Democracy · General

The Stolen Sun

 

They worked for decades

For their place in the sun,

As their autumns fade

They claimed their freedom

From the ache of the rain

In their muscles and bones,

Now they ache to remain

In their retirement homes,

 

This was not given to them;

They got there on their own,

Is their security to be stolen?

The seeds of doubt are sown;

 

European citizens in Britain

Are now treated as hostages,

So, their nations of origin

Do the same in this crisis,

 

This questions the concept of belonging;

Belonging to; belonging with; belongingness,

Both the forces of comfort and longing

And the money and belief we each invest

In the places we choose to be living,

 

We need to be honest

In this state of anti-immigration;

We have to own this

Process of individual rights negation,

History tells us Britishness

Is formed of centuries of integration,

 

Will we continue to count as less

All those who come to our nation

And add to its worth and essence?

Our ex-pats too will be distressed

If our neighbours devalue their presence,

 

This is Brexit’s darkest side, undressed;

Naked of all the abhorrent pretense

in the lies that sought to impress

Some citizens sitting on the fence,

 

To say we Brits can live anywhere

Yet limit who comes here makes no sense,

Yet many a Brexiteer seems unaware

Their acts may have weighted consequence.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

Democracy · General

The Bell and Drum

Beneath old towers of golden stone

The clanging bell, the thump of drum,

Where an ageless river flows;

Protesters come, flags are flown

Of unions caught in the undertow,

 

People have gathered together

In clamorous amalgamation,

Side by side in the bitter weather

In hope, in fury, in confusion,

Equal and opposite in their fervour

For union or nationalism;

Those who see our saviour

In a second referendum,

Those who want Westminster

To deliver the sworn unicorn

And those who’d just prefer

This Brexit business done,

 

The noise, and then the hush

As the crowds wait and listen

In that huddled crush

For parliament’s decision,

 

As the bells peel

I worry with millions

That there be a no deal;

An incalculable burden

Leading to more poverty,

Inequality, social division

Affecting the majority,

 

A bad deal garners historic defeat

As the drum beats

The hearts on the street,

I wonder what consensus

Parliament could meet

That would guard and represent us,

 

If cabinet chose only to outreach

To Brexiteer extremists in their party

Ensuring May’s red lines aren’t breached

In the name of the mock democracy

Her impassable processes preached,

 

While Labour refuses doors to dialogue

A far-right Brexit seems a possibility,

Corbyn in apparent stasis, his own voice vague,

I fear a worse deal passed by united Tories;

For a path to ruin to be laid

The percentage win need only be tiny,

 

Let me be as clear as the tolling bell

I’ve wanted passionately to remain,

That hope by a minor margin fell,

Now, uncertainty and frustration reign,

Disintegrating realms, unforgivable

That all this will cause us all more pain,

 

We could say the Brexit project’s failed;

For millions of us, this would be preferable,

But other millions would feel their voice curtailed

And we must think of them as well;

Not the bigotry and isolationism

Within the leaver’s swell

Nor notions driven by racism

Which we must quell,

But the inherent criticism

Of governance being too central,

Distant, too far from them;

Too absent in their struggles;

Seemingly devoid of realism;

Aloof in the face of their troubles,

Those who work beneath Big Ben

Can sometimes seem the most remote,

But the EU has been condemned

By those who see the ocean as a moat

And invasion in each boat or plane;

Who’ve been sold the scapegoat

To explain what’s hard to frame;

 

Hidden in many leaver’s votes

Was a broad, nebulous rejection

Of the status quo,

We need a proper constitution

Yet those negotiations closed,

We traded thoughts of UK devolution;

Of proactive regions within a whole;

Brexit offered as an alternative solution,

Yet, in all the to and fro,

Scarlet barricades and preconditions

There is one thing all this shows;

Lack of transparency in political decisions;

A deficit we cannot afford

On the benches of our House of Commons,

Our crises don’t begin in Brussels or Strasburg,

The problem has long been born at home;

Our economy, among the most centralised in the world,

Witnessing widening gaps in people’s income,

The EU used a stooge, Westminster failings ignored,

As the drum thunders and the bell chimes

To conundrums and discord,

Facing divorce fees or severing fines –

Our futures hanging on a word,

Too much not agreed, too much undefined

And all of us calling out to be assured

In these troubling, world-shifting times,

While we, like collecting dew, are poured

Into the flow of the leaden Thames,

 

If  we go ahead, we need a far softer line

To protect our kingdom’s unions,

Our security, our peace, and the rights

Of our UK and international citizens,

To guard investments and keep in sight

Our shared intercontinental ambitions,

Cross-border threats to climate

And the need for social protections,

But the hour is getting late

As debates continue into the night

And we watch others write our fate

As deals fall in the dwindling light.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

Democracy · General

A gender

One commentator expounds

On May digging in stiletto heels,

As he, on shaky and unlevel grounds

Blames a government’s historic failure;

To reach a workable deal

(With a gall that even now astounds)

On the Prime Minister’s gender,

 

The interviewer does not question assertions

Made with usual, casual, lethal sexism

As the commentator mentions a lack of children

As if that were a reason for derision;

Or cause of brinkmanship or inflexibility,

Equating female ambition

With a leader’s inability

Or unwillingness to seek

To engage constitutionally,

As if the issue was women in politics

Or in the monarchy,

As if there were the statistics

To back up such misogyny;

Too few women have led

To make such sweeping analogy,

It is not May’s womanhood

For which she owes apology.

Democracy · General · Remain

Blackmail

She May mean well

But this is blackmail,

After an epic fail

Which she ignores

To carry on

Just as before,

 

She will not move the ruddy lines

Or give the deal-making more time

Or take ‘no deal’ of the table,

‘blackmailer’, a suitable label

For such irresponsible

Holding to ransom

Of those elected by the people,

She’s inciting pandemonium,

Her way or no way at all

Is close to despotism,

Which is near to criminal

At this time of emergency,

With such a short interval,

To misuse the urgency

As political currency

To pass a dead deal

Come what May

It is not OK;

It is blackmail.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

General · Remain

The Big Riot (a political satire)

At the Met headquarters

There’s another call out,

To gather all available officers

To attend another London riot,

When they muster at the order

The streets are uncannily quiet,

Far too silent to signal peace,

The van drivers see the flickering TVs

As the vanguards of PSUs cruise,

They tell their colleagues in the carriers

“Every household is watching the news”

Then, they get closer to Westminster

Where they each get a first-hand view,

 

Of the riot’s epicentre,

Met commanders aren’t sure what to do,

It started in the Common’s Chamber

And it shows no sign at all of ending,

Ministers displaying criminal behaviour,

They’d have to send the forces in,

Some Brexiteers were running with cleavers

And Borris Johnson was singing

As law-enforcers arrest law-makers

To the sound of ancient plaster cracking

And answering war cries from Remainers,

The police chief rethinks the cons of fast-tracking

While arresting MPs from Tories and Labour,

Extracting an uninterested Corbyn,

If he’d not been killed by Mogg’s sabre

It looks like he’d soon have died of boredom,

The Speaker is still trying hard to call order

As someone nearby asks the chief

“Sir, where do we put the cordon?”

