My Britain - the poem with photos.

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My Britain

So this is my Britain:
A land of rugged rocks on shores with crashing waves;



A land of green rolling hills,


Craggy mountains,
Meadows of gaily coloured flowers alive with insects;
The chirp of crickets, the buzz of bees, the scurry of beetles and the bob of butterflies;


The darting of lizards into crisped undergrowth, the rustle of mice, voles and hedgehogs.
In the dappled glades of the forest remnants the fallow deer chew alertly. Under hedges rabbits venture from their burrows, adders, grass-snakes and slowworms bask in the sun, soaking up the heat, or languish in safety under the corrugated tin.

In the fields the red poppies bob among the feather-top grasses, the purple thistle stands erect and the yellow buttercup and dandelion gleam like tiny glowing suns.

In the streams the stickle-backs dart, frogs are still with eyes protruding, prone within the water and newts crawl lugubriously between the fronds of water weed as pond skaters skim above.

On the seashores and mudflats the waders scamper and peck as the waves recede, the gulls soar, glide and call, crabs peer from beneath rocks and barnacles scoop specks from out the water.

This is the land of moors of purple heather and green bracken, of lakes, lochs and cwms, abandoned mines and standing stones, of brochs, long barrows, burial chambers and castles, that signify the history, the mystery and long faded memory of the past, vestiges of by-gone eras.

This is my Britain:
A place populated by a mongrel race whose stride was large enough to girdle the whole earth, whose imagination has changed the world, who have left their mark in time, in every continent, in every clime.

A race rooted in Celt, in Pict, in Angle, Saxon, Norse, Roman and Norman, and later, as the trade routes opened up the world, in Asian, African, Australian, American and beyond - a mixture of races full of hybrid vigour and the purity of nascent blends; and all the stronger for it. Whose very language reflects this rich history of intermingling, so diverse, so expressive, so vibrant, so fluid – as if the opulence of genes flows forth from effervescent minds through the versatility of tongues. For though rooted in our European traditions we have incorporated the whole gamut of mankind and extracted the best to create something all the greater.

These are the people from whom I have descended – the outward looking, the brave and adventurous, those that rose to the challenge and sought the novel, whose poets revealed, whose story-tellers delighted ears, whose adventurers ignited spirits, whose philosophers dared to question, whose inventors and scientists harnessed wonder and whose dreams reached for the stars.
These were the people whose compassion and tolerance created hope and homes; whose spiritual buccaneers tackled mysteries and whose first response was the helping hand.

This is my Britain:
A land of contrasts, of variety, of peace, serenity and wonder,
A land of pleasant folk, with varied traditions and minds of scope,
A land of scholars, wisdom and industry,
A land full of history, yet still reaching for the future.
From these rocky shores, sandy bays and welcoming harbours, we still reach out to embrace the beyond.
From this place of culture and civilisation we welcome in the new, to incorporate and grow.

This is my Britain!
Not an insular island, alone, but a thriving centre, a focus of trade, a flourishing nest of humanity, a creative force, a smiling face of civilised companionship, reaching out to the world, living at one with nature.
Not the warlords, not the politicians, not the mean-minded bigots, the small-minded nationalists, the money-grabbers and life-suckers, but the musicians, the artists, the scientists, dancers, the merry-makers, singers, swashbucklers, free spirits, travellers, roamers, explorers, dreamers, builders, players, writers, poets and the ordinary folk whose smiles and gleeful voices are an example for us all.

