David Pritchard is a coralent. He’s received the blueprints of the house he intends to build in the future. He commissioned and paid for it himself. Right now he is learning the trade of bricklayer (or mason) whilst at customized training in Derry/Londonderry. He’s building. And after he finishes learning this trade he’s going to study architecture. He has plans.
Between past Northern Ireland and future he is the Quoin. On Wednesday his boss said, “You’re working on Friday”. This Friday’s his 19th birthday. He doesn’t complain. He works the bricks. He builds. He plans.
Churchill did the same with bricks. Churchill was in the army and David in The Army Cadet Force. I’m here in Derry/Londonderry Northern Ireland for Blood on a 14-18-NOW WW1 centenary commission. I am writing a landmark poem informed by the views of Derry/Londonderry youth. I first met David at a Reading Room group on the outskirts.
The letters on each of his fingers spell F**K YOU. I asked him who did it. “Mother” came the reply. He asked about my tattoos. Mine are home made affairs from the days of children’s homes. Think for a second. What conditions does it take to wear a tattoo that reads F**K YOU”. It’s too easy to judge. Who reading this has not felt anger and injustice? Let him, who hasn’t, cast the first stone. Judgements will be the end of us. The other day he was shopping for clothes. A security guard said “I’m watching you”. The security guard followed him. He was shopping for a jacket for his Duke of Edinburgh Award Ceremony. At home he wrote to the company to tell them about the security guard. They sent him a free jacket. Those who judge so easily expose themselves but how we react to being judged shows who we are.
The only war memorial in Derry/Londonderry is the one in The Diamond. It commemorates the first and second world war. Davids Scottish uncle Gordon was the 100th soldier to die in action in Iraq. They were very close. “The diamond is the only place in Derry/Londonderry to remember him”. David attends commemoration in the name of his family. His blood.
Over in England a street has been named after his uncle – Pritchard Miews. he received the news this recently. At time of writing Pritchard Mews is being built. When David comes to live in England it is their he wants to reside. At my second visit to Verbal Arts Centre he wrote poems. He’s never written poetry before. Another poem “Spirits of Religion” (below this post) was written in his own time. He brought it to me today on my third visit. What you have in him is intelligence dedication and determination.
Also at my third visit there was a conference. It was about inspiring a love of reading and publishing in Northern Ireland. The penultimate event was an interview between David and I. My first question was this “David have you ever done anything like this before?” The audience included the deputy lord mayor, the literature department of Northern Ireland Arts, Northern Ireland Booktrust and all the publishing high and mighty, great and good. By far he’s the youngest person there. “I’ve never done anything like this before he said”
The Spirits of Religion by David Pritchard
You’re the spirits upon the walls
You’re the cold shiver down my spine
You’re the voices in the town
You’re the footsteps from behind
You’re the stone in my throat
You’re the cry of the ragin’
You’re the reason I’m dying
All because of my religion