If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
You're in this dream of cotton plants.
You raise a hoe, swing, and the first weeds
Fall with a sigh. You take another step,
Chop, and the sigh comes again,
Until you yourself are breathing that way
With each step, a sigh that will follow you into town.
That's hours later. The sun is a red blister
Coming up in your palm. Your back is strong,
Young, not yet the broken chair
Why do you think you're better
If your culture is not the same?
Yes, maybe you seem different
But deep inside all are the same.
Why do they think they're better?
If one is black and one is white,
If one is man and one is woman.
They are the same, that is their right.
Here the flame that was ash, shrine that was void,
lost in the haunted wood,
I have tended and loved, year upon year, I in the solitude
Waiting, quiet and glad-eyed in the dark, knowing that once a gleam
Glowed and went through the wood. Still I abode strong in a golden dream,
For I, I that had faith, knew that a face would glance
One day, white in the dim woods, and a voice call, and a radiance
Fill the grove, and the fire suddenly leap . . . and, in the heart of it,
End of labouring, you! Therefore I kept ready the altar, lit
I was born in 1902
I never once went back to my birthplace
I don't like to turn back
at three I served as a pasha's grandson in Aleppo
at nineteen as a student at Moscow Communist University
at forty-nine I was back in Moscow as the Tcheka Party's guest
and I've been a poet since I was fourteen
some people know all about plants some about fish
I know separation
some people know the names of the stars by heart
I look around and behold
A world I recognise no more,
Where power, selfishness and wealth
Are more important than public health,
Where bombs, grenades and explosion
Overpower peace, freedom and emotion.
It's a world ruled by inequalities and despair,
Where no one knows the meaning of prayer.
And now, tell me: who can help
The soil was red
The air was swollen
With moisture and dread
Alone in the open
There were three steps first
And then two benches
The four walls were cursed
With decaying stenches
Though I'm ashamed to say it now, I never took conservation seriously,
Just living life as if nothing else mattered, full of wonted complacency.
I would hear intense talk of the climate, recycling and global warming,
But I disliked such grim talk, when a coral sun yet rose each morning.
So happy and filled with youthful zest, I was ever in the vivid moment,
Like destiny shimmying from violet shadows, full of its fleeting portent.
Several friends were actively involved, with their environmental causes,
If I was a blind man;
I'd get myself a braille.
If I was a dog,
I'd get myself a tail.
Lord no more could I drive...
And no more could I sail.
If I was a cowboy,
I'd buy myself a horse.
If I was a drifter,
The darkness is engulfing me
I'm tired of being tired
I just want to flee
From this tragedy
All I want is to break free
And feel the wind through my hair
And I want to see
All the wonders left to behold