Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Children of Albion


Following on from my recent column on the UK riots, here's poet and translator George Szirtes' poignant, punchy 'Children of Albion':
Children of Albion, the future is yours,
It’s safe now to wander and gambol outdoors,
The streets are all empty, the shops are all bare,
There’s nothing to take but a breath of fresh air,
Nothing is broken that time won’t repair,
Children of Albion
Sleep easy.


Children of Albion, the future is bright,
There’s plenty of fire to light up the night,
The goods are all free, the watches, the shoes,
The TVs, the iPhones, the music, the booze,
There’s plenty to gain when there’s nothing to lose,
Children of Albion
Sleep easy.


Children of Albion, your life is your own,
You’ve nothing to do with the lives you have blown,
You can blame it on God, the Tories, the state,
On parents, on culture, on school, or your mate,
On coppers, on joblessness, weather, and fate,
Children of Albion
Sleep easy.


Children of Albion, you can take off that hood,
The world is your oyster, you’re out of the wood,
Directors and bankers have run off with more,
They’ve been there before you, they’ve cleaned out the store,
They’ve lit their own fires on the trading room floor,
Children of Albion
Sleep easy.


Children of Albion, sleep well in your beds,
There’s nothing to fear, no price on your heads,
No price and no buyer, you’ve romped and you’ve played
And there in your hands is the loot you can trade,
Let none be deceived, let none be afraid,
Children of Albion
Sleep easy.
(Photo: Guardian)

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