A Poem for Referendum Day
I haven't been around much lately. The real world has rather taken over from writing for a while, but here's one thing I have written which seems apt for today:
It Isn’t You
Of course I don’t mean you. You are a product of the Empire
With no memory of a home outside these Isles.
Your stories and your smiles are in my earliest memories
You’re British through and through
And if we had to vote for you
To leave or to remain,
Despite your birthplace and the colour of your skin,
I’m sure that anyone would vote you ‘in’.
I don’t mean you, I mean those others who
Like the Loch Ness Monster, I have never seen,
But must exist because the Daily Mail and facebook tell us so.
No, they should go, the lazy slobs
Who waste our benefits; the greedy ones who take our jobs.
I don’t mean you, my friend, whose thirty years of Yorkshire overlaid
On native Michigan have not yet made
You local in some Donny eyes – or ears –
Your fair skin and your perfect English do not stoke our fears,
And though it’s cost the NHS to help you through,
You’ve given too – so much, despite your pain.
No, you remain.
And no, I don’t mean you,
The tired-eyed, kind-smiled doctor who
Listened to my chest late after work, the time I coughed up blood
And reassured, in English broken as the tiny tube
That caused the flood of red which scared me so,
That it was nothing serious.
You’re surely one of us.
I wouldn’t make you go.
It isn’t you I mean.
“It isn’t you, it is those others” is an easy thing to say to you,
But each of my others is someone’s father, friend or healer too,
And if I cannot choose on birthplace, accent or the colour of their skin
Which are the lucky few who should get in,
Then what gives anyone the right to judge a person’s value or their pain?
Whose place is it to say which wounded souls remain?