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

Democracy · General

A January Morning

 

A January Sunday morning,

After my ritual of washing

Dan comes in with the Guardian,

While drinking tea I’m listening

To desired reports, hope glistening;

In the USA diverse representatives sworn in,

In the UK, political rebellion against fracking

And I hear, deep inside, a caged bird sing

While doors with rusty iron locks are slowly opening.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

Democracy · General

Two Poems of Hope for 2019

Hello All,

Hoping your year started peacefully. I started 2019 listening to ‘Let’s Face the Music and Dance‘ by Irving Berlin, sung by the great Nat King Cole. The song for me captures the spirit of making merry no matter what troubles may be ahead and finding joy in life and love. I was not feeling well earlier in the evening – I have complex disabilities and chronic health conditions – but by the time we saw the fireworks from our open bedroom window and read out Tennison, I was warm and hopeful. The story about how we ended up reading the classic ‘Ring Out, Wild Bells‘ is shared in a new poem I wrote the next day. It centers on the story of a woman honouring a beautiful tradition her mother kept.wild bell echoes az I’ve submitted this poem together with one other and three art pieces into an International Mental Health & Wellbeing ‘Postcard’ Show. Another poem of hope is written today:

A January Morning

 

A January Sunday morning,

After my ritual of washing

Dan comes in with the Guardian,

While drinking tea I’m listening

To desired reports, hope glistening;

In the USA diverse representatives sworn in

In the UK, political rebellion against fracking

And I hear, deep inside, a caged bird sing

While doors with rusty iron locks are slowly opening.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

 

Meanwhile, a piece I wrote last year on disability and access has been published:

So, these are my offerings for hope and determination going into 2019.

 

48% · Culture · Democracy · General · Remain

Heptarchy

Once there were seven kingdoms

Of Anglo-Saxon dominance;

Anglia, Kent, Essex,

Mercia and Wessex

Northumbria and Sussex,

Before tenth century unification

Into what became old England,

But not yet it’s modern boundaries;

 

Seven realms called the heptarchy

Founded this new arrangement

Of central management, essentially,

I still see the relative estrangement

Of all other parts of the UK;

An incomplete enfranchisement

Underpins our other ‘unities’

Where heptarchic centricity holds sway,

When it is thought convenient,

To compromise lives, look the other way

And rip up fragile, vital peace agreements,

When some English MPs side-line or deny,

This feels true again today

When I watch Westminster Parliament;

Though I know some ministers care greatly,

The problems stretch out to such an extent

Blinkered thinking seems to be the generality;

 

Despite our interconnections culturally,

Despite interdependence economically,

Despite the shared need for security,

Old England is treated as a relative priority;

 

Northern Irish fears, questions and grievance,

Shelved in Brexit deals, not given real credence,

Indifference buttresses treating another’s existence

As subsidiary to our need for insurance,

Encouraging escalation in cross border violence,

The chance of peace lost is not a cost worth

The elusive ideal of so-called self-governance,

Northern Ireland threatened by the backstop

And an opening for conflict and social chaos,

The reason Westminster speaks of this at all? –

They need Northern Irish votes to seal the deal,

The Northern Ireland that voted to remain,

Where you can travel over to Ire by train,

Why would we trade this for either nation’s pain?

Precious and perilous the amity between men,

Paramilitaries on both sides still have guns,

Brexit can’t be allowed to become

Heptarchia; or a central England predilection

Provoking the smashing of any kingdom,

 

What of the Gibraltians?

98% chose Britain

Over being part of Spain,

Whilst staying fiercely European;

96% also voted to remain,

Will we squander this union?

Are they well protected by the plan –

Or will we treat their needs as alien,

Forgetting their realm in the kingdom;

The so-called United Kingdom?

Where is this debate in parliament?

Oh, I forgot, there isn’t one

Because Gibraltar has been given

No real part in any final decision,

This British Military Bastion

And bridge between continents

Neglected in isolationist vision

Loosed to the currents

Of selectively chosen ignorance,

 

Meanwhile Scotland speaks of a second referendum

To leave the United Kingdom

And stay in the European Union

Westminster promises for further devolution

Postponed season after season,

Amidst Westminster undemocratic deviations,

Scottish Parliament makes preparations

To build post- Brexit resilience for her population,

 

Then Wales and Cornwall, who both voted to leave,

Neither part of the old heptography –

Cornwall long outside English boundaries

Both long over-looked by Westminster priorities,

Treated as political minorities,

Suffering more than their portion of poverty,

Brexit was their sole opportunity

To question the balance of authority,

But was it the EU that was their enemy –

Or the swing of an English majority?

 

What of the Cornish Isles of Scilly?

What of the Scottish Outer Hebrides?

These small communities

Surrounded by sea

With unique histories

And identities

Sometimes as close

To other countries,

Will their ferries and boats

Still move just as freely?

If the answer is ‘no’

‘Hopefully’ or only ‘Ideally’

How can Westminster vote

For such uncertainty?

 

Certain Northern realms and principalities

Long divided into modern counties

Whose borders blurred over centuries

Can be heard by Westminster to a lesser degree,

 

Of the others caught in the undertow,

The fourteen ‘Crown Dependencies’

Not permitted a vote,

How does this affect their families

Safety, economy and futurity?

 

The nations termed ‘Balliwicks’

From the root-word meaning ‘bailiff’,

Once seen as empire’s colonies,

Now proudly autonomous countries,

Yet still, in some complex way legally

Described as British Territories,

Making us ask what Britain really is,

For we share more than a monarchy;

Our Brexit deal with affect their populace

Yet where are their representatives in this?

 

Many of these relationships interlaced

With the family now called Commonwealth

Striving for more parity to be embraced –

Though some do call it theft by stealth

My hope is in its a partnering in trials faced –

A hope for those by climate change threatened,

By drought, war, tides or floods displaced,

That help does come from a community of nations,

A harsh Brexit winter could require such grace

But do we consider their needs in our calculations?

