The Brexit Prize

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a poetic view from Karen Campbell, Church Related Community Worker (Bury Park and Beech Hill Council of Churches, Luton)

Sisters, brothers, neighbours, strangers,
Rubbing along; somehow getting by;
Of course there were 'issues', and words left unspoken -
Perhaps, with good reason why!

Then came the 'debate' - Brexit/not Brexit -
Thinly-veiled lies with a crocodile smile;
Fragile unity shattered, in less than a heartbeat,
And spattered with geysers of bile. 

Feelings now raging; informed, uninformed;
No middle ground - this side or that side!
Sisters, brothers, neighbours, strangers,
Ripped wide apart by a hateful divide.

"Reclaim our land, our laws and our borders -
Proud Britain, at last, again will be 'Great'!"
So went the claim, and many were fired -
So too were the voices and actors of hate!

"British jobs for British people!
Control immigration!" that's what it's about.
And the people were stirred, they didn't hear 'Europe' -
Instead, 'Get the Muslims and foreigners out!'

"And look at the money we're wasting on Europe -
All of this could be poured into poor NHS" -
'Could be', they said.  They never said 'would be'.
But many folks then cried out 'Yes!'

The youth lamented, "But what of our future?"
Their seniors could not see the fuss -
"Europe will give us the Brexit demanded -
After all, it's they who need us!"

The dice were thrown; the votes were counted;
The 'Remainers' let out their heart-wrenching cries -
For shock beyond shock, the 'Leavers' victorious
Had 'won'.  But what was the prize?

Two more years of sniping and snarling -
Brexit!  Brexit... but what does it mean?
Anxiety, disappointment, grim realisation -
This is not what was promised, not what was foreseen.

And we are not the power imagined -
Europe won't hang on our every word;
"Go, take your toys, throw them out of your pushchair";
Disinterest declares "How absurd!"

Really, what has been won?  And what cost the winning?
What's been unleashed will not be contained -
An angry and fearful, divided 'Great' Britain -
Is that the prize we have gained?

Sisters, brothers, neighbours, strangers,
Old and young, look with mistrusting eyes;
Wounded and weary, breathe air that's now poisoned -
Legacy of Brexit lies.             

©Karen Campbell, November 2018

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