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There are many unsung heroes in our world.  I have seen them in South Africa, individuals of seemingly little importance, putting menial skills they have to creating a better life.  For others.  Scraps of pension to feed grandchildren, weak women with babies on their backs. Old men, knuckles stiff and gnarled, still weeding lawns and lugging bricks.

I have seen them on the buses going home in London.  Dark risings, dark laying down, hours of labour for menial wages.  They do not know the sun but they know the need for a future for their children.

They do not tell their stories because no-one asks them for it.  They do not write them for they have not learnt how.

This morning, revelling in the English early light, I stumbled on this remarkable tale, and suddenly I feel I know the man. I know many like him.  I have seen his story on their faces. Faces of the undesirables, the unwanted and the hopeless. Faces of unhappy lives.

There is such beauty in this grim, tough and successful tale; such as this man, once victim, now chancellor.  The beauty is not in the living of his past, but in the rendering to poetry to try and rise above it.  Beauty to be found in purity of words whilst poverty and rejection wrapped him up at night. And with patience, with conviction that he matters more, recognition began to filter through the mist of trying every, every, every single day.

Graduate of life.  Academic of the streets.  Chancellor and mentor to all who have a smattering of a dream.

Read the full article in:

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jun/26/lemn-sissay-interview-foster-child-poet-chancellor-manchester-university

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