IN THIS LAND

@KaremIBarratt

Dedicated to the victims of Manchester and all the Britons affected by terrorism

Union-Jack

In this land of green valleys,

In this land of white faces,

And yellow and brown and

Pink and black, and hundreds

Of tongues, singing like birds

The stories of journeys that

Ended in this home,

In this land of tea and beer

And pubs, and curry and pizza

And sweet and sour pork, of

May poles and Chinese New Years,

In this land of bangles and boots

And flouncy dresses and green tattoos,

In this land of discontent at times

And silly football fights,

Of bookers and charity volunteers,

Of summer festivals in the mud

And druids around the Tor

And scientists writing their quantum

Music of the spheres, and robot and

Man muscling together to create a car

A train, a super plane, soon a rocket

To reach the heights where the stars

Of yore inspired a pen to call a boy Romeo

And his girlfriend Juliet,

In this land that feels as old as time

And yet so new, where it takes a walk

Or two to find a cow or a sheep on

The borders of steel and brick cities.

In this land when some have it good

And some quite not so, in this

Land where no politician is ever

Taintless and we can argue for ages

About left and right, in this land

When sometimes the shadow of

Hatred sneaks between the roses,

In this land we look and talk and think

And hope so differently, yet alike.

In this land, there is no fear.

For time and time again

Those who tried and failed

And those who tried and hurt,

Have found that, in this land,

We take crap from no one,

Not even our petite selves,

When it comes to stand together

And defend this land of grace.

And we will weep for our children

And young and old, killed cowardly

By a freak with a bomb, an assassin with a car,

An idiot with a machine gun on a Turkish beach,

A traitor with a knife.

We will weep and cry and pray, if pray

If what we do. We will hold each other

And hug a stranger. Light candles in

City centres and lay stuffed elephants

And pink hippos on a carpet of flowers

On the middle of the street. And we will

Remember, but never give in.

Not once shall we give up

That which make us unique:

The values forged by millennia of

People coming together from every

Corner of the world. And of all

The names we are called, United and

Great are engraved in the centre

Of a core, wherever we have been

Britons by birth or by choice, by a

Lineage extending 20 generations or

By a grandpa that came 30 years ago,

Seeking the British dream.

And in this land, our land,

Some of us will take our tea

And some of us will celebrate Ramadan,

And some instead of quiz night will

Hold Salsa nights.

And we’ll remember our dead children,

In this land.

And our mums and dads taken away

In an act of senseless rage and pseudo-revenge.

But in this land, we stand together, come what may.

And no matter the storm or the violence

Or the threat of the fear,

Together we will keep this land great,

United in a cheer, a beacon of freedom and

Hope and peace and beauty and innovation.

For we are Brits and when we fall, we

Breathe, we swear, we shed a tear, we dust off  our knees,

Get up, stand tall. And  then we go and carry on.

 

 

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Dear Ukrainian Friend

@KaremIBarratt

 

Ukrania Venezuela

 

Dear Ukrainian friend whom I never met,

I want to apologize for what I never did.

For those days of darkness when

Your roof tops where nest for snipers,

Hunting your youth and your elders.

Those days when you when out to fight

Armed with make shift shields, bicycle

Helmets and baseball bats, to return the

Bombs, the gas, perhaps the fear.

I bet you posted pictures on Facebook,

Showing the bravery and the blood,

The face of your friend, now gone,

The granny running holding hands

With a boy she never met before.

I bet you told the world in tweeter

And Instagram what was going on,

You reported, you showed, you screamed

You beg for a minute of air time,

Because the suffering of your people

Was more important than the fate

Of the poodles of a movie star.

It took time for the world to notice.

It took longer for it to care.

Perhaps I saw one of your pictures

And just scroll down, because my day

Was sunny or maybe just too

Cloudy and you and your people

Were neither my circus nor my clowns.

I’m sorry.

I am so, truly sorry.

If I weren’t brown my face would

Go red with shame.

I understand now your frustration

Of those days, the feeling

Of crying in the wilderness of

A life too busy, too full, to stop

For anybody.

