A European in Leicester: a poem on Brexit

In this post Hulya Oztel shares a poem she wrote after the Brexit vote, capturing how she feels as a French citizen working and living in the UK.


I did not know I cared for the Channel that much,
I did not know I cared at all.
I now realise she was sheltering me.

Britain thinks she has left Europe
United she has – with the worst of the continent.

The gangrene has spread,
Spilling out of foul mouths – aloud.

The gangrene has spread,
Its stench pushing us apart.

The gangrene has spread,
polluting our children’s future

Hulya’s feelings mirror those expressed by P.J. Harvey in her song “England” (listen here). They reflect the sadness that stems from the rise of the far right – in France over the last 20 years, and now in the UK.

Hulya Oztel is Principal Lecturer at the Leicester Business School in De Montfort University