Brita: This is what Britain would be

If it left the EU

If it was no longer in

You wouldn’t even be able to spell it!

It wouldn’t be in one piece anymore!

Something would have broken off it

So BritaIN is in by default

As part of its anatomy, its grammer,

Its consistency: that’s what the word says!


You can’t change it

Without changing Britain to Brita

Losing it’s ‘in’, feeling short-changed!


So you can’t take the EU out of Britain, it’s IN!

So you can’t take it out

Without changing the whole language

And is that worth it?


Who would want to live in Brita?

Who wouldn’t feel

That there is something missing?                                                                    © Ursula Troche, 8.16

Break-off     As the referendum drew to a close, I returned from work. I had been working at Morley College, just south of the river, and not too far from the Houses of Parliament across the bridge. As I finished at 9 pm, I walked across that bridge, across the river, past these oh so familiar Houses, as the sky had gone into evening mode. It, the sky, was some sort of hazy, foggy orange – maybe an effect of the flood that morning. I was looking sharply at these Houses (as sharp as was possible in that foggy light) and asked myself: would these Houses continue to stand, or what they swim away, disintegrate, break off and out, or roll down the River Thames! Would the land hold or would the water take it? And would the water then submerge the structure until no more structure, no more framework, prevails?

By next morning it had indeed gone swimming! It had left! Houses in the water!

The Parliament of course hadn’t, government had – but at that moment the flux took all, it had taken all of us who were in shock!

Like there was no more leg to stand on, no more land to tread on, live on, and rely on like a rock, as we had done all these years, even in opposition! Even though capitalism bugs us and colonialism bugs us, we had still somehow believed in the land – knowing that there are ‘people like us’ here and across the borders.

This shaken land was somehow still there, but now, having left, it had estranged itself from its neighbours. It now felt like a ghost town, ghost land, ghost country, ghastly lonely, deserted, surreal, ‘left’ alone.

The good irony of course, is that the Thames flows into the North Sea, and the North Sea takes its waters further into Europe! It’s part of a system that it can’t deny. It can flow but it can’t hide. Norway and Iceland have never her ignored this system because they contribute to the International Community in the EEA, and as Nordic Neighbours. Now this country didn’t want EEA, it didn’t want the EU, it has denied itself.

It has to be said that the water too, is not to blame: listen to the Shipping Forecast and you will hear!  – Europe is all around us. There should really be no illusions over where we belong.


Though we somehow know that the land can’t escape, it had pretended that it can, and so that ‘Brexit moment’ was one of homelessness (and hopelessness). If it leaves the EU, where will it go? There is no other family that could take it in, because if you look on a map, you will find that there is no other Community it could belong to than the European one!

It could cut itself off but then what? What will it do on its own, without people coming and going, no hussle and no bussle, just a lonely island in need of love and affection. It had severed itself from its cozy home that it had all these years.


Some of us had been used to feeling and living otherness, mostly for postcolonial reasons, identity and all that. But with the referendum a further, totally new dimension had come in. Like a curtain call – but we don’t show ourselvs to an audience after. Like an Iron Curtain or a Veil.

Oh please let the sun shine in! I want the Age of Aquarius, I don’t want separation, I don’t want to come to a standstill!

Like a lost belonging – like a belonging lost.

The ‘Right to Remain’: this is an organisation campaigning for refugees. And now have to campaign for the right to remain in the EU, now we have become refugees. We are all refugees now! Will we get Leave to Remain for the UK?


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