A lull in Lithuania

Nothing on the telly for the family in Kaunas,
Lithuania’s Got Talent has finished,
And, A Lyga has yet to begin.
So they dip once more
Into the slowly unfolding soap,
The full series box set, enthralled in us.
To the terracotta streets
Of Vilnius.

Something stimulating in the slow-mo collapse,
Something sagacious in observing such a public fall from grace.
Something sad but satisfying,
When at long, long last they’re on their way up,
And they crane their collectively concerned crowns.
Bite, to steady a trembling lip as they recall darker days.
Hands held in unity, so badly burned,
Like a vigil held to mistakes so painlessly made
From which they are agonizingly learned.
And pity
The embarrassed, befuddled, fools on their way down.

Nothing on TV in the Nederlands.
Voice of Holland has ended,
And Eredivisie has yet to start.
But the news is full at least.
Reality TV,
Real life.
Real UK life,
And a binge-watching Dutch public make themselves comfortable
As British leaders tie themselves up in transparent knots.
Like vipers, fighting to get out of a toxic pit.
Clammy, slimy slithering,
Spineless invertebrates
Crawling over and under, looking for a plausible escape,
Then pulled back into the trench,
Suffocating in the cynical septic stench
Of lies, on top of lies, on top of lies.
..As Dutch families
On neat Dutch sofas
In neat Dutch towns,
Watch from the neat, Dutch safety
Of their neat, Dutch sensibility.

What do Germans think of the side show.
Even better than
Mieten, Kaufen, Wohnen.
More entertaining than the Bundersliga.
Yes, the British slide,
Yes, that flag waving, British pride.
That came long before, the British fall.
No tabloid sympathy for Tommy,
And his spectacular demise.
Those aren’t tears of sadness,
De Bild laughs so much, it cries.

And those news stands in Helsinki,
The headlines:
What do they want .. a Border?  No Border?
A deal?  No deal?
Out, but still In?
In, and yet Out?

The grubby side of the EU has nothing on us.
Even the screwed-up, crumpled fag packets
Still life on beer-sloshed sticky bar tables on a still, Sunday morning,
That line the pavements of Arkadiankatu.
Yes, folk can be stupid here too,
Metro traders
Assured, no-brainers
In retro trainers
More paranoid about not looking cool,
Than of the tragic images of death and the dying on those very packets
At twenty euros a throw.
Twenty euros up in smoke.
Twenty drags,
Twenty shorts
And twenty more
For twenty wards.

But stupidity, Helsinki style,
Can’t begin to compare with
The staggering along the very edge.
Helsinki isn’t sleep-walking out, onto the wind swept ledge
Hanover isn’t tearing itself to shreds
Eindhoven isn’t unravelling its trusted threads.
And Kaunas,
Beautiful Kaunas knows, only too well,
There are some things, with which you just don’t meddle.

A woman at a café near Stockholm.
Hears me speak in my Cymru-fied, English tongue
Looks at me with a mixture
Of pity, disgust and stupefied confusion.
Us, Westerners:
Us, the subjects of Trump and Johnson,
Us, the problem, the anti-solution.

Just what would it take for us
To lay down in front of a tank,
How bad would it have to be
To chain ourselves to the railings.
To rally,
To march,
To chant,
To protest.

To stand up for something, just imagine!
How much of the last century’s pain
Are we prepared to squander
Before we even pen a strongly worded letter.

Imagine, if we cared as much for our principles as we do for our possessions,
As much for the environment we all share, as for the home we call ‘mine’.
Imagine feeling the pain of someone, any one of the billions we haven’t met,
As much as our neighbour,
As much as our partner
As much as our self.
Imagine the progress, when resources are shared.
And imagine if you can, the end game,
When we hear:
‘Let’s make America great again’
‘We will Make Germany, The Fatherland great again’,
‘It’s time to Make Britain Great again’.

So what should I tell them if they ask?
That we take more interest in the football?
That the living room needs decorating?
Or that at last,
..There’s something decent on the telly.

* Rob Kersley is a Lib Dem supporter originally from Honddu Valley (north of Brecon) and now living in Cornwall.

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This entry was posted in Poetry.


  • nigel hunter 21st Aug '19 - 2:56pm

    Children living in containers .
    Farmers worried about livelyhoods
    Steel works bought from abroad.
    Tech companies bought by Asians cos the £ is cheap.
    Social housing not enough
    The running down of a country sold abroad
    the running away of our next door neighbours economy that helped sustain us
    A political party hell bent on getting what it wants regardless of the consequences
    Northern Ireland /Ireland 1920s
    Appeasement 1930s
    Suez 1950s
    Brexit 2010s
    A party always at the front of our countries decline.
    Always wanting to get its way regardless of consequences

  • Tony Harris 22nd Aug '19 - 8:14am


  • james brady 27th Aug '19 - 6:08pm

    I have voted lib.dem. in the last 2 elections , but after your meeting with corbyn today I will never vote again , I have asked other members of my tribe and they say no more so in one swoop thats 7 votes you have lost .
    to meet with that man is beyond the pale , all he wants is to be MP and damn anyone who gets in his way , I thought Jo was made of better stuff to want any thing to do with him. so bye bye lib. dems . another betrayal just like the idiot cregg.

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