I guess when you think about it,

You kind of understand, don’t you?.

The world is so crazy and there are

So many things going on, all the time,

In all places, like if the fabric

Of time and space had ripped and

All the “heres” and all the “nows” have

Collided into a single point. Become

A singularity once more.

But it hurts, doesn’t it?

It hurts when your pleas,

when your explanations

When your story is met by silence.

Sometimes a sad emoji.

Rarely a “this so sad”.

And you are grateful for every

Crumb of compassion.

Your good side anyway.

Because what you want,

What you really want, is people

To scream with you, “this is bad, this

Is wrong, this is murder, make it stop!”

You want the political version of Green Peace

Telling the world that, you, potential

Polar bear, are about to die.

That the country you love and grew in

Is melting faster than any ice cap.

You want some brave photographer

To take a picture of you, alone, floating

In a flimsy sheet of ice in the middle

Of the sea. Maybe then they will

See it before is too late,

Before the purple rivers of blood

Flood the streets and you become

A horror story, like Syria and Uganda.

But I guess there is a quota of corpses

You got to pay before networks grant you a minute

Or two of their precious time. Before

They send their bravest journalists,

With their bull-proof vest and iron hats

To your corners, to the park where

You used to play, to the ruins that was

Once your school, to the hallow buildings

With ghostly eyes, to tell the world

About what when wrong, and how it

Got right.

Because it will get right.

Will it get right, my Ukrainian friend?

Does it get right for everyone at the end?

My silent war is at the north of the south

Of what was once the New World -but

It now feels so old, so crappy, kids dying daily

For something called freedom, something

They believe is worth dying for. Kids that have

Not known any world but this, of red tyranny

And false paternalism. But Father government

Has shown its teeth, long and sharp

And like and angry Saturn is devouring

Its offsprings. And yet they stand, still.

Steadfast. Going to their protest, their battle fields,

With their makeshift shields and flags,

And Grandma’s baking gloves to throw back the bombs.

Old and young. Resolute. Dying and falling.

But standing still. Not turning back.

And in my Facebook page, in my version

Of SOS and screams for help, of

Any kind, I get the odd comforting message,

A sad face here and there. And the silence,

The emptiness of that rectangle that

It’s supposed to be the mouth piece

For my friends, my acquaintances, those

Who care for me. And I never dislike

The colour white as much as I do now, looking

At the blank space created for non-comments.

It must have been like that for you

In those dark, scary days. I think

It was Banksy who said that people

Would watch anything with a kitten

In it, and painted a giant, cute one,

Over the wall of a destroyed home

Blown up by a war.

I am sorry I chose the kitten over you.

Or the flower, or the meme, or

The last joke, or the recipe of the pineapple cake.

I’m sorry if humanity, as a whole,

Did not stand by you until the very end.

By I am holding on to you,

My dear Ukrainian friend.

Holding to the hope against hope,

Holding to the dream that justice,

Like Morgan Freeman would probably say,

We will prevail. Venezuela will prevail.

The blood on the sidewalk will

Become the blood of a new day, a new born,

And all this pain, all this loss

Will not be for nothing.

 

Revelation

@KaremIBarratt

dragon fly 21

 

There was a boy at the pond,

Sitting quietly, lost in thought.

There was a sun ray at the pond,

Anchored to the water.

There was a cloud over the pond,

Engraving her ethereal self on

The still, innate well.

There was a dragon fly at the pond,

Catching rainbows with her wings.

There were rushes around the pond

Singing silences to the heart.

There was a sleeping puppy

At the pond, wrapped by

Flowers and grass.

There were pebbles by the pond,

Painted by dew and dust.

There was a curled leave on the pond,

Sailing softly into the eternity

Of the round cosmos that was now its home.

There was a perfume on the pond,

Lingering with essence of water and morning

And wild flowers and croaking frogs.

There was a beauty at the pond,

Made of child and wind and leave and dog,

And Art Nouveau dragon flies, and murmuring

Rushes and specks of light, and dancing flowers

With skirts of grass, and totem rocks,

And ethereal, cloudy mantles from above.

And I saw God.