A green and pleasant land
full of white people and churches
is what she wants to see
but that’s not how it will be,
the only thing that doesn’t change
is Change itself, the Taoists say
and for thousands of years
people have wandered the world
moved around, crossed continents.
We came later, built our shrines
to erase the previous gods;
now you complain when seeing a mosque
but wear jeans made cheap in Pakistan.
Your cosy picture is a fantasy,
a fixed idea you can’t let go.
Your tolerable life paid for elsewhere
so be quiet and think: though some
might not wish to integrate,
in reality we’re all connected.
John Short lives in Liverpool and studied comparative religion at Leeds University. His poems and stories are often inspired by his travels in Europe. In recent years he has been published in the UK, France, Spain and the USA, most recently in Prole, Dream Catcher, Frogmore Papers, Envoi and The Blue Nib. He's active on the local poetry scene and also enjoys cycling and real ale.