Shining threads

Shining threads

Monday, 11 July 2016

This is not England - a love story (to a country I do not know)

This is not England.
I love you - my story is one spread within
and spilling out from your book.
I do not know you.

This is not England.
Not the one I was told about.
Not the one I imagined.
Not the one I expected.

This is not England.
I only knew a slice.
And then more and more.
Yet the slices do not make a comprehensible cake.
I do not know you.

This is not England.
Yes. The land, the country, the hills,
the sky, the rivers, the coasts.
No. These strange folk who inhabit and sculpt this island.
And the strangest are the ones who cling to it most tightly.
I do not know you.

This is not England.
These changes, like rushing currents and swirling eddies.
The stamp which brought us first class delivery before
Is out of date.
Its imprint bedazzled by creative destruction.
We can add it to the collection,
uncorrelated to the stock-market
and see where its value lies relative to others.

This is not England.
I see your many histories,
each pivotal event and era
like stars in an incoherent sky,
forming patterns yet still beyond our ken.
We hold close for warmth to the nearest sun
and even that is not present but a message from the past.
I do not know you. Can never.

This is not England.
Not the land of my forefathers,
for they came from scattered places,
to congregate in this my body.
And so too yours.
I do not know you. We are both.

This is not England.
Your flag takes on an ugly nature,
for a moment.
And then seems redeemed.
And then mundane.
England - you are a chimera.
I do not know you.

This is not England.
Never was and shall never be.
Tis a great effort to invoke your glory.
And yet, many are ashamed.
Sometimes rightly.
We know too much
and some try to hide in their ignorance.

This is a love-story to a country I do not know.
This is not England.

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