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REASON AND RHYME

In sadness and shame at their country’s turn against foreigners, some Brits are turning to poetry

Reuters/Toby Melville
The power of the written word.
By Marta Cooper
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Yesterday, British prime minister Theresa May gave a speech that set out the post-Brexit government’s worldview—and it was strikingly isolationist. She singled out foreigners, “citizens of the world,” business fat cats, and—by implication—young people, who had voted overwhelmingly in the Brexit referendum for the cosmopolitanism and free movement that EU membership bestowed.

The previous day, home secretary Amber Rudd had proposed forcing companies to disclose how many workers they employ, and announced restrictions on international student and work visas. It’s not just political rhetoric either: after the referendum the rate of reported hate crimes shot up and a month ago was still above the previous year’s level.

But today, it so happens, is Britain’s National Poetry Day. And people who opposed Brexit and are dismayed by the anti-foreign rhetoric have been sharing poems on Twitter to express their feelings.

More than one came from poet and children’s author Michael Rosen, such as this one that he penned today:

And this, from 2014:

Rosen and others shared their favorites:

While some took it as an opportunity to pen their own—some more poignant…

…and some more mocking:

📬 A periodic dispatch from the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly in NYC.

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