Lest we forget

Symbols are all that are left:
poppies, crosses, fading photographs,
a final game of football
and a muddy field

But ask most people why it happened
and a shrug is what you’ll get;
Ancient history, you’ll be told,
and What the effing use is that?

It won’t get us food in the belly,
it won’t get the rent paid;
I can’t get a job now the firm’s shut.
I blame it on all them others,
them politicians, them blokes on the telly,
they promised us the earth,
they said it was those Europeans
who put us in the lurch,
if it weren’t for Poles and such
we’d be in better shape,
we’d take back control and be in charge,
isn’t that why we fought the war?

Flags and fields and faded photos,
pious phrases and empty words:
symbols are all that are left —
symbols,
and bitter anger,
and a sense of betrayal.

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