Robert Richard Rollins –
I was born nineteen thirty-four –
struggled with the name –
He worried out loud
that he’d forget
As he was wheeled –
backwards for ease –
he again apologised
so profusely to the nurse
for his failure to recall
I forget names –
the consultant …
Her story will be lost
by this time tomorrow –
Rosmery Caal Maquin –
even one so sweet –
many names for one
And no memorial –
except a wall –
will ever be raised
by any state
to the first life lost
in Trump’s own war
A child – just seven –
in his custody – gone –
whilst his ugly patrols
pour water and scorn –
their cruel acts posted –
They will soon take command
of the scattered pill boxes –
those red brick squatters
sat above river crossings –
built for strategic purposes –
and to fool the nescient
of a Maginot Line in England –
to withstand our invasion
There will be working parties
to restore the squat outposts –
drinking tea and sipping gin
as the last of Locarno evaporates
The new guard will take to parades
under friendly church hall beams –
taught to guide the landing parties
into concentration camps in Kent –
and you will shift the weight of anger
by reposting others’ indignant shouts
from your padded cell of social media –
which is how all of this begins
The singing whale
sang canary song
in the river of kings
Almost a portent –
a white flag of truce –
dipping and guiding
her head by the moon
There will be a dinghy
to greet the creature –
to check her origins
and to refuse a visa
We know too well
that her journey will fail –
in that dead end course
taken by other whales
Reduce the Brits – take away their tea –
and Jaguar – Mini – and Wedgwood pottery –
All sold off – the last of British treasures –
what’s now left to make Britain special?
The Great British dinner – battered fish and chips?
Actually a recipe from Jewish immigrants –
The gold we hold in the Bank of England?
No – it’s ‘ta’ to Huguenots for banking millions –
Ah – nothing more Albion than our ancient royals?
Nein – migrant blue blood now long-despoiled –
But Punch ‘n’ Judy – that traditional beach farce?
Alas Italian – their commedia dell’arte –
OK – Saint George – a true Sainted Brit?
No – a Syrian son – with a dragon – illlegit –
Right – polo – how English – on the lawns of Windsor?
Sadly for you from the dusty kingdom of Persia –
That mothers’ ruin poured from gin distilleries?
Been shipped in barrels from overseas –
Pigeon racing – ’tis Northern – an ‘Oop-North’ fancy?
Nay lad – flown in by Belgian bird-loving royalty –
The Womens’ Institute – cake and Englishness?
Sorry – Canada made it and Wales repossessed –
That well-mannered bear – who as kids we well knew?
Ah – even Paddington Bear is a foreigner too –
This country of confusions – imports and invention –
is at its British best when admitting immigration