via Terry Pratchett RIP.
Divorce Pending-Damage Done.
For a week an irritable restlessness, an inability to write anything, and little belief that writing has much value amidst the jihads of various kinds! Scotland may get its own Caliphate through the vote, the pretence of democracy which enlists adolescents to beleaguer their grandparents, and promise the earth. Did nobody explain that being ‘in love’ is not loving, that grass is always greener from a distance?
Memory is the richest resource we have. Even memories of disagreement which bind us with shared scars.
Marriage is mostly dull tedium, slow change; a love affair with liberty invariably destructive of all those offspring dependent on constancy. The damage is already done whichever way it goes. No unwilling partner is ever rehabilitated, nor trustworthy.
What has Scotland to do with it? Why do I care, so incoherently? My Scottish grandfather and Irish grandmother were no part of my childhood, and it is not my blood that sings out. It is so many more important things. Mainly a love for the identity of Britain, what I thought it stood for, which I once tried to express.
I remember British before I ever came.
It held out not so much a hand
as a perfumed sheltering skirt.
Libraries of promises told me it was so;
so kind, so empathetic…good laws kept
below the plimsoll line of progress, and never shook their fists.
Red-robed institutions and the wigs of learned men
in processions or procedures, stood up stoutly to defend
like a robin a single spade, abandoned to the rain.
Centuries had assumed much the same kind of thing.
Honour never easily perturbed by loud waving sticks,
or shouting, or new planted beds of change.
That picture merely skeletal like an architect token tree;
profile of swinging twigs on which whole flocks might feed…
The glory came with foliage, later season, quiet street,
rows of modest gables, the certain corner-store.
The Pakistani, hollow eyed, exhausted and polite,
his jet-eyed child a-clamour still at ten o’clock at night.
Inevitably Cathedrals, Warden Harding in the apse…
Overwhelmed by tearful vespers by half a few intoned
in a mediaeval choir with its candle cloistered lights,
its susurration of sandal, bowing tonsured pates…
Out into the winter fog hugging near the lamps,
the smoking billboard publican stamping frozen feet.
I fell in love with promises, smacked into full-tilt
round the corners of a heedless unintentional search, believed
Britain was for everyone, somewhere, Harry and St George
Or so, for years, it seemed.
Could I have been mistaken as little as thirty years back?
Could deception hold its nerve from Land’s End to John o’ Groats?
Grey matter finds it hard to shift something weightless as faith…
There was a certain…certainty? Officer, I can’t tell you anymore
I only notice now its gone, this Island has been robbed.