The woke awake


A poem for today perhaps: On recalling Shakespeare’s King John
whilst standing on the beach at Pett Level, looking out to sea

Are we British enough to make Great Britain great again?
Do we dare think ourselves to trust our institutions,
Honed over centuries for our sure governance?
Or shall we overthrow all order, all received inheritance
That made our country great?

For hundred years we’ve welcomed to our shores
The dispossessed, the homeless and the weak –
They have enriched our blood, made here their home.
Now they are part of us and we of them to such extent
We doubt us who we are or where we stand.

We all are immigrants yet; Norman, Saxon, Jute,
We have learned to love our British soil.
Without such love, worthless are our dreams,
Discordant our commonwealth
And forsworn our love of peace.

With social justice, might we sit easy with ourselves,
Embrace each other nation and hold heads high
As founding heirs of European culture;
Yet thank fair Providence that has granted us
The form and character of an island,
Set in a silver sea.

Image Credits: Kenneth Bird .

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