Poem: Grey Old Island



Grey Old Island
A poem in favour of remaing in the EU with thanks to Emma Thompson

Eating carrot cake on Thursday,
In the art gallery café. An Earl Grey Tea
over-milked until almost white.
Gillian told me about her brother visiting from Kenya,
how she’d left the family farm but he’d stayed,
his accent not filed down by the Englishness
of England, quite yet. He bought a new coat, unused
to the looseness of the wind and clouds
blowing across Europe. We talk
about the art we’d seen, these great abstract canvasses
close ups of the ground, all the rainy mud-colours of the earth
on this old island.

A blueberry muffin and mocha with Sacha
in the café, Saturday afternoon.
We take the corner seats upstairs
watching the town square out the tiny windows;
people stopping to look at the market stalls,
the fruit seller yelling about bananas every four minutes.
Passing children want to play with the cat toys
and jump on the soft dog beds all stacked up.
The fishmonger leans out the hatch in his van,
the ice surrounding the North Sea fish scattered
on the grey pavement, cold little clouds.

At the garden centre on Sunday.
A Victoria Sponge with Emma
topped with strawberries
from Spain. Glasses of thick-fizzy
Cloudy Lemonade. Sat on bolt-iron
garden furniture painted Misery Green.
Hidden from the wind and rain by a trellis
with ivy grown wicker-basket tight.
Sunday couples walk around looking
for a brown plastic garden hose contraption.
Pausing at the early camellias, giving a small smile
to the row perfect topiaries, scissored to
Alice in Wonderland playing card shapes.

“ a tiny little cloud-bolted,
rainy corner of sort-of Europe,
a cake-filled misery-laden
grey old island” – Emma Thompson

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