Yes, this is my Britain,
A gleaming island, a green jewel, surrounded by cleansing waves, whose people have this spirit to delve and solve the greatest ambiguities, to shine light into the darkness and turn the bitterest bile into the sweetest nectar.
This is the Britain I am part of, stem from and take with me where-ever I tread.
This is my Britain.
This is my Britain.


opher goodwin Added Jan 9, 2019 - 6:26am
I thought some of you might appreciate the poem with some accompanying photos.
Stone-Eater Added Jan 9, 2019 - 11:17am
Nice, Oph. As I said: All that's south of London is nice...and the again up from the border to Scotland. The midlands with its industry is the same horrible area as the German Ruhrgebiet.
opher goodwin Added Jan 9, 2019 - 11:23am
Stone - there are some lovely places in the Midlands out of the cities. You just need to avoid the industrial messes.
Stone-Eater Added Jan 9, 2019 - 11:34am
Well, admitted, I don't know them too well. But when it comes to the Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester etc. areas, no thanks. Never mind the Beatles, though LOL
opher goodwin Added Jan 9, 2019 - 11:58am
Stone - I agree - though they have done Liverpool up considerably. It is quite nice by the docks. They've restored it. It was extremely heavily bombed.
Did you do the Beatles tour?
Stone-Eater Added Jan 9, 2019 - 12:04pm
No. I did twice in my life a tour to a tourist spot - Borobudur and the Taj Mahal. Never again. The Beatles are too valuable for me to even consider to make a guided tour to Strawberry Fields or Penny Lane or Abbey Road. It would......kind of destroy something.
Stone-Eater Added Jan 9, 2019 - 12:09pm
BTW: As I did never go back to places I was in Asia before. When one once had a real good time in a place and tries to repeat that years later it will also fuck up that good first time and the memories of it, if you know what I mean. It doesn't work.
opher goodwin Added Jan 9, 2019 - 3:08pm
Stone - I know what you mean. It doesn't take away the magic for me though.
opher goodwin Added Jan 9, 2019 - 3:09pm
Stone - yeah - I've done that a few times! Same with some friendships.
Stone-Eater Added Jan 9, 2019 - 3:31pm
Yep. When I came back after 3 years around the world and went out with my former gang I found out after some hours that it didn't work anymore. Sad, but I thought maybe they haven't changed at all or I became a different person. Probably the latter.
opher goodwin Added Jan 9, 2019 - 4:05pm
Same when I went away to uni. I changed. They stayed the same. I popped in to our little snug once and never went back.
Jeff Michka Added Jan 9, 2019 - 7:36pm
Great shots, opher, good and your obviously heartfelt poem was enhanced by them.  Nice.
opher goodwin Added Jan 10, 2019 - 4:11am
Thanks Jeff. I'm not sure if they enhanced or detracted by breaking up the rhythm.
wsucram15 Added Jan 10, 2019 - 8:25am
OMG   Opher, so beautiful.  I love the pics.  I love the shore pics and rolling hills.   You did a nice job on this one. I think everyone should post pics with an article.  SEF did this once with Switzerland I believe and also Cameroon.
Very lovely places.  
Ive posted pics from my travels here and there.  The US is pretty as well.  
Great job.
wsucram15 Added Jan 10, 2019 - 8:26am
A land of history...I love that.
opher goodwin Added Jan 10, 2019 - 2:28pm
Thanks Jeanne - Happy New Year. I like the pics but I've decided that really they interrupt the flow of the poem too much. But there you go.
wsucram15 Added Jan 10, 2019 - 6:02pm
They add something, or perhaps you could put some at the beginning and some at the end.  Your writing is very descriptive, but  those pictures are of an outstanding quality.
They really offset the words.
opher goodwin Added Jan 10, 2019 - 6:19pm
When I first did it Jeanne I read the words over a piece of pastoral classical music by Frinzi and had a slide show. It worked very effectively. I like the pics but I do feel they intrude into the flow. So while they add something they detract as well. Perhaps, as you suggest, it is all about positioning.
Webmaster Added Jan 11, 2019 - 4:15am
Immediately remembered Robert Burns:
"My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
My heart’s in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer;
A-chasing the wild deer, and following the roe,
My heart’s in the Highlands wherever I go.

Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North,
The birth-place of valour, the country of worth;
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love."
Here is a nice song performance
opher goodwin Added Jan 11, 2019 - 6:06am
Thanks Web. A nice rendition.