 

How often is apparent worth computed by race?

 

Former realms and current friends in

North and South Atlantic,

Africa, the Indian Ocean

Antarctica and the Pacific

Many with the flag on Britain

Making part of their own flag,

Of our commonwealth cousins

Our mates in Australia

And New Zealand –

Among the closest we have

Despite the distance,

 

They’ve been there for us

Like our kin in India and Pakistan,

Side by side through war’s tumult

Yet here Asian citizens

Are too often thrown insults

 

Here, seeming Anglo-Saxons

Appear treated as higher status

Than those whose origin is thought Celt,

But Caucasian Brits get preference

To almost everybody else,

 

Many nations in the Caribbean

Whose Windrushers rushed to assist

Us in modern Britain’s darkest time,

With them, Britain rose like a phoenix,

 

Then there is land used by our armed forces

Like Akrotiri and Dhekelia –

British Territories in Cyprus,

Names to most Britons, unfamiliar,

Our deal affects Cyprian neighbours,

Do we properly consider this?

 

Last but the opposite of least

Guernsey, Jersey, The Ise of Man –

How do each fit with us with Brexit?

Beyond issues of customs and taxes

Are interlinked histories and narratives

And our dependence on dependencies,

 

If we are to make a truth of the promise

That we will be secure and stable,

Westminster must be far more inclusive

About who sits around negotiating tables

For any Brexit deal to be persuasive –

Or, frankly even workable,

Because there is a fact that is pervasive –

The biggest threats are global

As are families, communities, friendships,

Many opportunities and goals,

A poor deal will tear us all to bits

As we see local groups and businesses

More consumed by trans-national corporations

Whose size and power are bigger than nations,

So, outside nostalgic heptarchic fantasies

People need states to work in collaboration

To find balance sovereignty and union

Because raising the drawbridge is no solution,

 

As I write this, I hope Brexit won’t happen –

I identify as ardently British-European

And do not think we’ve found a deal

That anyone could call a solid foundation,

But whatever is to come we have to get real –

Customs becoming insular will diminish Britain

And that narrowing would be beyond geographical.

 

Once there were seven kingdoms

Who, realising division made them vulnerable,

Banded together to form England,

Like Scottish Clans, the benefits considerable,

Now we risk all unions,

Yet, if we understand each relationship has value

Then horizons can expand

While our societies become more sustainable

And personal and communal sovereignty

Becomes a wee bit more attainable.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

Culture · General

Wishing you peace, wellbeing & security

With all that is happening in the world, including but not only Britain, I wish anyone reading this (regardless of faith) peace, wellbeing, and security now and into 2019. There are many troubles; from volcanos and tsunamis to the ques at Foodbanks, from conflicts and shootings in Strasburg to rising cold and homelessness, we have challenges to face. Many of my poems speak of the harsher realities but there is almost always hope hidden in the seams and margins. When and if it feels too much I look for the helpers, for they are always out there. They are the ones giving out hot drinks, food, blankets or even a kind word or smile. They are everywhere, and if you can’t find one look in the mirror. If you’re reading this I may well not know you, but I wish you well because many strangers are friends we have not met. If you need some light then I offer an earlier post I wrote, Inspirational Songs .

Democracy · Festive Protest Songs · General

My Least Favourite Things

(Here’s one I wrote a few years ago, to the tune of The Sound of Music – My Favourite Things)

 

Homelessness rising and people frost-bitten,

Unnourished bellies, cold hands without mittens

Transnational big businesses pulling our strings,

These are a few of my least favourite things,

 

Terrorists funded by Oil and Arms Dealers,

Refugees blamed by Daesh and all our leaders,

Bombers that fly with mass death on their wings

These are a few of my least favourite things,

 

Violence increasing as prejudice slashes,

Divide to rule rhetoric gluing eyelashes

Icy white winters mixed up with our springs

These are a few of my least favourite things,

 

Chorus:

When the cuts bite, when the lies sting,

When we’re feeling sad

We unite against our least favourite things

And then we won’t feel so bad,

 

Misinformation as our climate is cracking,

Secretive deals to enforce lethal fracking,

Opportunities passing as poverty clings,

These are a few of my least favourite things,

 

Racism, ableism, gender exclusion,

Media Moguls spreading confusion,

Insipid homogeny dominating

These are a few of my least favourite things,

 

Public services given to corporatisation

Making us wonder who governs our nations,

Vulnerable patients charged for their slings

These are a few of my least favourite things,

 

Chorus:

 

When the cuts bite, when the lies sting,

When we’re feeling sad

We unite against our least favourite things

And then we won’t feel so bad.

 

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

Democracy · Festive Protest Songs · General

What the Dickens? – A Christmas Carol Revisited

 

What the Dickens is this?

As parliament breaks up for Christmas

We are visited by the ghosts of promises;

As Brexit consumes the policies

Once pledged to deal with ‘burning injustices’,

 

The ghost of past oaths and assurances

To tackle rouge bailiffs and rip-off leases

Are abandoned as inequality advances;

See the ghosts to be crouched on cold streets,

Lives, not just statistics in rising homelessness,

 

The ghost of past undertakings and vows

To confront domestic violence, here and now

With electronic tags for known offenders

And forced rehab for abusive substance users,

How many victims are no longer with us

Since broken pacts to protect survivors?

 

Ghosts of lawful guarantees to defend us

In the word they gave they’d shield workers

From still legal wage-theft by some businesses,

People treated like those caged wild creatures

Still allowed to be trapped in certain circuses,

 

As the cabinet prepares to sleep this December 24th,

May they hear the howling wind knocking at their doors

And see the ghost of now, shades of what came before

And the spectre of the future if they don’t change course.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

General · Remain

The Lead Balloon

Well, that went down like a lead balloon –

Oops, look I think we broke the Union

And broke an older union too;

When Brexiteers speak of sovereignty

They mean sovereignty for who?

This doesn’t represent me,

 

Feels like I’m on a ship of fools

Steaming through an icy sea,

Too great to sink, or so we think,

A wreck to rank in history;

Remember the Titanic?

 

But just imagine, if back then,

They had not forged full steam ahead

And the captain noticed, slowed down

And took an alternative route instead?

