Some years ago I wrote this poem on a flight back from Colombia. As we banked over London I had a rush of the Holy Voice and God began to speak to me concerning England. I need to clarify that I do not refer to England as the land of an ethnic group of people, rather England as a distinct part of the British Isles. It is the land I see in all its glory and shame. It is of course a piece of spoken word that is still evolving with recent additions from its first draft to include banking, traders and a more personal tone of voice I believe to be the heart of Jesus for this wonderful land.
England – my beautiful rose in early summer
Your velvet petals gave me softness
As I lay down on your green hills
To be cherished by the embrace by your ancient yews.
I love you – Your rolling hills sound of my love.
You took me in – a stranger from a warmer shore
And allowed me to be wild,
England my lion heart, why have you grown tardy and old?
I wish you had not sold your inheritance on the bed of a king’s desire.
Where is your fire and freedom? Where is your love?
Your coursing passions of uncontrollable beauty
Kiss me, kiss me, suck me dry,
Ravage me with your destiny
I long for you to love me again,
For our union to be ablaze with fire.
England my home
I journey on your true beaches of mottled shingle
And walk where dewy grass is burnished green,
Your oaks bend at the passing of my footsteps.
But now, your anthems are old and your banks empty
Your troops fight ignoble wars on foreign soil
That your pregnant youth cannot pronounce.
Breathe deep and pronounce love – say it – mouth the words
And you may remember you once knew truth and mercy.
Come my desire and embrace me – hold me
And squeeze my life into you.
The rocks will move for you,
And the monuments owned by Trusts and ruined by committees
Will come alive again – and sing new songs full of vision.
Let your windmills turn again with the winds of heaven
Driving a new economy – arise new economy
Drawn from the stone of empty banks and the religion of mammon.
Your glory is your shame – the shame of dirty streets
Painted with the blood of innocent youth, champagne
And unrighteous trading.
England you died at Whitby, come back to me
Walk again – do not ride the horse of pomp and status anymore
Walk in truth, straight truth, honest truth, the heat of truth.
Pray with your villagers again,
Do not close them down
Because they are not London.
Open up your ancient wells and drink,
Drink, drink, drink…and be drunk on love
Let the Mersey sing again,
The mills of Leeds sing songs at the siren,
The fires of Sheffield roar with muscular vigour,
Swing sweet London to the rhythms of exotic lands
And may your daughters be full of beauty and fragrance.
And you my old Cornwall – where are you? – where is your tongue?
I have not forgotten you
I hear you in my dreams and I awake
To the sounds of your rivers and crashing coastlines
Cold, deep and spirit filled,
Come out Cornwall
I ate your mussels with French white wine and you tasted perfect.
Do you remember the footsteps of the Irish and the Welsh,
As they walked over you, prayed over you, called to you,
Called you out -
The ancient pathways are on fire again
Come drink fire and live…there is fire in England
An ancient fire – a righteous holy fire
A wind carousing, dancing of holiness
Screaming freedom in ecstasies and shaking violently
It will not cease England
Until you are consumed in its burning torrent
And your life has returned to your body
I am proceeded by fire – come and burn with me…
Death is the mighty wind of tomorrow
And I am not dead.
I hear the voices of tomorrow calling you through
The future is not set…
“We Three are not ready for you to abstain from your wild freedom”
Why do you cry – self?
Why do you say – maybe – one day?
Give all in love and unlock time
Give all in truth – pure honourable passionate truth – and change tomorrow
Give your gold to the poor and eat meat with them
Or your belly will bloat on a religion called ‘respectability’
Be full of my meat brought with pure gold
Drip with my intimacy and with ‘the cry of the deer’.
Do you think this boarded cross contains my life?
In life I cried for justice
In eternity we will bathe in LOVE.