Tuesday, 23 April 2013

For Harry, England and St George

It's easy to be cynical about so much of modern society but there is still lots to celebrate about England today. Here's my take on it.

Mark x

For Harry, England and St George

I am for England.
Not the overblown Imperialism we sometimes
mistake for heritage
but the little, local lovelinesses
that make up real life.
I am for bacon sandwiches with brown sauce,
church bells over village greens,
Elgar, allotments and standing in queues.
I am for neighbours pulling together
when it really matters.
I am for Stonehenge, Glastonbury
and celebrating every season’s wonder
sometimes in the same day.
I am for snow in May, sunshine in November
lambs in fields and lambs in kebabs.
I am for calling neighbours “Incomers”
because they’ve only lived here for three generations.
I am for the sympathetic barmaid who hearing
today’s hard luck story,
shows a little extra cleavage.
I am for eternal optimism at football in spite of
mounting contrary evidence and when every fan can pick a better team.
I am for pubs with a back yard like a bomb site
putting out two chairs and an umbrella
and a sign saying “Beer Garden”.
I am for garden parties, cucumber sandwiches and cream teas
Pimms and G ‘n’ T s,
pork pies and mushy peas.
I am for our national dish;
Chicken Tikka Marsala.
I am for brass bands and being confused
by Morris Dancers.
I am for canals and boaters,
for Cumbria and Cornwall and
all points in between.
I am for the heart, for compassion
for pubs raising money for local children.
I am for the Women’s Institute,
Rotary Clubs, Inner Wheels and their quiet good works
I am for the England that shames the government into caring.
I am for the city, the village,
the town, the hamlet.
Oh! I am for the Royal Shakespeare Company,
Modern Shakespeares like Ian McMillian and John Hegley,
for nights in boozers with pints and poetry.
I am for James Bond, Harry Potter,
Miss Marple and Peter Pan.
I am for the Beatles, The Who,
The Stones, Adele and accepting we’ll
never again win the Eurovision Song Contest.
I am for the new England
made up of many nations.
Each different race and face
proof of the time we saw a need and opened the doors.
I am for forgetting differences except to celebrate them.
I am for Welsh England, Irish England, Scottish England
Jewish, Muslim, Sikh,
Christian and atheist England
I am for Black England, Asian England, Chinese England
Gay, Straight, Bi, Transgender England.
I am for equal rights to do or be
as long as
you don’t hurt another person
or their rights.
England and chips,
England with a flake and raspberry sauce.
I am for a cup of tea and slice of cake
God, you’ve no idea how much
I am for a cup of tea and a slice of cake!
I am for you.


  1. I've just finished reading Douglas Adams' description of how to make a proper cup of tea... If only we New Englanders had known. Happily, we do share common ground on the slice of cake.

    I am for Harry, England, St. George, and you.

    1. Dear Mrs Smeej

      Thank you so much for your encouraging words.

      Best wishes

      Mark x

  2. Another great poem. I'm in Canada but my mother was born in England and can still appreciate what you're saying.