Monthly Archives: June 2016

EU-LOGY

EU-LOGY

It had been a rare week, an extremely rare week

Just after the summer solstice

That’s how the week started

And in rare synchrony with it the strawberry moon

 

And then

It had been a rare night, an extremely rare night

With thunder and lightning, and the lightning so strong

Thus making the night-sky so bright

That you started to wonder if it was really night

 

And then

The rain came, a lot of rain came

And flooding happened, and there was so much water

That some tube stations were closed

And it took longer to make your way to work

 

And this

Was Referendum-Day, a precarious day

And as a result precarious results came in

A tiny majority were saying they didn’t want a share

With the countries they are surrounded by

 

And so

It became a rare morning, a rare and precarious morning

Filled with daze and disbelief

Would it have been easier for communication

To refer back to Shakespeare

And ask on the ballot paper ‘To Be or Not to Be together’

This was really the Question

And then to ask yourself

What happens to your being, and can you be at all

If you were alone.                                                                       © Ursula Troche, 6.16

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Collective Whole

Concurrent stories were these

That intermingled nicely with my Eulogies:

 

It was also Windrush Day

A day that commemorates Carribeans on demand

Because they had to, they had been asked to

And so they came before Europe

See here (and hear) the echoes of the title

‘They came before Columbus’

Important book by Ivan van Sertima

And now we all come

Together

In solidarity

With each other

In honour

Of each other’s contribution to our Collective Whole!

 

Long may this solidarity continue

And long may this awareness rise

And these connections be recognised

And become our Collective Conscious

As we became Londoners

together

 

It was also Refugee Week

Feel the impact

Don’t forget the weak

And make us strong

Together

Consider their status is ‘Leave to Remain’

And so we must remain

And become

Together again

 

Long may this solidarity continue

And long may this awareness rise

And these connections be recognised

And become our Collective Conscious

As we became Londoners

Together.                                                                      © Ursula Troche, 6.16

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The Moscow Express Memory Project

My Moscow Express (Memory Project): I remember a spectacular train from my childhood days: a daily Express that came all the way from Moscow! It was so spectacular because we lived in the West, ie. on the other side of the Iron Curtain. Where

we were, was West Germany then, and then there was this phenomenal train from the Eastern Bloc that came through our little town! And it ran on regular schedule throughout the Cold War, it went through the Wall each time! It is now considered so surreal that people sometimes don’t believe me when I mention it. And I would love to delve into the history of the train and find out what happened there, who was on it (because I don’t think many people could take it, bearing in mind our then Super-power-separation-imposition (was the train full of spies in wonder…)) It was called the East-West Express and it ran between Moscow and London (or Hoek van Holland, but on the time table the ferry was included so you could go straight through). So that’s a long distance and means it’s long line. Why I call it the Moscow Express is because its carriages were Soviet style: a olive- green with a yellow-ochre stripe in the middle (I think some old British train cars oddly and amazingly have the same design!).

Our stop on the line was Loehne – a small town between Hannover and the Dutch border. It so happens that Loehne is also on one of the major train routes between north and south, so this means the small town of Loehne is a major railway junction – that’s why it’s mentioned in the anti-war novel All Quiet on the Western Front (by E. M. Remarque, 1928). This too explains why this major kind of intercontinental East West Express actually had a stop in our town! (though from 1968 trains no longer stopped here but only ran through; but I still remember well its remarkable look). So, on a daily basis you could have gone to Moscow direct! I don’t know how long it took at the border by the Wall in Berlin – I would love to know. This is why I would love to hear from people who took this magic train!

The train line of course still exists – here is a map of train routes I found on the internet, going to Moscow (and other former Soviet destinations) from Berlin. mobile picsOne ut 366  In May of this year I decided to travel along this train route (I went to Berlin then anyway, to perform at the annual Fountainhead Black International Film Festival) as far as I can go without needing a visa: that is Terespol. Terespol is at the eastern end of Poland, so it’s the last stop in the EU – the country that comes after this is now Belarus, formerly Russia, formerly the Soviet Union – or, in other words, the country where Marc Chagall comes from! The first town that you would reach in Belarus is Brest – and in fact, Teresol and Brest are almost a bit like East and West Berlin, they are twins, sitting very close together, but with a big border in the middle.

What I found, however, when taking the old Moscow Express train route this time round, is that the train is no longer direct, at every big stop along the line you have to change, and so you no longer see the Soviet train but just local ones, which run from one border to another but not across them – except the smaller borders within the EU. So, a train to the west of Berlin ends in Berlin, then the next section on the line ends in Warsaw, the one

after that ends in Terespol, and so on. So here is the irony: back in the day, when the Wall was standing there was a direct train, and now that the Wall is gone, there is no such train. The train went with the Wall…. The crazy contradictions of our times…

Going to Terespol was nevertheless a big and magic (borderline!) experience! I set off that

morning from Biala Podlaska (about half way between Warsaw and Terespol)

and a big taste of Eastern style, and arrived here:

with houses and buildings and traditional Russian style, such as this beautiful blue orthodox church. And even many of the ordinary houses are built in this style. mobile picsOne ut 1001

with magic orthdox crosses of two sorts – the latter looking to me like a lovely cross between a Japanese zen sign and a railway signal!

I had never forgotten about the East West Express but since I moved from West to East London I think about it much more often. Directions can have magic effects!  And since then I have been writing poems etc about this my beloved considered surreal train, so there I’ll post more here about the whole border thing and how to break through itas the train had done! – though now there are even more borders to cross, in more sense than one…

with different postcolonialities, different colours, different lines, different trains (of thought) to invent…