The Cradle of Civilisation


Photo by Pete Denton. Collective poem edited by Antonio Martínez Arboleda. Contributions collated with thanks from the audience participating in the February 2020 Transforming with Poetry using




The parade is ready!


Plates like moons

modern mugs

with classic pictures

to show to neighbours

or give as gifts



Julio Caesar

eying up his glory


Tiny soldiers

in plumed helmets


Heads of ancient

Roman gods


Only 5 euros!


Lions, gladiators

also available

Sturdy forearm

bronzed in the sun

Latin phrases

For everyday use.

Room still for more

if someone has more shelves!



a montage

of time layered

like a sumptuous

birthday cake.

Encapsulated ages

memories of ruins

grand and orderly

past glorious power

Seize the day


your culture here.


But watch the man

with his hand in the box.


Oh, holly mess

of the free market

Blue sky overhead

mute and unquestioning

A bell tower in the horizon

Jesus wept

among his Roman captors

Blue skies are free


With thanks to


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Our Eyes

Photographer and designer Pete Denton proposed this interesting picture, taken in Marrakech, for our January 2020 Team-Screen Poem. The image captures a man and his film projector, in Cinema Eden, the oldest Moroccan Cinema, shortly before it was replaced by a modern picture house. The picture was part of a collection integrated in a photo essay by Pete Denton.

Members of the public participating in our January event built a collective poem using their mobile phones and the free-of-charge Menti app.

The poem, below, has been edited by Antonio Martínez Arboleda, poet and organiser of Transforming with Poetry.

At the end of this post you can see the image of the poem in its raw collective state at the end of the session. With thanks to Pete Denton and to all poets and readers involved.


Our eyes


I am just a hand-cranked camera

now covered in dust.


Overhead pipes

held together with tape


What whimsical image will come

while I wait for the whirring?


Through the lens of my old, antique eye

I see the world move on,

advancing without me

spinning over and over

sharing jerky pictures

of faces I will remember:

a tile-patterned floor,

disintegrated at the edges


Marylin Monroe

Bette Davies

John Wayne

Take your pick


Old films, new faces


Yousef Chahine,

Um Kulthum

Omar Shariff,

They all played here.


And as Dorothy was led to OZ

by a road of yellow brick,

so are we led to the unknown

by endless ways of geometry.


Flawed and warm

replaced by colder flawless


As we whither away,

Our legacy becomes despair.


I can see the stories of humanity

in your sad eyes.


I can see the world

in our eyes.