National Poetry Day

After Brexit

The Battle of Blenheim tapestry
After Robert Southey’s The Battle of Blenheim

It was an autumn evening,
    Old Kaspar's pigs all slain,
And he within his cottage walls
    Was staring out at rain,
Beside him, languishing and green
    His little grandchild Wilhelmine.

She saw her brother Peterkin
    Returning from the shops,
Reporting aisles of empty shelves
    Where once were stacked pork chops;
He came to ask what it could mean,
    Of Gramps and sister Wilhelmine.

Old Kaspar looked upon the boy,
    Who stood expectant by;
And then the old man shook his head,
    And, with a natural sigh,
"'Tis Brexit dividend," said he,
    "All part of the great victory.

“Have you not seen the forecourts?
    There are many here about:
The petrol and the diesel,
    Why they have all run out!
Free enterprise economy
    Is part of that great victory.”

"Now tell us what 'twas all about,"
    Young Peterkin, he cries;
And little Wilhelmine looks up
    With wonder-waiting eyes;
"Now tell us all about the poor,
    And what they voted Brexit for."

"It was the English," Kaspar cried,
    "Who put the French to rout;
But what they left the EU for,
    I could not well make out;
But everybody said," quoth he,
    "That 'twas a famous victory.

"This poor man lived near Calais then,
    Yon barbed-wire fence hard by;
They burnt his dwelling to the ground,
    And he was forced to fly;
So with his wife and child he fled,
    Nor had he where to rest his head.”

“But tell us why you killed the pigs
    Which you had thought to rear?”
“Food processing kills animals:
    That’s the plain truth, I fear;
And things like that, you know, must be
    At every famous victory.”

"They say it was a shocking sight
    When all the pumps ran dry;
For many thousand vehicles
    Were queuing to the sky;
But things like that, you know, must be
    After a famous victory.

"Great praise Boris de Pfeffel won,
    And Foreign Sec Liz Truss."
"Why, 'twas a very wicked thing,
    Ne’er mentioned on that bus!”
"Nay... nay... my little girl," quoth he,
    "It was a famous victory.

"And everybody praised the man
    Who this great fight did win."
"But what good came of it at last?"
    Quoth little Peterkin.
"Why that I cannot tell," said he,
    "But 'twas a famous victory."



Claire Lynn

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