Full English

posted in: Poems | 0

 

For EDL members and little Englanders everywhere.

 

Tommy Robinson, whatever your name,

I’m glad you’re so keen on English culture.

Let’s get together, maybe have a look

at some Anglo-Saxon poems, brought over

from Norway by Vikings. You’d like them lads:

Hardworking, enjoyed beer and a good scrap.

You’d love Beowulf, especially that tale

where he dives deep in a freezing fjord,

grabs Grendel’s mother and hacks off her head.

Just for you, I’ll use English sonnet form,

just like Shakespeare, whose plays and poems

helped make and shape our green and pleasant tongue.

 

If we’re English, can we help but admire

all the voices in our mongrel choir?

 

You might like to try out Morris Dancing,

amidst the pint pots on old village greens,

though I guess you’re less keen on blacking up

as Arabs. Still, if it’s culture you want,

let’s start with our own language as it rolls

off our lips like the sea on Dover Beach:

Warm waves of Latin, regular as roads;

Harsh hatchets of Norse, its vulgar vowels

spat through tense teeth, consonants like crackling

ripped off roast ribs round friends’ fires after fights

over land or laws, a fusion of French

words and German that gels the best of both.

 

If we’re English, can we help but admire

all the accents in our hybrid choir?

 

But this might be too academic

for bunkered believers, burying their fear

under flags with clenched fists and gritted teeth.

Simple as it is to believe we are

pure, the village green you think you stand on

is Bermuda Grass, your flag Chinese,

your parents Irish, your splintered thinking

from 30’s Germany, (just like your car,

I notice). There never was a pure island:

It always was this invasive mixture,

accident of limestone, granite and chalk,

where foreign forges itself into fixture.

 

If we are English, can we help but admire

Mixed beauty in every single breath of our choir?

 

mm
Follow Jimmy Andrex:

Poet, performer, propelling pencils.

mm
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