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

48% · Democracy · General · Remain

Sovereign State of Stupidity

 

First you notice the bare shop shelves,

And thank the lord you stocked up on tins,

You nip in to your nan’s, who doesn’t look well

To make sure she’s got enough in,

Her homecare was cut, so she fell,

16hrs waiting for her to be seen,

 

The news says the country is going to hell,

But who’s still got time for such things

When your travelling daughter calls you to yell

That they’ve cancelled all fights home from Turin,

 

When you went for a meal on a Saturday night,

The pizza place was closed, a curry palace alight,

You hope those who were inside are alright,

There seems to be even more crime on the streets

And you miss the old, old days of bobbies on the beat,

 

The family complain there’s so little to eat,

There’s no fish in the chippy, the docks lie empty

While ministers mangle deals for our fisheries,

Embargoes on veggie meals and most gluten free –

On anything from Sweden to Malta, Denmark to Cyprus,

There’s no Belgium waffles, no sugar for tea,

Who knew they packaged it in Hungary?

 

The neighbours’ children asked why Santa hadn’t been,

His mum said he was stopped at the border and couldn’t get in,

 

Amidst the rising theft and violence

If leaver’s turn to me and shout

How none of this makes sense

I’ll tell them, they let the monsters out,

 

The racists and extremists lurking in the darkness

Given an excuse for their worst excesses,

And it will seem like too many couldn’t care less

As we deal with vicious cuts to basic services;

Services like education, care, police, the NHS,

Charities, social work and security forces,

While small businesses fail because no one invests,

Farmers nosedive as they lose EU subsidies

Ailes empty in local grocers and supermarkets,

Welcome to the Sovereign State of Stupidity,

 

The Ports near closed, food nor people make it through,

When we limit free movement, we limit ours too,

Make ghost towns of Gatwick, Luton, Heathrow,

Stopping freights and ferries from Grimsby to Glasgow,

Perhaps the one temporary winner is the Ozone

 

But too many are hungry, jobless

With dwindling hope and no home,

Too many drained and feeling useless,

No one lives in the house next door;

The bitter irony is priceless,

Without immigrants we are too poor

To handle the housing crisis,

We don’t have their taxes anymore

And homelessness persists,

As wages freeze and prices soar,

Corporations still getting rich,

Less staff on the tills, fat cats on the board,

While young and old crouch by the doors

Of houses and flats so few can afford,

 

Medicine stockpiled, or not getting through,

Prescriptions unavailable, costs sky high,

Surgeries cancelled again as they lengthen the que,

The terrible truth; avoidable pain while the saveable die

And this won’t be eased by anti-migrant curses

When we’ve sent away half the doctors and nurses

Because some of them ‘weren’t from round here’

Or due to funding cuts and restricted resources

While the national debt gets ever heavier

As we pay for twenty-seven national divorces,

 

But gone too are those politicians’ excuses,

Having stocked fires of xenophobic fear,

Those they made stooges for the bruises

Fought back, moved on or disappeared

And most of us miss them and want them here,

 

Don’t blame Europeans or the world, or raise your fists,

Or say it’s all down to EU politics, or just the way it is,

Don’t look to the financiers – they warned us of this,

There were warning signs half the nation chose to miss,

 

So many feel betrayed, denied,

From Belfast, Edinburgh, Gibraltar

We watch as the United Kingdom divides

And pray to God by every name there won’t be war,

Due to fragile peace accords we all but undid

And the callousness we cannot alter

Towards international people who work, live

Study, give and made this nation prosper

Who we treated with distrust, deceit, conceit,

To be really frank, we should’ve known better,

In 1945 we celebrated a fascist defeat –

 

Tantrums saying we expected more

Or this wasn’t what leavers voted for

Won’t help us dig out of the embers,

The EU can’t be wholly criticised

For favouring its members,

I think many member nations tried

To compromise when Brexiters

Just wanted the UK to sever,

But we were stronger together,

 

We are now a third party

Made to follow others’ rules,

 

Desperate people conjure enemies;

All the usual suspects accused,

Amid rising hate crimes and bigotry

As we see a breakdown in society’s rules,

Muslim women harassed in the street

And black children openly bullied in school,

Old prejudices becoming less and less discrete

Of course, some twits will blame Jews

Imagining a grand conspiracy

Though there are no facts to back up their views

And things are made worse by such idiocy,

 

The protections for people with disabilities,

The care for the immobile, ill or elderly,

The ongoing research into curing diseases,

All of it slows down, some of it freezes,

 

Fuel prices higher as they sponsor fracking,

Energy crisis, environmental backtracking,

Wildlife and eco charities losing their backing

We can’t quite believe it, but it’s happening,

We seem to be self-governing our nation collapsing,

As the globe faces the task of a massive remapping,

 

All hale the farce made of democracy,

We are autonomous citizens of hypocrisy.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

 

(A poem about a worst-case scenario Brexit Britain. I do have more cheery poems too, like ‘Fa La La; a protest song to the tune of Deck the Halls )

Democracy · General · Remain

Contempt

May this contempt;

This contempt of parliament

And more, this contempt

Of democratic procedure,

This contempt of our country,

A United Kingdom; a continent,

Of all here now and here before;

This contempt of everything built

To encourage, protect and ensure

A relative peace taken for granted

We mostly enjoy with neighbours

On nearby shores;

This contempt of the health service

Founded after and because

Of the aftermath of two world wars,

This contempt of millions of workers

Who strive all hours but can’t afford homes;

Struggling parents, low-income earners

Sold lies or made into scapegoats,

Contempt of employees and entrepreneurs,

Including those

Who pay tax but cannot vote;

Those hated, spited as foreigners

And usurpers, even though

Money is not stolen by migrants,

It is the powerful few

Who guard the greatest percent

Of almost every nation’s revenue

And it’s clear most of them

Have not got the smallest clue

Or else were never taught

What duty or honour meant,

Those who place risk over value,

Those who do not know

That integrity, as well as a virtue,

Is now an economic and social essential,

 

Yes, it is contempt of this; contempt,

Forgetting foodbank ques,

Front bench MPs attempt

To push and bully through

A defective Brexit agreement

Whilst concealing the torch of truth

That our Attorney General lent;

 

It is this contempt of parliament;

And thus, contempt of the people

By leading officials in our government

Who would, it seems, mislead us all

In not providing the full legal document

Detailing all actual and potential pitfalls,

It’s disrespect, historic and inexcusable,

 

It is such contempt

That sets a mine beneath Big Ben,

Such deceptions are time ill spent

In arrogance, in acts

Against its citizens

By withholding facts

From those elected to represent,

 

Eight hundred years ago

They drew up a democratic template,

Adding layers along the road;

The foundation of a constitution

But one without a code,

One we have erected our rights upon,

One we’ve seen expand, sow, steal, erode,

Across times, under a mass of hands,

Now, time ticks like a bomb about to explode,

Shattering the security of millions,

 

During the aeon in which the clock tower stands

Have we ever known contempt like this?

