Vin au Bord de la Mer (Wine by the Sea)

A poem on Brexit by Joseph Healy.

The granite harbour walls of Folkestone 
Flowing to a shapely lighthouse at the end now a drinking spot
Day trippers sitting in July sun look out on chalk white cliffs
And foam flecked waves 
France visible on a clear day but a haze obscures the view.
So near and yet so far

The once great ferry station a heritage site 
Trackless and home to fish and chips, burgers and tacos
Platforms and signs still pointing to vanished trains from France
The London and Paris hotel like a dowager who’s seen better days
Overlooks the harbour mudflats exposed 
Like the station the ebbing tide has left beauty bereft of industry

I sit glass in hand surveying the restless sea
Seeing fleeing refugees from the guillotine 
Baroness Orczy and Dickens seeking English common sense
Not French zeal and anarchy
And Hogarth’s Gate of Calais with its mendacious French friar and hungry troops eyeing the Roast Beef of Olde England

A plaque on the lighthouse remembers the opening of the harbour by the emissary of France when steamers and trains disgorged their passengers by the briny walls
La Manche obscured by the mists of Brexit but French wine still welcome
Below a border agency boat ready to take to sea to repel unwanted migrants
No haven here.

Who now the zealous and wild driven by the furies of Farage?
Scion of the Hugenots driven from France
A bottle yes but no sommeliers  
bon mots but no carers
The Folkestone Gate truly closed though the waves crash against it
The English vicar and thirsty sailors hanker for an aperitif
But no boats sail from France and the Continent’s cut off!

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Joseph Healy is a member of Anti*Capitalist Resistance.

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