‘Oh God, My God, I am safe’, the Eritrean sings.
A fine voice and such good bones might make a model of him yet,
If strong enough for years of standing at the foot of Europe, waiting.
As the hazy cliffs of Sicily have jettisoned the threat of drowning,
Of ending up bagged up as salt-cured rag and bleached bone,
Now comes the more hazardous process, where process is the hazard
That has him under heel, grinds down good bones,
Sneers and sniffs at the magic dust of brave decisions.
The courage to get in the boat; or to jump ship – Brexit.
Bumptious bumpkins breaking Britain’s delicate brokerage.
Better, they felt, than being un-London and unloved.
Once in a lifetime, no going back. Already the brokers have begun again.
Two years’ talks and that’s just the start. Negotiation,
Negotiation, negotiation – that’s what they stand for, an end in itself.
So here we are, where there’s no there, there. The centre, cynically,
Need not break nor hold – only hold back the Eritreans.