Hadrian’s Wall

Edit/postscript:

I received the following feedback when I submitted the poem to The Referendum Rant competition run by First Scotland (not the bus/train company, but ex-Scottish Screen Firsts).

Dear Peter,

Congratulations on being a runner-up and winning £25 in the Referendum Rant Competition. There were nearly 130 contributions.

I know you will be disappointed and all judges gave your poems good scores. We enjoyed them enormously, and in particular Villanelle. I think that you have provided some of the most thoughtful lines in the whole competition, ones which deserve to be publicised and which will be repeated time and time again as a cautionary reminder. Like these

Our current times demand we adapt;
To draw the line is a 20th century disorder
The border is more than a line on the map
A wall of the mind, entrenchment, a trap.

Great stuff!

………………………….

Rory Stewart is presenting an excellent programme about the history and effects of the Wall and subsequent manifestations of the Border. I wrote the following villanelle about the same subject, which a member of the audience at a reading was kind enought to praise. She was an elderly lady (and fellow poet) originally from East Berlin.

The poem suggests borders create politics of their own.

Hadrians Wall.

The border is more than a line on the map
It’s division concealed in a mockery of order
A wall of the mind, entrenchment, a trap

Tolerance will fray, patience will snap
Each side becoming less giver, more hoarder
The border is more than a line on the map

Deals will break down, in time be stop-gap
Suspicion that a neighbour reverts to marauder
A wall of the mind, entrenchment, a trap

So when accident comes, chaos, mishap
A rampart acquires more guards and more warders
The border is more than a line on the map

The other side always takes the rap
In memory, our history’s mad blind recorder
A wall of the mind, entrenchment, a trap

Our current times demand we adapt;
To draw the line is a 20th century disorder
The border is more than a line on the map
A wall of the mind, entrenchment, a trap.

.

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