Exclusive: Nigerian writer, cited as inspiration by Labour leader in speech, pens new verse suggesting ‘There’s always a new way’ and sends it to the Guardian
The poet and novelist Ben Okri has repaid the compliment of being cited as an inspiration in Jeremy Corbyn’s first major speech as Labour leader – in a poem celebrating a new dream of political power bringing peace, health and happiness.
Corbyn, in his first speech as leader to a Labour conference, namechecked Okri, along with Maya Angelou and Kier Hardie, saying: “It was the great Nigerian writer Ben Okri who perhaps put it best: ‘The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love.’”
Can we still seek the lost angels
Of our better natures?
Can we still wish and will
For poverty’s death and a newer way
To undo war, and find peace in the labyrinth
Of the Middle East, and prosperity
In Africa as the true way
To end the feared tide of immigration?
They say there is only one way for politics
That it looks with hard eyes at the hard world
And shapes it with a ruler’s edge
Measuring what is possible against
Acclaim, support, and votes.
There’s always a new way
A better way that’s not been tried before