We will remember

Rupert Brooke

The Soldier

IF I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by the suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

 

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Taking refuge

 

A cello weeps through the closing
door and I can leave.  I flag down the bus,
don’t look  up when the Polish driver
makes a joke I  barely hear.
I sit alone, with everything crossed,
in an inconspicuous seat,
watching a single drop of rain
dribble a path beside me at this window.

Only then, do I look on the mouths
who move with notes so foreign
they would twist my tongue.
And on the chests who rise to steal
the very air that would fill my lungs.
And on the arms, which lift me,
cradle me and let me

rest.  The cello weeps beside
one thousand strings.  And
I float on your river of smiles
to find myself home.

 

This poem was inspired by a competition to write for the Proms season.  I listened to a lot of Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E minor to write this.  I don’t have a musical knowledge to fall back on -but I can still write in repsonse to music.

At the time, Brexit was in the news with the rhetoric of ‘them’ and ‘us’, whoever them and us were.  I couldn’t see it – all I saw were people, human beings, some with great lives, some with easy lives, but many with lives that they have that take a lot of juggling.   And then there are some with such tragic lives that it would be easy to turn from in fear that it might one day it might be your life too.

And yet sometimes those with those tragic lives of which we are afraid, have the most to share with others.

©Jacqui Thatcher 2016

(Image credit:  Mark Ramsay)