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.