MPs from six parties have raised the alarm

Because this goes beyond party politics,

Beyond any rebellion chief-whips could calm,

MPs being strong-armed with a fait accompli,

Denied the agreed legal information,

This contempt, this duplicity, this deceit

Would make not only any EU negotiation

A total mockery, it achieves the feet

Of ridiculing democratic and diplomatic relations,

 

Three times in an hour the proposed deal met defeat,

And so, amidst the conceit, disorder and disrespect

A seed on the winds of consternation;

A rebellion against the corruption of condescension

As the threads of democracy held on

Despite the government taking contempt

To an unprecedented dimension

In the debates of what makes Britain,

 

And Big Ben beats on,

And one day this too will be written;

The racism of some won’t be hidden;

The blinkeredness, short-termism,

Fear, isolationism that makes us alien

To each other and ourselves,

The panic buys, the empty shelves

Will fill tomorrow’s archives,

 

But the story is not yet finished

Our nation’s future can survive

As long as influencers don’t forget

The final draft is not complete,

What will historians ascertain

About this world-shifting week?

 

If we do not bow to contempt

That confuses authoritarian

With authoritative –

If principles don’t break under the strain

Of the rigid and didactic,

 

Almost half we voters voted to remain

And the sane who didn’t

Still did not vote for this.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

 

48% · Democracy · General · Remain

The Poisoned Cup

Passing the poisoned cup

One prime minister resigned,

Another crowned by tearing up

The security of Northern Ireland,

When Tory seats were not enough

To form a near-valid government,

 

The purulent chalice passes

Hand to hand, mouth to mouth,

As we hear gunfire in Alsace;

Blood on the streets of Strasburg

Where sits the EU parliament,

 

December, in Westminster Palace

The cabinet creates an adjournment

As their Brexit deal is met with malice,

Thus, the cup holder made the judgment

To postpone the parliamentary ballot

Until all debate becomes redundant,

In the hope MPs do what they are told

When later, a decision is even more urgent,

As if it was this or watch the world implode,

They say this really is the best Brexit,

Brim full of bitterness that corrodes

It’s Brexit itself a ‘no’ vote may prevent,

The grim fairy-tale half the UK was sold

Cannot manifest; it has no substance,

You can’t cross a rainbow for a pot of gold,

 

So, the PM makes deferments to quell insurgence

And, far more worryingly, to defeat debate,

Employing the terror and the turbulence

So, she can later say it is too late

To heed the union’s fate

Or the Good Friday Peace Agreement,

Using the fear of further delays

To rally support for this form

Of European abandonment,

That the continent views as

Foolish arrogance and scorn;

A circus of self-indulgence

As hardliner Brexiteers suffer from

Cognitive dissonance

At the death of their candyfloss unicorn,

 

Millions watch as Andy Serkis

Does his impression of Gollum

As May guarding her “precious”;

A dark pact become obsession

As ordinary people pay the cost,

She is not a lone politician –

But she is the cabinet’s boss,

 

This is perilous,

We would have been better off

If we had never taken this road,

Flattening the atlas,

Turning princes into desiccated toads,

Pulling down the Corona Borealis

To claim the constellations as our own,

 

Here in London,

A noose is carried at the crossroads,

What has our referendum imparted?

 

Parliament was not yet open

Before negotiations started,

Then, in the Commons, the withholding

Of vital legal documents;

Then, despite our constitution’s lack of coding,

The government found in contempt

Of its house in the attempt

To push through the deal

The vast majority resent,

Triggering calls

For a vote of no confidence

Which saves the premier from herself,

Giving a mass to her insistence,

While shedding doubt upon the doubts

About her proposed agreement,

They do not vote her out,

If they had, what then?

 

The limits of the entire cabinet

Fall on the shoulders of one woman

Who took up the festering goblet,

If the task passed to the fluff-headed man

To carry out his harsher-edged Brexit plan,

What then?

The Tory’s, faced with that deterrent,

Given assurance of May’s pre-term abdication,

Left her in power, merely weakened,

In committee room fourteen

They cheered the outcome,

But the PMs support remains slim,

 

This is not on the head of one human

But there will be an awesome reckoning

For all when all the posturing is done,

 

Will there be another election?

Or a second referendum

To hear the people speaking?

 

For Remainers, these were among

The many reasons for not leaving,

Forewarned and foreseen outcomes,

Beyond all the proposed tweaking

In every EU meeting,

For we are no longer the pater of imperialism

And this won’t alter by self-deceiving,

We cannot be lead by wistfulness, surrealism,

Or chest-thumping bleating,

 

This failure was set by the result of the referendum,

The dice thrown in June 2016,

The choice made was ever a loaded gun,

 

One thing is clear,

The 48% are no longer sovereign,

We are lost in this decision;

The representatives I see

No longer represent me,

 

As a lifelong British citizen

I grieve for my ailing country,

This broken union for our children,

The open gates of poverty

Bigotry and community division,

Bringing betrayal of heritage, ancestry

And lives yet to come,

 

If the Brexit of a small section

Of the half that won a victory

By two percent,

Continues, facilitated by

An administration with a weak mandate

And a disordered opposition,

Then any reclaimed sovereignty is fake;

A toxic proposition

Whose cuts will cut more deeply,

 

Future generations

Will blame all British, communally,

And we won’t be able to save them

From the poisoned cup we gave them.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

 

Culture · Democracy · General

Without Representation

Tax without representation equals tyranny;

This was a grievance in the seventeen-sixties

Across thirteen American Colonies

Whose governance came from across seas,

Remote, unresponsive to necessities

They could not heed, and so cried liberty,

For to pay yet be muzzled is to suffer cruelty,

 

This became a seed of the revolution;

For tax must be money taken from citizens

For the betterment of community and nation

Not a cyphering or selective elevation

Of one group requiring others’ humiliation,

 

To take taxes from persons with zero say

In how their money’s used is autocracy;

An absolutism keeping justice at bay

Until people cried, “We won’t pay

To have our voice or home taken away,

We won’t subsidise being silenced.”

