Saturday, July 29, 2017

Once foreign parts were far away

Auberon Waugh used to run a monthly poetry contest for the Literary Review in which he would set a theme and readers were too write an original composition. I came across the contest for July 2000, the theme being Foreign Parts. The first prize winner Robert Marks crafted a poem that now seems prescient these seventeen years later, given the mood and tribulations in Europe.
Foreign Parts
by Robert Marks

Once foreign parts were far away
And foreigners were there to stay,
And England had an empire yet
On which the sun declined to set;
Asylum meant the funny farm
And nationalism was no harm,
Monarchy was heaven sent
And laws were made by Parliament.

Now England has an open door
And foreign parts are far no more
With patriotic views forbidden
And laws of England overwritten;
Instead we have correctness, cant,
Pretensions to be tolerant,
A refuge for the refugee
And anti-racist industry:
Indulgences that coalesce
Bring an end to foreignness.

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