31st January 2020

On this day the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. No doubt the internet will be awash with triumphalism from many of the approximately half the country who thought this might be a good idea. Maybe we’ll get to read the ironic good wishes to other nations on the special half a quid that’s been minted or listen to Big Ben’s silent bonging. In our house we will mark the the beginning of the wait to become EU citizens once more with Spanish wine, French cheese, Italian pasta, Irish poetry, German music … and two British fingers to Brexit. 

And on the subject of music, once on the allotment, before all this, I heard a child singing Beethoven in the garden. I remembered this yesterday. Here’s the whole story as my contribution to a very sad day indeed.

Fariha’s ode to joy

On leaving the European Union 

She was a child who played alone a lot
I was someone digging who she chatted to
across a lane until she was called indoors.

I heard her singing in her garden once
sixteen wren-pitched bars of Ode to Joy
Beethoven’s ninth, the European anthem.

She had learnt it easily, no doubt, for fun
maybe after making flags, in class one day
then gave it all she had in the open air.

This before we left, although we elders
had already locked our gates and ears
and half-willingly were being led away.

But I’ll work on, here across the lane, until
another wren-child borderless and bright
sings her unclouded flag of joy again.

 

© Dominic Fisher  31.1.20

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