Culture · Democracy · General

Truths in the Rough

Exit?

Exit what?

Exit our co-creation?

Exit equals mass confusion;

Exit means shut,

Exit Brexit;

Exit

This closing;

This sealing up;

This opening to chauvinism

This echoed forgetfulness,

This separatism,

This

Whispered fascism;

Whispered near borders,

Whispered corners of reason,

Whispered desolation over

Whispered orders,

Whispered

Truths emerge,

Truths are heard,

Truths are complex things,

Truths beyond words;

Truths examine

Truths.

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 · 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

Democracy · Remain

Democracy

 

She keeps saying that word, ‘democracy’,

As if she kens in any way

What it truly means, or maps it meaningfully,

Thoughtfully into daily political routines,

Or sees it as her duty, or honours it duly,

Does she? Do we?

 

In the absence of a solid UK constitution

I took a butchers at the dictionary;

 

Let’s park the ultimate ‘democracy’ definition;

‘A system of government by the whole population,’

Across centuries this has been the high ambition

But in every recorded era and administration

There’ve been cordons limiting representation;

Defining our inner outcasts; inciting disunion,

 

So, let’s look at a more realistic take;

To include All eligible members of a state,

Usually via representatives elected –

That’s all of them; not just the cabinet –

Democracy seeks to be inspected,

It does not isolate, negate or delay debate,

Cross-party amendments must be respected

As is that near- impeachment moment

When parliament found May’s government

To be acting in contempt,

Many united voices on each backbench

Knocking on doors of The Prime Minister’s set

To ask her cabal where our democracy went,

 

But she treats such questions as undemocratic,

Yet it’s her clique that fits inside that lens,

The irony is spiky, bitter, cutting, tragic,

For it is a torn flag May says she defends

And her hands have helped to tear its fabric,

A borderline result in the EU referendum,

Gross exaggeration of marginal statistics;

It was always a blatant overstatement

To say Britain voted for this Brexit –

The difference of a couple of percent,

Most of whom voted ‘leave’ due to deceit,

Buying into lies of the Brexiteer campaign –

The same people she now calls colleagues,

Is it democracy or deception they’d see reign;

Ideally, one requires the other’s defeat,

 

Instead, a failed attempt at self-coronation –

The expectation entirely unrealistic,

This weakened any credibility for her position

As she undermined terms of a peace agreement

To abandon neutrality for a near-coalition

With one side of Northern Ireland’s dialectic,

Setting the nation up for renewed collisions,

All this to get enough seats for a slim majority;

To fain enough support for her to govern,

Northern Ireland’s needs still not a priority,

 

Calls for votes of no confidence since then,

The first, directed at her, by her own party,

Went to a ballot she won narrowly,

Oh yes, a half-hearted mutter from Corbyn

Was fairly shamelessly deflected –

He, seemingly most interested

In whether Labour could win,

Only requested parliament contested

May’s place at the helm,

 

Later came calls from the other opposition;

The ignored, united smaller parties

Disillusioned by her flailing, high-handed regime,

Yet still, May continues her didactic addresses

As if all were there to rubber stamp her scheme,

This is not why any of them were elected;

To say she shields democracy would be obscene,

 

‘Democratic’ has become a word infected,

Made submissive for assumed power to lean on,

The word shouted as an order or directive

By those who wish to guard their own dominion;

Their grasp of the term is defective,

 

What about ‘social equality’ as a working definition?

Um, I can safely say they’re failing that one –

Policies stirring frustration, fear, suspicion,

While abandoning pledges to abused women,

More people than before feeling alienation

As we see homelessness break all proportions

Amid cuts to vital services, wages, and occupations,

Crime soars as they cut back on police divisions,

As the cost of living rises to beat inflamed inflation,

 

The Sausage Song was Christmas no. one,

Raising funds to help feed hungry millions,

Those facing starvation include children,

So, topping the charts is positive direct action

Not by our government, but by the population.

 

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% · General · Remain

Brexit Sucks

 

 

British Union is now also under threat,

Reneges on pledges by our government,

Economic isolation and collapse predicted,

Xenophobes in power left us all conflicted,

Idiocy and recklessness sold as a solution,

Totalitarianism risks; no real constitution,

 

Senselessness seems to rule the rulers of the hour,

United across borders, people had more power,

Corporate privatisation of services we fought for –

Killing our NHS and schools, yet we pay even more,

Spin, misdirection and lies, with ruin at the core.

 

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

(written and first shared in the lead up to the referendum 2016)

48% · Democracy · General · Personal · Remain

One of the Underground Union

Hello All,

Welcome to a poetry site dedicated to the 48% of the UK who voted ‘Remain’ in 2016 and still believe and to the EU and world citizens who are too often scapegoated by politicians simply because they cannot vote, so are an easy target. Likewise, it is dedicated to those who were too young to vote for the shape of their futures.  If you voted ‘leave’ but radically changed your mind you are just as welcome, though may find one or two of my poems triggering.

I was heavily involved in politics up until a few years ago and have always been a bit of a writer and poet. I live with a complex collection of disabilities which make going on marches for me presently out of the question. This is my march.

Feel free to share. Please excuse the fact some comments are closed, I’m simply protecting myself from abuse from the few those who use the small Brexit majority as an excuse for all kinds of extremism and hate. (A few times bitten, you learn that lesson.)

I hope you enjoy the poems. Even more importantly I hope you, whoever you are and where-ever you come from, find the best way through this political chaos for you and all you care about. Remember, we’re still stronger together and you are not alone.

Antonia