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By Mike Perry on

The World Wakes, by Lemn Sissay

Experience the 'beyond' of Wonder Materials: Graphene and Beyond with Lemn Sissay's vibrant response to the discovery.

Please note: Wonder Materials ended on 25 June 2017. To find out what exhibitions and activities are open today, visit our What’s On section.

Lemn Sissay, noted Manchester poet and Chancellor of the University of Manchester, was commissioned by the Museum of Science and Industry to write the following poem for our Wonder Materials: Graphene and Beyond exhibition, running from 23 July 2016 to 25 June 2017.

The following video of Lemn is featured in the exhibition, and the poem was performed by Lemn for a VIP audience at the exhibition launch at the museum on 22 July 2016.

The World Wakes

Brilliance explodes the darkness of graphite

A beam reveals the mysteries of night


Overland underground wonderland flatland

Found the future on a sticky tricky backhand

Dawn cradles shadows with fables of sight

And bathes silhouettes in ladles of light


“And we must take the current when it serves

or lose our ventures”  and all their  worth

Let’s build;  think the un-think-able

Take the vast sea and make it drinkable


Make cities float.  Ride solo in the sky,

Click the browser from a lens in the eye

The future is as wide as dreams are high

March an elephant through a needle’s eye


Now grow:  And solve the unsolvable

Link the unthinkable. Think the impossible

Overland underground wonderland flatland

Found the future on a sticky tricky backhand


Throw text on window-screens – no road signs –

Let skin tones change with each frame of mind

Wear graphene sensors upon the skin

Which pulsate when alerted there’s illness within


And at birth upload the world wide web

To encoded cells inside the head.

2d or not 2d? – is no longer the query

Speak your vision we’re done with ‘in theory’


The world wakes inside the dream:

Nothing is ever as ever it’s been.

The wonder stuff in the palm of your hand

The future – it’s you in flatland.

Video and featured image credit: Jason Lock Productions

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