Byzantium

11 Mar

A poem sent in by local resident Robert Crick:

Byzantium

 

A garden was planted somewhere in the East

It’s a place you’ll have been to, or heard of at least,

A perfect spot for a picnic or a feast.

I’m not here to talk about “Paradise”

This place isn’t lost; it’s real; and it’s nice.

If you want to save it, heed my advice.

There isn’t any mystery.

Just hear a bit of history.

 

In Istanbul there’s a park called Gezi

Where hard working citizens can go to be lazy

Where families can sit in the shade of the trees

And listen to the birds and the evening breeze

And old folk go for an aimless wander

And artists, philosophers and poets can ponder

And lovers stroll together there long after dark

A delightful place is Gezi Park.

 

And in East London’s Clissold Park

Ducks and deer doze after dark

And morning pushchairs meet and talk

And joggers jog and walkers walk.

 

And in Devon there’s a park in a town in the East

With blackberries, badgers, and many a beast.

Bats and councillors gather after dark there

And dogs chase rabbits in Sidmouth’s park there.

But sometimes you find that people who’re in power

Can look at a tree or a bird or a flower

And it won’t make ‘em joyous, it’ll only make ‘em glower.

 

They say they’re democratic

But they’re really autocratic.

Although they’ve been elected

They can’t bear to be corrected.

They want to leave their mark by erecting a construction

That requires for its completion the mechanical destruction

Of nature that’s been nurtured by many years of toil

Where corruption meant nothing but compost for the soil.

 

So the ruler of Turkey decreed that the city

Would have to lose its park, although it seemed a pity.

He had no contrition

When giving his permission

For the instant demolition

(It sounds quite crazy!)

Of the park called Gezi

To make space for some shopping malls

With profits for his business pals

But the people said “They’re criminals!”

And Istanbul echoed to the cry

“O – C – C   U – P – Y!

What do we want? Occupy!”

And a sit down protest in the park began and

Citizens were hit by water cannon,

Doses of tear gas and charging horses

In an effort to remove them by the President’s forces

 

And throughout the nation

This confrontation

Caused jubilation

For the people stayed!

And Gezi Park was saved!

 

Where the lawns of Clissold grow,

In Hackney Marshes, long ago

The people who were in the know

Said “the trees and lakes will have to go!”

Developers planned a housing estate.

Progress and profit were preparing Clissold’s fate.

 

But back in Queen Victoria’s reign

The people launched a great campaign –

In the home of Edgar Allan Poe,

Bronterre O’Brien, and Daniel Defoe,

Dissenters put their argument

And took their case to Parliament,

Which passed a Bill into British law

That Clissold Park shall for evermore

Be a place for quiet contemplation

And raucous sporting recreation

For every age and generation

Never to be threatened with desecration

By a greedy and soulless corporation

And every year there’s a celebration

That the people’s will

Means the park’s there still.

 

It is everybody’s duty

To preserve a place of beauty.

 

Councillors who’re irresponsible

Will one day find they’re held accountable.

Hills and valleys need protection.

Authority calls it insurrection

When people pose a thoughtful question.

This can lead to some confusion,

And the possible conclusion

That there’s only one solution.

And that that is – Revolution!

 

When you find Authority

Lacks the sensitivity

Or even the integrity

To answer your enquiry

Your feelings may get fiery.

 

A council that’s not fit for purpose

May cry “Don’t let the mob usurp us!”

 

But the people don’t use armaments

We just deploy our arguments.

There isn’t any mystery.

Just recollect our history.

 

No need for rash or violent acts:

Marshall the essential facts,

Show peaceful strength in demonstrations,

Introduce some regulations,

Initiate investigations,

Raise some funds for litigation,

Develop better legislation,

Put your case in a rational way,

Use your vote and you can sway

The powers that be

In the AONB

When councils diss our arboretum

The people’s duty’s to unseat ‘em.

 

Acting with determination

Our East Devon Association

Will secure the preservation

Of district, valley, park and nation.

 

I tell you, honey,

It may sound funny

But we can save that bunny

If we – follow the money.

 

There’s a garden that’s located somewhere in the East

It’s a place you’ll have been to, or heard of at least

It’s the perfect spot for a picnic or a feast

 

This hasn’t been a rap about Paradise

It’s a place we haven’t lost. It’s real and very nice.

And if you want to save it, follow my advice.

 

 

 

 

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