The Sceptred Isle?

Since this is Friday and I am due to post I must revert to poetry and defer the discussion of names for another day and a wider group. I know what I think: what I hoped to engender was what anyone else who writes did, and although one contributor was creative (see comments on blog) a dialogue might prove rather divisive. Instead the poem below might bring violent disagreement which would be welcome. By all means shake up this blog! But don’t assume I am canvassing for UKIP, nostalgia lies much deeper than that,

‘Hath made a shameful conquest of itself’

Sworn Statement

I remember England before I ever came.
It held out not so much a hand
as a perfumed sheltering skirt.

Libraries of promises had told me it was so;
so kind, so empathetic… good laws kept
below the plimsoll line of progress, and never shook their fists.

Red-robed institutions and the wigs of learned men
in processions or procedures, stood up stoutly to defend
like a robin a single spade, abandoned to the rain.

Centuries had assumed much the same kind of thing.
Honour never easily perturbed by waved or shaking sticks,
shouting or enthusiasm, or new planted beds of change.

That picture merely skeletal like an architect’s token tree;
a profile of swinging twigs on which whole flocks might feed…
The glory came with foliage, later season, quiet street,

rows of modest gables, the certain corner-store.
The Pakistani, hollow eyed, exhausted and polite,
his jet-eyed child a clamour still at ten o’clock at night.

Inevitably Cathedrals, Warden Harding in the apse…
Overwhelmed by tearful vespers by half a few intoned
in a mediaeval choir with its candle cloistered lights,

its susurration of sandal, bowing tonsured pates…
Out into the winter fog hugging near the lamps,
the smoking billboard publican stamping frozen feet.

I fell in love with promises, smacked into full-tilt
round the corners of a heedless unintentional search, believed
England was for everyone, somewhere, Harry and St George

Or so for years it seemed.

Could I have been mistaken as little as thirty years back?
Could deception hold its nerve from Land’s End to John o’ Groats?
Grey matter finds it hard to shift something weightless as faith…

There was a certain…certainty?…Officer, I can’t tell you any more
I only notice now its gone, this Island has been robbed.

That oppresses like the Heft /Of Cathedral Tunes-

Author: philipparees

A writer ( mostly narrative poetry) of fiction and non-fiction. Self publisher of fiction and Involution-An Odyssey Reconciling Science to God (Runner-up Book of the Year (2013), One time builder ( Arts centre) Mother of four daughters: Companion of old man and old dog: One time gardener, lecturer, wannabe cellist, mostly enquirer of 'what's it all about', blogger and things as yet undiscovered.

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