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The Last of England by Chris Morgan

Based on Ford Maddox Brown The Last of England

The Last Of England
A symphony of hands:
his, hers, the baby's,
others on deck behind.
The tails of her fuchsia
headscarf flap and billow
the day's only brightness
in a strengthening grey breeze.
Their middle-class expressions
show fixed determination,
staring at us from Brown's wood -
not eager for a final glimpse
of homely chalk cliffs,
grimly imagining, perhaps,
the far southern continent:
convicts, kangaroos, Shiraz,
and the worrying possibility
of their descendants growing up
to obsess over sport and to end
every sentence with an interrogative?

Chris Morgan
27 September 2006