Poetry Drawer: Brit-ish by John Lindley

I’ve been seeking something in Cornwall
I’ve been searching for it in Wales
I’ve been studying the latest guide books
And listening to the Ancient Tales
I look deep into the eyes of the people I pass
But none of this gets me too far
I’m in a battered place called Britain
And I’m looking for who we are.

We’re the bastard sons and daughters
Of the Romans and the Celts
Our potential’s the tip of the iceberg
But it’s one that slowly melts
If all that was then and this is now
I gotta work it out if I can
’cause I’m bruised and I’m bloody and British
And I wanna know who I am

You won’t find answers in our hearts anymore
They’re as con-fused as our heads
You won’t find nothing out from the words we say
’cause they aren’t quite what we said
You won’t find it in Jubilee, authority
Or in shared conscience anymore
We’re nasty, brutish and short of ideas
And can’t remember what we’re here for

Identity is what you want it to be
You can make it whatever it fits
Call us English, Northern Irish, Scots and Welsh
Call us Limeys, Poms or Brits
If you think that will help explain to yourself
Who we are beneath these scars
Then you’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din
In working out who we are

Good people are all around us
I keep telling that to one and all
But The Moral Majority gets bigger
And they haven’t any morals at all
Too many turn into dyslexics by choice
To read the Letter of the Law
We’re a busted flush called Britain
And we don’t know what we’re standing for

Let’s talk about the Union Jack, Jack
Talk about St. George’s Cross
If it wasn’t such a drag we’d rally round the flag
And show everybody who’s boss
Boss of quite what, we’re not sure anymore
There’s been a change to our regime
But we’re British right through to our misplaced hearts
Trying to figure out what that means

©John Lindley 2022

Born in Stockport and now living in Congleton, Cheshire, John Lindley’s poetry has appeared widely in magazines as well as being broadcast on radio. John was Cheshire Poet Laureate in 2004 and Manchester Cathedral Poet of the Year 2010.

John’s website.

You can find more of John’s work here on Ink Pantry.

Leave a Reply