I AM EUROPEAN



I am re posting this European peace poem in solidarity with all those marching in London today for a vote on the final deal for leaving the EU. I had no vote in the first referendum, I will continue to fight for the right of all UK and EU citizens living in UK to have a vote in any future referendum. 



I AM EUROPEAN



The bomb site was our playground,
greened over empty spaces scattered
around Coventry where families once lived.
Traces of bricks and wallpaper still littered
the scrubby grass and leggy pink bomb weed,
rubble that shattered down on top of shelters,
like the one my dad and nana were
buried in for three long days,
until Grandad dug them out.

When not being cowboys and Indians
we played war games, buzzing with arms
out wide like the planes that filled
Coventry’s blacked out skies.
The peace was recent, still being built in
the Europe of treaties and good neighbours,
like Coventry’s new Cathedral,
City of reconciliation, rising from burnt ruins.

The threat of war between nations, 
Europe's historical backdrop,
slowly receded, replaced by agreements,
finely drafted, inter woven treaties
tying us together in trade and commerce,
centuries of distrust and misunderstanding
overcome by peaceful negotiation,
consolidated with new flavours, friendships,
holidays and youthful adventure.

When ill and exiled from my island home,
wooded green landscape bearing deadly damp,
a Valencian village welcomed me,
its people as sweet and generous as the
orange and almond blossom scenting the air,
as warm as the Levante wind over the ‘Carrascal’,
breezing hills of holm oak shared with rabbits and boar,
flashes of ‘golondrinas’ darting skyward,
homing yearly in mud spit nests under village eaves.

Strangers in a hot and foreign land,  
noisy chatter of an unknown tongue,
‘poc a poc’ it became home.
My children grew with the village’s own,
ears attuned, language learned,
the rules once tortuous eased as
Franco’s ghost was left behind in 
the bright future of a European Spain
where we are citizens not foreigners. 

United in our Spanish home,
a rainbow of European peoples in
harmony under the Mediterranean sun.
Until the Referendum.
When without a vote, a democratic voice, 
our citizenship became disposable,
our future threatened with Europe’s own.
Peace and cooperation of decades
overturned in a flash of political folly.

It’s a done deal they say, the people have spoken,
(apart from those of us denied a vote)
there is no alternative, getting harder by the day.
Democratic decisions are not set in stone.
When the path ahead proves treacherous,
the people misled, the wise can reconsider,
admit mistakes, forego power and party loyalty,
rise up, speak out, fight for our common good.
Time to embrace our EU friends, to vote again.

© 2017 Jacqueline Claire Knight.  All rights reserved. 



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