|Broadcast on the Home Service|
“Malin head, twenty seven miles
one thousand and four, rising slowly.”
The primly erotic and entrancing voice
that may well be Celia Johnson
or Jean Simmons, informs us.
Evoking the aroma of Chanel number 5
and of leather, horses, and the warm musky tang
of female pheromones.
I imagine her dressed in a light summer skirt
of crisp cotton in a floral print
and clean white underwear,
glimpsed, as she crosses her legs
with thighs to die for.
For this beautiful clarion of clarity;
This angelic vessel of extra sensual tone,
the aesthetics are audible;
the visual images are stimulated
by their unseen associations.
Meanwhile, in Mogadishu or Khartoum,
at the aftermath of another Allah Akbar attack,
the sunlight highlights
the fresh slick innards,
and scattered body parts,
As vivid red splashes
on a grey-white background
drying out on a dusty road.
So far away from the world
where we are free to be disappointed.
Our foreign correspondent,
(a pale and frail Oxbridge),
as a mortar shell explodes nearby,
and then apologises,
as only an Englishman can,
for the background noise
of shouts, sirens, and small arms fire.
Just like last week, and last year
in Palestine, and Helmand province.
Here at home, in the mother land,
(a province in the North Atlantic
metaphorically adrift between
the Old and The New World),
our colonial brood, has long since left home.
Although still staying in touch
as a commonwealth of strained friendship.
We are now like a lover
with a harem of ex-girlfriends.
Reminiscing on what used to be
whilst degenerating into a state
of third worldliness.
The thoroughbred’s slow decline is marked
In frayed cuffs and genteel shabbiness.
Discouraged from patriotism
lest we should offend others
Who are not great.
Still we comply with those old traditions
of the premier division.
Standards are maintained
and dignity upheld
within the tight boundaries
of fiscal restraint.
Even as we slip ever downwards
towards the conference league.
For are we not Britons,
like last week and last year?
For brighter shades
glow lighter now
like lilac buds
on purple bough.
The greener grass
after the rain
was greener still
Through an unsettled outlook
with a depression and storms to follow.
Like Serengeti light vessel automatic
west veering south west
six or seven
says the BBC girl,
who sounds just like Celia Johnson.
(comment on this poem)