Music and poetry combine in this lyrical look at the ageing process in response to Paul McCartney’s When I’m Sixty-Four as thirteen international poets have been invited to create new work for the project.
McCartney first composed the song when he was 15 and returned to it in 1966, when the Beatles were preparing to record Sgt Pepper. His dad Jim had turned 64 that summer, and in the song the young Beatle makes the imaginative leap into the mind and body of a much older man.
Poets from a host of different countries have been asked to write A Poem to the Future, considering how they might envisage themselves and/or the world when they reach the age of 64.
Each of the tracks being celebrated in Sgt Pepper at 50 has a theme – from dreams and vision (Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds) to teenage and youth (She’s Leaving Home). Our poets have been encouraged to take one of those themes as a focus for their work.
Of course, no poetry project celebrating this unique musical anniversary would be complete without a contribution from our own renowned Liverpool Poet, Roger McGough, who has also written a poem giving his response to being 64.
Click the images below to read the poems:
‘Overture’ by Zaffar Kunial (England) – Inspired by Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
‘The Seeds of Time’ by Nikola Madzirov (Macedonia) – Inspired by ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’
Poem to the Future: to the year 2027, thinking over The Beatles’ Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by John Kinsella (Australia)
‘Annunciation’ by Tracy K. Smith (USA) – Inspired by Getting Better
‘None More’ by Don Paterson (Scotland) – Inspired by Fixing a Hole
‘The Hook and the Needle’ by Sinéad Morrisey (Northern Ireland) – Inspired by She’s Leaving Home
‘I Wonder How I’ll Dance At 64’ by Kei Miller (Jamaica) – Inspired by Being For The Benefit of Mr Kite
‘With Me Without Me’ by Yasuhiro Yotsumoto (Japan) – Inspired by Within You Without You
‘8x8x8’ by Kim Hyesoon (South Korea) – Inspired by When I’m Sixty-Four
‘2037 (when i’m 64)’ by Angelica Freitas (Brazil) – Inspired by Lovely Rita
‘My father sits in the dark’ by Lavinia Greenlaw (England) – Inspired by Good Morning Good Morning
‘Term’ by Owen Sheers (Wales) – Inspired by Sgt Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
‘Holz (holes)’ by Ulrike Almut Sandig (Germany) – Inspired by A Day in the Life (coda)
‘When You’re Sixty-four’ by Roger McGough (Liverpool) – A response to being sixty-four