cultural season – it embodies the love and thoughtfulness that has gone into the programme.

“With commissioned artworks and plenty of free events that appeal to all ages and tastes this Christmas, there is something to delight everyone, from our curated series of short films made at Brent Library, to a vintage fair perfect for picking up one-off presents.”

Our North Stars Wear Parkas, by Momtaza Mehri

We sing of long nights and younger days,

Murmurs of Secret Santas and whispered wish lists.

Joy kept guarded.

Close to the chest like a favourite hot water bottle.

Lighting us from the inside out.

We are unwise, in groups of three.

Sometimes more. Huddled at the back of buses, belting our hymns

Of holy heartbreaks.

Arms intertwined like holly wreaths on a neighbour’s door.

Gold dangling from ears. We are a dance of colour.

Our mothers burn frankincense, let its mist rise under their dresses.

Plumes of smoke and surrender.

We wear the scent of their sacrifices on our skins.

Finish each other’s sentences, trade punchlines like contraband.

Private pantos of our windswept Wembley Park afternoons.

Isn’t that what friends are for?

To snatch words from tongues and replace them with their own?

To know us better than we know ourselves?

Our needlepoint hearts dart northwards,

into the stadium’s arching arms.

Melting into each other like the snowy slush,

Glistening wet under our boots.

A slick, sticky kind of love.

Isn’t that all it is? All it could ever be?

The tingle of anticipation. A possible slip and fall.

The safety of familiar arms always right behind you,

Always steady.

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