 

Later, in another century, women cried this too;

Or at least the wealthy, unmarried or widowed

Women with means, numbering only a few,

Less than four decades since wedded women knew

The right to own any property or money; to accrue

Or keep inheritance or wages, never mind a view,

 

But although they had no say in how it was spent

They were legally bound to pay tax to a Parliament,

That might as well have been on another continent

For how much it heard, saw or represented them

Or any women, for it was a male ego Bastian

That sought to retain unilateral male dominance,

Where men owned wives’ bodies, owned children,

Where women’s sole fortune was a kind man,

Where the death of a cruel one was petty treason,

Where women were thought to have no sense or reason,

 

Those times are (mostly) gone,

In many but not all ways

We have moved on,

In others the patterns replay

On and on and on,

 

And yet always there is disenfranchisement;

Subjugation, marginalisation recurrent

For those who cannot vote for their government

But must pay taxes, amongst these are migrants

Who work and pay their way yet are censured

And scapegoated, all successes thrice earned

In economic downturn, less guarded by laws,

 

My thinking friends, take into consideration

Those with no vote still subject to taxation;

For those with no parliamentary representation

Are those who suffer the worst discrimination;

 

For policies are built for those who may elect

And those most represented get most respect,

 

So, when the powerful blame migrants again

Know it’s because politicians can cast blame

And shame on those with other national origins

Because at election time MPs only have to win

The approval of born or chosen British citizens,

 

It is the same with young people

Who may have sex, go into battle,

Be taxed, labour, work and toil

Years before their opinion counts at all

To those who’d label them criminal,

 

Tax but no vote from age sixteen

Then under-represented and side-lined

By those who chose to demean,

 

If you are white, male, heterosexual,

Born here, still fully abled,

Born well off, aligned to the sex assigned

At birth and forty or more

Then you are the ones they write policies for,

 

And, although this status quo is challenged

The more we are of this, the more we are privileged,

The more our likeness is, in Westminster, reflected,

The more our needs and interests are respected

And the more our right to thrive is protected,

 

But those who cannot elect or be elected

Still pay into the pot,

But when the going gets tough they’re neglected,

Their contribution denied, rights overlooked,

 

I look at anti-migrant rhetoric

Recalling slogans of regulators and suffragists,

All people just trying to live

Without being banished, alienated

Or slated for taking when they give,

The lies about them are practiced,

Expected, accepted, authoritative,

 

To those who believe them I ask them to think

About present and historic links

Between those who aren’t permitted a vote

And those in society who are scorned the most,

 

Because it is not democracy,

At times it smacks of tyranny,

It opens the gate to mockery,

Hate crimes, partiality, bigotry

 

And is a smoke screen shielding plutocracy;

A version of this played out in ancient Greece,

And to those who say it’s always been like this

I’d say we create more damage when we believe

Authorities when they accuse voteless minorities

And under-represented communities,

It is divide and rule policy based on demography,

Truth is more complex and harder to retrieve

When a nation enables its leaders to deceive

Then buys the bullshit on Brexit and votes ‘leave’.

Culture · General · Remain

The Breakers

 

 

Breakers tall, rollers grave,

Catch you a living on the wave

They said another owns the sea

But the brine has her own currency,

No matter the rule, the plan or crown

This is the lore of the coastal town,

 

For those who would re-map the drink

Know she’ll not yield to paper or ink,

But yet, think on docks and fisheries

Too often bought to the brink,

Upon these rocks, communities;

It is these we worry may sink,

 

Do not sing -white horses’ lullabies

To those who know a mermaid’s ditty,

Beware closed ports and borderlines

Where swirling shoals have authority.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

 

For my beloved Cornwall & Devon and all the United Kingdom’s coastal towns. It is fair to say many already feel overlooked by the UK and other governments’ dealings at home and overseas on behalf of the fisheries. Brexit will create further challenges for many of these communities who depend on trading between countries through open ports, busy docks, and accessible waters.

Democracy · General

Goatskin

 

Writ on goatskin?

A tissue of lies,

Deals unknit

Before ink dries,

The absent crown

Still not her coronet

During lawless days

We won’t forget,

No kind heart sweats,

Sweats as vile pacts made,

No sweets at the palisade

Drafts delayed, rejected,

Remade, re-inspected,

Hush, do not speak it;

That untaken truth;

We do not have a government,

Wet ink gives no proof.

 

Now without opening

She spins, spins into

A longer stride,

Poison chalice at her side,

To bypass the beginning,

Towers falling, burning

The sepulcher is rolling,

We have a speaker

Yet no plans for them to speak

But broken lines intoning,

Hush, do not say it;

The lie “Secure and stable”,

We do not have a government

Just unsigned deals upon the table,

Unspoken, mandate unratified,

Parliamentary debate denied

Until the ink inscribed is dry

So we may examine the hide.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

 

This was written after the last election, which was a farce. It centers around an arcane piece of British law that involves writing on goatskin. Before this had been done and before the Queen had opened parliament, therefore allowing MPs to debate, deals were apparently already being made to further the Brexit mission. During that period it can be argued we effectively had no legally recognised government and definitely not one in which all our elected representatives had a voice. Disturbingly, a deal made between the Conservative Party and Northern Ireland’s DUP in order to get enough seats to legally form a government threatens the Good Friday Agreement and peace in Northern Ireland.

Broken Union

General · Remain

My NHS

i laugh at falling;

so i laugh often,

my spirit strong,

my body broken,

my breathing,

my movement

dependant on medicines,

that may not make it through

with a bad Brexit or a no deal,

i have specific needs for food,

i fear their obstruction on route

as blockades slow the turning of the wheel,

and prices rise with extra duties,

the threat to the chronically ill, the elderly

and those labeled disabled is all too real,

i have lived with disabilities

for nearly four decades,

but extra barriers disabled me

in unspeakable ways,

there are millions reliant on meds, like me,

those with asthma or diabetes,

melanoma, DVT,

depression and anxiety –

the conditions are plenty

and so must be the treatments

for all of us

from a health service

free for ALL at the point of delivery;

The NHS.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

 

 

 

Democracy · General · Remain

Lullaby to Democracy; 3,500 Troops

Broken UnionLullaby to democracy,

3,500 troops,

Germany in the 1930s

Or Britain very soon?

 

The menace of martial law

Is the opposite of sovereignty

As we close the door

On civil liberties,

 

Like the right to protest,

Did any soldier join the military

To enforce this mess; this chaos

Or to carry their guns in our cities?

