Paper War

“There is a war between the rich and poor” (Quote from Leonard Cohen’s song “There is a War”

We fought a paper war
to save
our children from illiteracy,
our minorities from indignity,
our poor from the trap,
our innocent from attack,
our sick from relapse,
our planet from collapse.
We fought for equality and opportunity,
for compassion and fair shares of wealth.
We fought for clean earth and breathable air.
We were cheated, defeated.
Our paper war
was fought in vain.

Now X marks the spot
where millions
forgot how elitist the heart that beats
beneath a blue rosette;
forgot its traditions, forgot
its determination
to quench the flame that feeds families’ needs,
forgot it’s self-seeking greed.
I guess they got lost in the flurry of fog
that was blown from the lips of the blustering trickster
to cover his billowing, right-wing flag.

X marks the spot where millions
punched themselves in the gut
and shot our country in the foot.

We fought a paper war.
The ballot boxes spilled their weapons
and the count began.
So many X’s etched in the same place,
landing like angry kisses,
like sarcastic, soggy smacks
soaking my face.
The media blames Brexit,
which suggests our electorate waved aside
the higher stakes
and now it’s too late to explain.
We can only say we fought bravely,
but in vain.

©Jane Paterson Basil

14 thoughts on “Paper War

  1. What a great poem…..actually whats happened once more is that a huge percentage has voted Green but because the voting system is flawed once more there is only 1 green MP

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How this cuts to the heart, Jane. All the issues the country – the planet – has to deal with and our electorate thinks Brexit is the most important. And who do they think can fix it? The blond liar who helped cause the problem in the first place. Beautiful, passionate, angry and true

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lynn. It’s crazy. Around here few people admit to having voted Tory, so they must feel some kind of shame. Out of 55,000-odd people in North Devon who voted, over 32,000 chose the conservative – and few of them even knew who she was. I voted green, but at the count it was Finola, the Labour candidate that I wept with and for.


      1. Sadly, people believed the ‘get Brexit done’ lie. Say a thing often enough and it becomes truth, somehow. If course, Brexit will still be getting ‘done’ in ten years time and meanwhile, the Tories are selling off the NHS, eroding social care, punishing the sick and disabled. At three least three EU have said we’re welcome back anytime.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. WHY I DON’T

    Watching or reading what they call the news
    Puts the tiny blur of politics
    Undeservedly centre stage

    And time will pass – or we will pass through time
    And old puns lose topicality
    Or else be missed entirely

    Watching or reading what they call the news
    Is a part of popular culture
    You might say: “the people’s culture”

    And time will pass – or we will pass through time
    Though probably only just scrape through
    As revision’s out of fashion

    In a culture – if you can call it that
    That treats today as an ashtray, poor
    Yesterday like a soiled tissue

    That yesterday in which at last my dad
    Was released from the war and came home
    As hopeful as the Welfare State

    And read the Mirror because he believed
    It spoke for and to the working man
    Had values and stood for something

    These days my mother reads the dreary Mail
    The Mirror – shameless, lobotomised
    Laps at the gutter with the Sun

    And who now recalls the year the party
    Saw their vote for disarmament squashed
    By their own elected leaders?

    The rule of democracy – after all
    Being useful only just as long
    As people vote the way you want

    Once in power you can do as you like
    I couldn’t accept that even then
    And come to think of it still can’t

    But the world of politics – after all
    Is one of those areas in which
    Any fool can point out what’s wrong

    And you’re a fool of a whole other kind
    To think you can even imagine
    Still less define what might be right

    Yet there are times when I know there’s something
    That can be embodied in our lives
    And can inform the way we act

    ‘Cos politics is our use of power
    In accord with the values we hold
    And doesn’t require that we vote

    Of what use to man or beast – after all
    The options on an all meat menu
    To a strict vegetarian?

    The world is not to be found in a box
    Or between the pages of a rag
    It’s before our eyes day by day

    Watching or reading what they call the news
    Caveat emptor … smoke and mirrors
    A weapon of mass distraction

    ~~~~~ ~ ~~~~~

    When I originally wrote this Tiny Blur was still admiring himself in No. 10. And now we are saddled with Doris. (Not a typo) Conservatism is at best a mild for of mental illness. At worst … Heil! (Not a typo.)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes. Cumbria. And “The phrase hear him, hear him! was used in Parliament from late in the 17th century, and was reduced to hear! or hear, hear! by the late 18th century. The verb hear had earlier been used in the King James Bible as a command for others to listen.” (Wikipedia)
    So now you know. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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