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The Suburban Dinner Party in Refugee Week

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 You know what it’s like,
40 something,
Having to move house,
Hassle, cost and worry about exchanging contracts,
Finding solace with wine and food and friends;
So there we sat,
The four of us,
Janet, my wife,
Myself, Michael,
Helen and Adrian,
Moaning on in unison
About this, that and the other,
Until someone silenced the dinner party despair
By reminding us that some of the parents
Of this suburban middle class grouping
Had been forced to move hundreds of miles,
Far from their homes,
With no freedom or choice,
Or worry about solicitors’ fees.
Helen’s parents, Berlin Jews,
Escaping to England in the ‘30’s,
Family left behind, all killed,
Family in England, interned.
Adrian’s Polish father,
Sent to a Nazi labour camp,
But escaping to Scotland,
To work as an ambulance driver,
Until VE Day reminded him
That he had no home or family to return to.
Janet’s grand-dad,
Isle of Dogs docker and Millwall fan,
Bombed out in the Blitz,
Called to Newport to work in the Welsh Docks,
Far from his cockney roots.
My French dad,
Escaping to England in 1945,
Deported twice when his permits ran out,
Staying in a German POW Camp,
While the troops waited to return,
Being sacked from his job,
Because the boss said there were too many Poles in the place,
Finally ending up in Exeter,
As a French teacher,
And meeting my student mother,
Still mourning her fiancée fighter pilot,
Killed in action.
So when people ask me why I support Exeter City,
You can see why I say,
“Actually, it’s a long story.”

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Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/the-suburban-dinner-party-in-refugee-week/