 

Young soldiers could not believe

We could conceive of this,

For the 52%, most of them deceived,

Who went to the ballot box

And voted to leave,

 

This is a ticking bomb, set

By our undemocratic government,

Who are using our military as a threat,

To push forward a dangerous agreement;

The clock ticking on a month’s postponement

In which they’ve gagged the rest of parliament,

 

“Quick, quick,”

The cabinet say,

Tick, Tock, Tick,

As time races away

On the fuse they lit,

 

Silencing calls for a people’s vote

As the populace turns against Brexit

And the government says “No”

To us choosing not to exit.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

Democracy · Festive Protest Songs · General · Remain

Better Watch Out

This one is written in the horror of knowing a homeless person was set on fire in their sleeping bag in our city. It is part of a wave of rising abuse. I wrote the song to the tune of ‘Santa Clause is Coming to Town’ – I’ve always found the original words a bit sinister. I’m aware the verse would scan better if I’d written ‘The Alt Right’ instead of Far-Righters but I don’t see them as ‘alternative’.  This poem comes with strong trigger warnings.

 

You better watch out, you better not cry
Don’t sit this one out, I’m telling you why, cause
Far-righters are coming to town
They bankrolled Brexit, spreading its worst lies
They’ve got no reason or alibis, cause
Far-righters are coming to town

They burn homeless men while sleeping
Then record it all on tape
They’re terrorising neighbourhoods
With their mates the KKK!

 

[Chorus]
You better watch out, you better not cry
Don’t sit this one out, I’m telling you why, cause
Far-righters are coming to town.


We’re gonna resist with all of our might
Cause we still believe in the worth of each life,

But far-righters are coming to town.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

48% · Culture · Democracy · General · Remain

Windrush

This one’s for citizens who came on ‘Windrush’;

The generations that generated renewal

During and after the war, first dying in service,

Then more came to help rebuild, refuel,

Re-spark, here at the birth of the NHS,

Facing xenophobes, teddy boys, racists,

 

Yet ‘they’ are not ‘them’ but part of us,

Bought from across the Commonwealth,

And now, how can we expect their exodus?

It seems like ethnic cleansing by stealth,

Where history is bleached out; whitewashed

Until a nation perverts and destroys itself,

 

Every single Britain is a child of multiple migrations;

Our ancestors came in need, greed, fight or trade

Through millennia of voluntary or enforced relocations;

By discovery, captivity, by each road built, each stone laid,

Windrushers are the same, they came by invitation

Not by blade, treated as if the latest to invade,

Despite being part of our heartbeat, post devastation

In a shell-shocked, rationed kingdom, so we began again,

 

How soon civil rights, so hard won, seem stolen away;

As memories fade, bigotry plays on a loop, ingrained

But not innate, division is not fate but a kind of decay;

A deep rot that sets in when instability reigns,

We less aware of our internal struggles than the USA,

Of the grit it must have taken for Windrushers to stay,

Make this the land of their children’s, children’s, children,

When racism was not recognised as the crime it is today

And race riots began in Birmingham, Kensington, Brixton,

 

Many black citizens couldn’t vote or have their say

Until the British Nationality Act of 1981,

Yet black and ethnic minorities continued on, unfazed,

Discrimination was further written into institutions

Over decades bias lost battles, but was never erased,

Prejudice a virus, sometimes contained, rarely gone,

Now, in a separatist world, white-supremacist crusades

Are launched by government; an act of extremism,

A fictional homegrown enemy, House of Commons made;

Ministers like missiles misfiring, misdirected missions

Against longstanding citizens, a bill that spits on graves

Of war heroes, workers, scholars, in bloody amputations

Treating pioneers and entrepreneurs like discarded slaves,

 

These inhabitants who have enriched all known occupations,

These families, this part of our communally nourished culture;

Part of the whole, of ourselves, amid dire Brexit negotiations

These tax-payers now among those described as ‘the other’,

Look Britain, see how many are subject to alienation

Let’s ask ourselves this, do we want a fascist future;

A future of white-centric, little Island isolation?

Commonwealth nations once gathered to deter

A powerful regime of murderous oppression,

Beside world-wide allies, enduring together,

 

Then, with past foes, we birthed new protections

For peace and human dignities for many, forever,

Now, while many gains are squandered by negation

We open doors wide to every antique phobia;

To radical cultural and racial discriminations,

Alongside nationalistic anti-European patter,

And blinkered, blanket anti-immigration,

Irrational rhetoric, as fat cats get fatter,

Fed by rising injustices and violations,

Hidden by resulting clamour and chatter

Racists take advantage of mass confusion,

 

We forget yet again that black lives matter,

Backing people into traps of self-justification

As they are forced once more to strive

For all covered by the human rights declaration;

Home, country, community all potentially denied,

Policies of exclusion contrive new manifestations,

As if for some it is a crime to simply be alive,

We needed Windrush to swell a ravaged population,

Against the odds, they and their descendants thrived,

Yet they’re deprived of protections of patriation

As if being punished because they survived.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

Culture · General · Personal

Inspirational Songs

Hi All,

Hope you’re keeping warm and safe. This post is a bit different to my others. I wanted to share some of the songs and artists that keep me going. One of my earlier posts; Brexit Playlist is a poem that references some of the music I listen to when I feel angry about what is happening in the UK and around the world. This collection is different – only uplifting melodies and songs of hope and unity. It makes me happy to think it might put a smile on some of your faces. There are links to videos on YouTube. So, here goes:

General · Personal

In the Air

 

 

8am,

The grieving wind

And sirens in the air,

An icy 18th of December,

The future forecast

Still nebulous; unclear

As destitution stings

The atmosphere

And each gust calls

Like an anguished mother,

Where do we go from here?

 

Then, through the thin walls,

The chimes of a child’s laughter

And my heart hurdles to my throat

In that breath and beat of hope.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

Democracy · General

les gilets jaunes

 

 

It starts as a quiet revolution

In bright jackets; les gilets jaunes

dissenting escalating taxation

overseen by President Macron,

 

they took to the streets

in yellow vests, to protest

tax breaks for the very rich,

and broken by tax for the rest,

 

so, France took to her feet,

a woman spoke of solidarity

where all faiths and cultures meet,

supporters included the police,

 

they gathered to talk and eat;

lifted out of their despair

by friends they never thought to meet

and change you could taste in the air,

 

but then the riots,

attacking people’s cars,

homes, small businesses –

a few people gone way too far

as the world witnesses

 

and the peaceful gilet jaunes

say the violent are not ours

and now police have batons

and the night is full of fire,

 

and then the man with a gun

in Strasburg Christmas market,

not one of the gillet jaunes;

the gunman called ‘Algerian terrorist’

 

on the television

in world media release,

all we know for certain

is the death of innocents,

 

a murderer; a chaotic, cold assassin

who broke lives and prayers of peace,

and the gillet jaunes forced to stay in

at the military presence speedy increase,

 

but they cannot find him;

every security service

seeks a known man on the run

and, for now, the yellow vests

go home until the mourning’s done.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

