Stephen James Smith - web edit

Lockdown Lights: We Must Create

As part of our Lockdown Lights project, we selected two poems and invited people to record themselves reading them, so we could geneate a film, to share as part of this year’s digtal launch.

Active, positive and full of creative hope, Stephen James Smith’s poem We Must Create was selected in counterpoint to Eavann Bolanf’s Quarantine. We thank Stephen for allowing us to use the poem and share his version below. Loo jout for our film from 15 Oct 2020.


We must create to know who we can be
I say this for you, I say this for me
We must create to know who we can be

Early beginnings, heart beat warmth and you
First breath, eyes open a new point of view
Hands touch, ears hear, clocks ticking I am who?
We must create to know who we can be

Screaming out from within with a voice here
Notes flowing on air lulling the fear
Melody all around this atmosphere
We must create to know who we can be

Hearing truth in onomatopoeia
Boom, boom, belch, zoom, zap, playing with grandpa
While cookie cutting, baking for grandma
We must create to know who we can be

From scrawling with crayons to Lego bricks
From knitting needles, soft textile fabrics
To air-guitaring auld Jimi Hendrix
We must create to know who we can be

There are creative accountants, CVs
Tinder profiles where you look the bees knees
But best not to force it, it comes with ease
We must create to know who we can be

We heard a song sung, it helped ease the pain
We didn’t feel so lonesome as we sang the refrain
We forgot that feeling until we heard it again
We must create to know who we can be

From nursery rhymes to white collar crimes
What have you to say in uncertain times?
Have you a chance to change the paradigms?
We must create to know who we can be

Do you remember the time you heard an opening allegro
Or when that beat dropped and how it made your head go?
Some things make no sense unless you’re in flow
We must create to know who we can be

You may rise then fall, or fall then rise
An arc of a story contains no surprise
But how you tell it, therein the art lies
We must create to know who we can be

Artistry gives rise to community
We’re all part of a changing tapestry
There’s art history in identity
We must create to know who we can be

If you do it for the money you’ll be called a fraud
If you think you’re great company and you might be God
Delusions of grandeur aren’t that odd
We must create to know who we can be

There’s all sorts of forms, disciplines, levels
To challenge yourself in the intervals
Where you’ll find rivals and reasons for approvals
We must create to know who we can be

If it’s saved you from yourself
And now there’s no other way
It doesn’t matter how it moved you, welcome to the ballet
You’ve just found the peak of Parnassus, fair play!

We must create to know who we can be
I say this for you, I say this for me
We must create to know who we can be
We must create to know who we can be.

From Here Now by Stephen James Smith.
Copyright © 2019 by Stephen James Smith.
Reprinted by permission of Pace Print and the poet.
All rights reserved.


Lockdown Lights is an open source project, collecting community stories about people’s experience of the lockdown during the 2020 Coronavirus restrictions. The project was funded by the Irish Government’s Emigrant Support Programme Covid-19 relief fund. We would like to thank all the participants and the Irish Government for their support.

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