I will remember England fondly,
Miss my friends dearly, but it is
Not the nightclubs of Birmingham
That hold me like a swain,
Or galleries, parks, and theatres
Which make me want to remain.
It is a cow, lying on the countryside,
Ruminating memories of my childhood pastures.
It is the grey of houses, caught in days dull
As the mist pressing down on the spirit of
Childless streets, marking time to winter pain,
Stomping feet to hasten the homeward train.
I did not always like the flowers of snow
Showers, sometimes envied the blooms of spring,
But it is not the gloom of early nightfall
That drives me nostalgic, or friendless faces
In a downpour which make me homesick.
It is the stark greenery of summer, when
The kingdom blossoms, and bares bodies
Etiolated, when nude skies mate
With towel-terraced lawns, groping at
The fleeting sexuality of a sun, which
Comes so rarely here, but is commonplace at
Home, where years are sold unquartered.
Only once, in summer, I heard the laugher
Of England, a familiar clatter of pots echoing
Round my village hills, saw time’s cosmetic surgeon
Unpeel layers of coldness, shed grimness, a nation
Made over for a period so brief, to reveal
People; a clutter of men, rollicking, moments
Round a rosebush. I want to tell them of
My island, where there is always a blue sky
Powdered with puffs of white clouds,
And the horizon’s pub close at hand
To reach for a drink and expand in warmth,
Soaking in the beauty of a sunset;
That of need, we live in foreign lands
For rejuvenation; when the mind stalls,
We rev off to Englands for a dip in the
El Dorado of the other side; and return.
I first shared this previously published poem (in my Mindfield collection) on this blog exactly one year ago on June 24, 2015. I am posting it again because it gives me an excuse to talk about England, Brexit, immigration and the poem.
- I love, love the British accent – all variations of it. If Brexit means the Brits get to keep that accent then …
- Apparently, the Brexiters wanted to go back to their little island, just as I wanted to return to mine when I wrote the above poem. I was studying in England for a period and I can say without qualification that period was the best time of my life. A strange thing happened while I was there: all the things my many relatives and siblings who resided in England at the time told me would make me hate the place, like the rain/grey/damp for e.g. , were the things that made me love it. All the things they said would make me want to remain where the reasons why I wanted to go ‘back home.’ I tried to capture that contradiction in the poem.
- I am a legal alien (immigrant) in Canada; in fact, I ‘became Canadian’ a few years ago. I will share in future post why I made that journey. Just want to say I am not one of those who will jump on you from a great height if you say one word questioning mass immigration. I embrace the saying that no matter how thinly you slice something it still has two sides.