 

(a poem of solidarity across borders. I’m still European as well as British)

48% · Culture · General · Personal

Brexit Playlist

 

This is my playlist

For the farce of Brexit;

Illusion, by VNV nation

From the album ‘Judgement’,

Momentum, Song of Return,

From the Trajectory EP

The Writing’s on the Wall

By Sam Smith,

Under Pressure by Queen & Bowie,

Then Thunder by The Prodigy

From the album ‘Invaders Must Die,’

Mixed with a little Prey

From The Neighbourhood,

Both of which seem now to be policy,

So I play Some Kind of Joke

Courtesy of AWOLNATION,

Destroy Everything You Touch

By Ladytron – the end –

Of Disk One,

 

My playlist for Brexit continues

With AfroCelt Sound System’s

‘Dark Moon, High Tide,’

Imagine Dragon’s Battle Cry,

Renegades by X-Ambassadors

And Time is Running Out by Muse,

Their Supermassive Black Hole,

And a little I Feel it All by Fiest,

Sleep to Dream by Fiona Apple,

Pompei, and Blame by Bastille’s

Album, Wild World,

Invisible Empire, KT Turnstall,

Grey Days by Chelsea Wolfe,

From her Abyss Collection,

And The Wrong Direction

By Passenger,

(By this point, I’ve cranked the volume

Up much louder, )

Then Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

We No Who U Are,

And Lauren Aquilina’s Wild Fire

From the album Liars.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

General · Remain

Johnson & Drones

Johnson and drones,

Johnson and drones,

Is the UK overcome

By Johnson and drones?

 

Is political opportunism

To him more important

As he plays the heir apparent?

Is our economy a tributary

To his own ambition

 

Does he stand by his decision

As more than a play for popularity?

He treats our neighbours with derision

Blaming them for gross disparity

 

Whilst widening cracks of division,

Truth, it seems, is used with frugality,

Employed only under certain conditions;

Seen as secondary to telling a story,

 

Johnson and drones, Johnson and drones,

When others regard this century,

Evaluating what we’ve become,

Your name may be unknown

But these actions ripple eternally

As descendants ask what we have done.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

48% · Democracy · General

Shoes?

 

 

Britain snickers through deep Brexit blues,

As the unelected bows to the unelected,

A divided nation, half of us did not choose

Any farcical cabal’s anti-migrant objective,

Those with least even more likely to lose

To every elite tax-haven collective,

From democracy, we are so far removed,

That we abandon any political perspective

To obsess about the new PM’s shoes,

Not the trampled rights of the unprotected,

Media spins our views with soundbite news

As if the world will be most avidly affected,

Not by policy, prejudice, deception or misuse

But by the footwear a woman has selected.

 

Antonia Zenkevitch

(This one was written – and first shared on other media – just after the 2016 referendum when May took over after our previous PM resigned.)

48% · Culture · Democracy · Festive Protest Songs · General · Remain

Fa La La; a protest to ‘Deck the Halls’

PM singing Yuletide carols,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
While the UK is in peril,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
MPs don their best apparel
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
Postponing this vote is immoral,
Fa la la la la, la la la la,

See the blazing deal before us,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
Nothing in it will assure us,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
Not much time now, can you measure
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
How all this stalling cranks up pressure?
Fa la la la la, la la la la,

Fast away now, each chance passes
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
Hail Brexiteers that act like asses,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
Hear the far-right loonies gather,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
Xenophobic, racist chatter,
Fa la la la la, la la la la

Yet, gather now all ye Remainers,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
Our sense of union may sustain us,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
Stand for your values, stand by neighbours,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
Don’t let the lies and hatred blind us,
Fa la la la la, la la la la,

A people’s vote would re-engage us,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
Or vote the deal down, burn the pages,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
If it’s the best deal, Brexit’s failed us,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
There is too much that it endangers,
Fa la la la la, la la la la,

We will protect what we most treasure,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
Whatever happens stick together,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
And keep warm in the frosty weather,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
Yes, keep warm in the frosty weather,
Fa la la la la, la la la la,
Fa la la la la, la la la la!


by Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

(Song to the tune of ‘Deck the Halls’)
48% · Culture · General

I Love Britain

 

 

I love Britain,

I love British tradition,

The cuppa that heals everything,

From an Asian plantation,

Sweetened by sugar from African

Or South American origin,

 

I love Britain,

I love British tradition,

Curry, pizza or kebab

Welcomes our weekend in,

Making hearts glad

With beer from Belgium

Or wine from many lands

 

As we watch Strictly Come Dancing

With multi-national contestants

Pairing, befriending, competing

For the nation’s entertainment,

 

This is Britain,

This is British tradition,

Mutual international influence,

Yet idiosyncratic, different,

Built by eons of immigrants,

Like an ancient Scottish clan

With ancestry from France

Or Gaul, Scandinavia, and Ireland,

 

And yes, we must support

Local businesses when we can,

Like the British institution, Betty’s,

A Yorkshire tea room

Started by a man from Switzerland,

 

Yes, we need good local economies,

The world has limits to how we expand,

Supporting diverse, local communities

Doesn’t require any racist grandstand,

Just choosing small and medium enterprises,

When we can, makes a massive difference,

 

I often hear about the Battle of Britain,

One of our chronicles of World War Two,

In which our forebears defended freedom;

Fought off fascism, kept our cool,

 

Many of our pilots came from Poland,

A fact too few British people knew,

Like Gurkhas who helped guard our islands

And Caribbean kin who came to the rescue

from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago …

To protect, help feed and rebuild too,

Joining a multitude of homegrown heroes,

All of whom I feel I owe my life to,

 

I love Britain,

I love British tradition,

English, a tongue to many nations

By friendship or by trade,

Imperialism and crusade;

The world map changed by past decisions,

Bright discoveries, grim slave trade

And controversial Christian missions,

A full mix in which Britain stole and gave,

 

We bade the world come in

Because we were built by empire,

Our culture of symbiotic derivation

Forged by families who’ve walked through fire,

 

Britain, my nation, who I love and question,

For there are histories that pain me

And facts glossed over, side-lined or forgotten,

Our stories are often written to deny diversity,

The lie that we were all white ‘til recent generations

Is typical to a certain kind of British duplicity,

The best of us is not reflected by Nelson’s Column,

 

Ask who built the streets and towers of our cities

For they came from everywhere and here,

Ask who harvested this spring’s British strawberries,

The same answer booms out loud and clear,

 

I love Britain,

I love British tradition

But too often we’ve no idea

Who we are.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch