St George

23 Apr img_1683

Scaled Dragons 
armoured Knights,
Flags of red crosses on white

For so long appropriated by the far right.

But the England I celebrate

Is a pick and mix of influence,

A rich mosaic,

Shakespeare and Chaucer’s style

To me are harmonious with Meera Syal.

So while I eat my Sephardic chips and fish,

This symbolic dish,

I remember one thing,

Our ancient ability to welcome people,

Our plurality is what makes us great,

Starting with our eastern patron saint.

This blessed isle, 

this old/new, 

This England.

Human being

17 Apr

I’m not a number on a list,

I’m a person that exists,

I’m not a problem to be solved,

From a conflict unresolved,

I’m not seeking to take your benefits and your breathing space,

I’m only fleeing hell itself, wanting to be safe.

I’m a human being,

I’m not to blame,

I’m a human being,

A person with a name,

Nobody wants me,

Facing your distain

I’m a human being,

Can you say the same?

Union

8 Apr img_0494-1

Why should I be sad on my wedding day?

The bells ring, the people of Auld Reekie say

Was it James who said to Westminster,

You the husband, she is the bride,

She the Mrs, you the mister.
Why not marry,

For long we have tarried.

For a century, we have courted,

One King,

A flag of red white and blue flown atop ships,

Scottish stories on English lips.
Paranoia drove necessary action,

Fear over succession or invasion,

Taking the throne from a brother 

to promise to a distant cousin.
Not a love match,

But a dynastic match,

Strategy over romance you see,

When Anne takes her daughter to the altar

To do her duty.

‘I will grow to love you,’ the groom does say,

‘I promise to honour love and obey’

Despite the promise of a new birth,

Why is she sad on her wedding day?

   
 

Poem: Union Jack

7 Apr img_0128

I’m writing a series of poems about the Stuarts and how their dynasty helped create for better or worse the Britain we have today. Here is a shape poem, called Union Jack.

  

King Charles III 

13 Mar img_0118-1

  Last night, I saw King Charles III during its Manchester stop on its U.K. Tour. I must say, it’s a play that has intrigued me for some time, from its title, to the provocative posters. I wasn’t disappointed at all! Without wanting to spoil the many twists and turns of the plot, the play explores the nature of the relationship between crown and parliament and what it means to be a monarch in the 21st century. What a King can do in conflict with what he should do.

Headed by the brilliant Robert Powell in the lead role, with speech reminiscent of Shakespeare’s masterpieces, the cast negotiate the dilemmas posed by this conflict. I thoroughly recommend anyone to see it.

Here is a poem I wrote, influenced by the skilful work of Mike Bartlett…

Monarch

What’s a king to say,

When lead this way or that way

Left and right,

Wrong or right,

Should he say nothing at all?
What’s a king to do,

When any slight action

Could result in unforeseen reaction,

Should he be bound convention,

Guilded shackles?

Is it safer to do nothing at all?
The crown,

Bejewelled and gold

Is cold,

Hollow,

A trinket, a bauble,

As am I.

So I am a symbol, above the fray,

I must be, after coronation day.

English votes for English Laws #evel

12 Jan img_1233-1

 When is a union,

not a union?

When is one nation,

 not one nation?

We’ll keep you in name only,

We don’t want your voice in the chamber,

‘England and Wales only.’ 

Born in a Calais camp

14 Dec

Fleeing from endless war,

They walk for a thousand miles or more.

To flee horrors that never cease,

They brave stormy seas.

A scared man, his terrified wife and an unborn child.
They walk away,

from a homeland of doom,

Yet border guards tell them

there’s no room

For a scared man, his terrified wife and an unborn child.
So on a cold December night,

Out of mind of out of sight,

In a tent of tarpaulin,

By a candles faint light,

They took shelter,

As her time was near,

A scared man, his terrified wife and their unborn child.
What life can they have when nothing they own,

A long way from home,

To them no gifts of compassion, mercy shown,

To this scared man, his terrified wife and his newborn child.

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