England in My Head

I was made in England

And charged with English blood


In England born and bred

I’ve got England in my head


I’ve walked on English lanes

And breathed in English air


It’s English ground I tread

And I’ll be English until I’m dead


I speak the language of England

The same as Shelley and Keats


For the English words we speak

Are the words that make us unique


I’m English through and through

And England lives in me


And its English blood that’s in my veins

And an Englishman I’ll remain


Hitler couldn’t break our island

Nor could Brexit or the IRA


We’ll be English until the end of time

We’ll be English come what may.


From my mouth comes English words

And the songs that I hear in a morning

Come from English birds


It’s English thoughts I think

For English notions have travelled far


And I like to think we sleep at night

Under an English star


◄ No Need to Talk of Love

Memento Mori ►


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Steve Higgins

Sun 16th May 2021 14:23

Thanks to MC And GS for both their comments.
I started this poem by just playing with words but I’ve always been impressed by sense of belonging and patriotism of Americans towards the USA even though they are a nation of immigrants. I’m not sure that’s a feeling expressed towards the UK by British people. It seems to me that in the UK we are more fond of our home nations, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and England than the UK as a whole, hence the thrust of the poem towards England.
The comments about English birdsong was a nod to our heritage from the past when England really did rule a lot of the world.
Thanks to everyone for their comments.

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M.C. Newberry

Tue 4th May 2021 16:12

GS certainly has a point about "English" being an attitude...a state of
mind. As for "mongrel race" - a phrase that seems to have gained a certain cachet nowadays - again certainly, but to a degree that
was severely limited over the past thousand years by the barriers
against any travel of meaningful distance and royal actions that
moved against immigration of any size (Queen Elizabeth 1st was
notable in that respect) plus the resident population's understandable
suspicion of foreign influence in dangerous days that saw other
nations look upon these islands with covetous eyes and wars
were all too often a state of affairs across their world.
Fair's fair - as we English say.

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Graham Sherwood

Tue 4th May 2021 10:35

There's nothing more emotive to many than when the discussion turns to what is regarded by the term/label English.

Whether we like it or not, we are a mongrel race, added to, diluted, melanged with many different races over the centuries. I too regard myself as English but only in the above terms. My children I regard as English but they had a Polish grandfather!

I think English resides in a way of thinking. A way of acting (good or bad). From the upper-class twits to the beer-swilling football louts, that's us English.

The only issue I really have with Steve's piece is his claim that even the birdsong is English. An interesting observation as many of our garden birds are migratory. Come on England!!!

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M.C. Newberry

Mon 3rd May 2021 17:15

The words carry their own weight and meaning - and resonate
accordingly with those who chime in tune. You could substitute
other identities and the message would also resonate accordingly
with those others who chime in tune. It's rare to find anything that
mentions either "England" or "English" nowadays so that in itself
is to be noted and read with interest. As for northerners having a
primary claim to the identify you specify, I would argue that the likes of Alfred the Great and Hereward the Wake, followed by ill-
fated King Harold and the subsequent Norman incursions from
France, combined with the surviving Anglo-Saxon population to
create the "English" identity that emerged over the ensuing one thousand years - and were more "southerners" than northerners.
I know the latter like to claim most of what's good but there are
plenty down here in the south who can point elsewhere in that
regard. 😉

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Steve Higgins

Mon 3rd May 2021 02:06

I personally think that northerners are the true English but then I’m biased 😀 Thanks for looking in

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Steve Higgins

Mon 3rd May 2021 02:03

Aviva, thanks for looking in. I deliberately used England and English a lot to create a sort of rhythm and that makes the poem trot along nicely but I think you’re saying that there isn’t much substance to this poem and looking back you’ve certainly got a point. I’m not sure I had a point in the first place but you’re right, it needs reworking.

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Aviva Rifka Bhandari

Sun 2nd May 2021 21:11

It is quite clear from this poem that you have great word-craft, there's control and flexibility in the metre as well as natural and flowing word choices... but it feels to me (and others may well disagree with me on this) that as much as you've used the words English and England many many times you haven't really said anything important about what that actually means to you or should mean to anyone.. and I feel as if you could have (because you have the word-craft). Obviously it is quite apparent that you think all these aspects imbue some sort of character or disposition or something important... but we don't find out what that actually is. Apart from all these details about 'where you came from' what else about 'what you therefore are' could you have said?

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Leon Kamm

Sun 2nd May 2021 20:55

Mmm. It's an odd thing isn't it? People can live in the North West or the South East, be rich or poor, well educated or not, yet still feel quintessentially English.

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