England: A Reclamation

We reclaim this land, these seafronts, these fields
whose owners have stolen them, hearts black as coal.

We reclaim this England in the name of its children
whose blood runs rich with the planet’s every pitch:

from Africa’s sons, chained and enslaved,
dragged to the North, to build a great wall;

from Saxon invaders who conquered and stayed,
leaving their writings, their faith, their tongue;

the wolf, the bear howling down from Denmark
screamed onto the sand, razed and rebuilt;

the French, whose heritage we take as our own –
our churches, our language, our laws – all theirs;

the Irish who laid down our roads, our rails,
who slept out in our hedges for want of a welcome.

We reclaim this small island from her current captors
whose memories run short and corrupted.

We re-open our doors, our arms, our hearts
ready for the turn of the tide.


Harry Gallagher

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