'After Grenfell' By Colin Dardis

After Grenfell

By Colin Dardis


"The fire safety measures you outline are additional

rather than essential.” As if fire is fictional

and only dreams can catch fire. We watched people burn

and saw a government extinguish in return.


“It is the landlord’s responsibility

to ensure that people are safe.” Security

must be secured by your voice and your vote;

If you want to raise an eye, burn a banknote

because here, they put money before people,

where eighty deaths becomes unspeakable.


“Support will not include general improvement

and enhancements to buildings.” We need movement

and we need faith: We can't stop believing

that the value of another human being

is worth less than a sprinkler system;

if this is now policy, let us condemn.


The above quotes are by Housing Minister Alok Sharma, addressed to the City Councils of Nottingham, Croydon, and Wandsworth respectively in the wake of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.



An earlier version of Building a Coat in Russia was exhibited as part of artist Brian Kielt's Alternate State exhibition, March '15, in Duncairn Arts Centre, Belfast.

For a source of the quotes mentioned in After Grenfell, see http://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/oct/06/ministers-refusing-pay-improvements-fire-safety-grenfell


This poem was awarded runner up for the Aryamati Prize 2019. Thank you Colin for your stunning and moving work.


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