English poetry

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Partisanship and politics

Were I not a patriot, which of course I am, I would explain
Just how the term remains a sticking point within my craw,
How it contains a core of prudish mockery, dissembles jingoistic
Claims. But I am and not ashamed. I love the land, the people
And the open places, I can’t condone the crowded spaces,
Feel concern for those who cannot leave, grieve for children
Trapped within regimes that stunt their growth and drain
Their youth in cruel hegemony. Were I just a visitor and
Open passed to wander where I might, free to censure
As I please, light the fires, feed the flames and duly leave,
I would explain. But I’m here to stay. It’s not the way that I
Was born to bear – condemn and sneer and run away,
I’d rather taste the venomed jeers of ultra right-wing cavaliers
Whose skins are thin; I’d rather fight those battles here, yet woe
Betide the hasty son who fights alone on borrowed ground.
Were I but a paying guest I’d gripe and whine and make a fuss
You’d think would never end, I would distend the bulging gut of
Shit expatriate disguised as parochial verisimilitude
And bust it open wide. I’d swim against the tide. That I can’t, that I
Must be quiet amuses me and those like me who own the pool;
We’re just as much a cause as case reviewed, solution placed
Within the reach without the tools, crisis redefined as such
That those we’re said to fear are Heaven sent foist the blame.
And that remains the near and easy explanation, we’re afraid
To be as patriotic as we might, afraid we’d blight the egos
In the crown, our thin-skinned peers who cant and carp and
Rage at trite deflections of their petty schemes and piecemeal
Policies. The men we once selected to bring change are now
Afraid of change with fears as drear as odds against their re-election.
In the aetiology of national wealth, partisanship and politics
Have always been an explosive mix, harbinger of a failing health.

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Poem Partisanship and politics - Ivan Donn Carswell