Rupert Brooke’s “The Soldier,” Updated for Modern Use
Now that I’m dead, think only this of me:
At least one corner of an English field
will be forever England. There shall be
in that small plot a deeper plot concealed;
a plot which England fell for unaware:
The giving of her self – to make a home
for those not English, for whom English air,
is not breathable unless blest: Shalom.
Bismillah. All Englishness shed away,
each pulse in the national mind is less
English. All old thoughts by England given
lie with me, dead dreams fatal as her day:
for tolerance, learnt in school, breeds weakness.
I rot away, under a foreign heaven.
I am not part of this place, I wasn’t
given the chance, taken, as I was, at
war’s end and sent across to a distant
world. One that I wasn’t part of, one that
I would always remain distinct to, not
of, alien, stranger. And now the same
distinction befalls me, here at this spot
which I thought I still belonged to. I came
to reclaim who I was, and to be where
I still fit . . . where I belong. But I don’t
fit here, not any more. They have lived here
too long. I’m not part of them – and I won’t
ever be. I left. They came. That’s that. I’m
from nowhere now, a stranger all the time.
We shall go on, because we must go on.
There is nothing to negotiate. No
matter what must be done or undergone
we must go on. And because we must, so
we shall. Whether we go on to rise
at once, or after all, whether it be
that what we rise for is criminalized
or worse, we must go on. There’s nothing we
can do that is more important than this:
We must go on. Whatever we can do,
however we can do it, this much is
clear–there’s only one way we’re going to
continue, only one way we’re staying
who we are. We go on. And keep going.