I don't usually write a lot of capital P Political poetry. But, as part of my solicitation of subjects for poem commissions, the very lovely Trevor Wright suggested that I write a poem about a fence. It ended up going a bit political. (Or a lot political really.) And a bit anti-Brexit.
And long. Really really long. I reckon it's only a first draft, but let me know what you think.
When marking out the land you own
It makes a lot of sense
To purchase and construct yourself
A lovely sturdy fence.
See, hedges are for losers and
A moat is too intense –
Just bite the bullet, grab your tools
And build yourself a fence.
A wall is too conspicuous
And may cause some dissent,
But everyone agrees upon
The merits of a fence!
It keeps the sheep inside the fields.
It’s basic common sense:
We’re guarding all the things we own
By putting up a fence.
It’s simple economic law;
It’s shiny pounds and pence.
We’ll protect what’s rightly ours
By building up our fence.
You see, the world is horrible!
It causes us offence!
And so we’ll hide, all safe inside
The confines of our fence.
This country’s going to the dogs!
It’s not some lame pretence:
We really do feel better when
We’re locked behind our fence.
It’s keeping out the foreigners:
The ones with weird accents.
The scroungers and the loungers
Cannot penetrate our fence.
We're shunning all the terrorists,
The Lefties, and the French.
There's nothing they can do to get
Inside our lovely fence.
Will no one help the Middle Class?
Don’t leave us in suspense!
We do not want to pay our share –
We want to build a fence!
We’re unrelenting nimbyists;
Our fearfulness intense.
And so we seek to rationalise
The building of a fence.
We've lost all our humanity;
Our empathy's been spent
And now we cannot think beyond
The boundaries of our fence.
Compassion's not transactional
But that won't pay the rent.
We just don't want to share our stuff
With those beyond the fence.
It's true that migrants contribute,
But, what with world events,
We'll take our chances, if you please,
Encircled by our fence.
And we can keep our trade, you see,
We'll scoff with confidence:
What's mine is mine, what's yours in mine;
It's not a two way fence.
But when we have our heart attacks
Who'll drive the ambulance?
It's likely to be someone
On the outside of the fence.
And when supplies are running low
Who'll bring us sustenance?
We'll find that we're forgotten
When we're locked inside our fence.
“Compassion's not transactional!”
It's too late to repent.
And they won't hear us sobbing
From the outside of the fence.
And after all, what will they gain
From mounting our defence;
Why go where you're not wanted, right?
Why go inside the fence?
Compassion's not transactional
But sometimes it makes sense
To think about the consequence
Of putting up a fence.
Divide and rule! The Hue and Cry of
The only way stop it is
To take away the fence.
When focused on the barricades
We cannot be content
But once it's been destroyed we'll see
The folly of the fence.
There's more to life than bits of land –
Don't follow the consensus.
Remove the panels one by one:
Build bridges out of fences.