Neu! Post-Truth Poetics DAY FIFTY – Joan Hewitt

Small European poem with limited natural resources

                     after Garcia Lorca

Driving through Cumbria past the aching green
of trees      oak, ash and hazel

Verde, que te quiero verde
Green, how I love you green

Past green meadows     bright
with ox-eye daisy, buttercup and briar rose

verde viento       green wind
verde ramas       green branches      

But today it’s hard to love you, green
with the radio reporting a rise in anti-Jewish crime

European workers told they have no right
to stay here     our promise

to take unaccompanied child refugees
from Syria       broken

so we will  be  an island once again
one pulling itself apart furiously

and fast.     I slow down
in the green shadows of the lane

an old cyclist in black and orange lycra
has dismounted     he bends towards

the hedgerow’s lowest green      Wild strawberries!
cramming them with both hands in his mouth

as if they were his heritage   not enough
for everyone       we are out for ourselves!

The radio won’t stop      Go back messages
smeared in shit     are falling

on the doormats of Polish homes
a Spanish school in London has Foreign pack

scrawled over its door     people are saying
we want our country back.

I stop the car beside the grey-green lake.
O, beautiful green unpleasant land

open the poem’s border      to ghosts
to Lorca, shot in ’36 by government agents

for being socialist and gay      to Jo Cox,
shot and stabbed     for voting to Remain.  

Verde, ya que no te quiero verde
Green, I can no longer love you, green.

The sun has dropped behind the hill.
The lake is blackening beneath a single swan.

 

Joan Hewitt, Tynemouth, retired from EFL university teaching, finds that organising and fulminating against austerity leech from time needed for sea-wading and assembling her second collection (the first was entitled Missing the Eclipse (Cinnamon, 2008). Deadlines from anthology editors are useful correctives to her state of chassis.

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