By Stanley Collymore
Deserted and callously abandoned by you because
you cowardly didn’t have the guts or gumption
to stand up to your domineering parents and
courageously tell them that it’s your life
and therefore you’ve every right to live
it as you thought fit and perceptibly
without the kind of unwarranted
interference they’d been subjecting you to; and not only
expecting but also unremittingly demanding too that
you submissively and uncomplainingly reined in
your natural feelings for me by unemotionally
and as they apparently saw it pragmatically
and intentionally supplanting these with
social-climbing and most particularly
financially-motivated ambitions in
which love consciously wasn’t allowed to play any part
whatsoever, even when as was perfectly well known
the specified and calamitous outcomeof this cold-
blooded and unnatural union was unmistakably
guaranteed to engender at its best what was a
noticeable dilemma and at its worst, and not
so smart, a suppressed but all the same an
intensely troubled and distinctly broken
heart. However, notwithstanding that
you none the less still calculatingly
went ahead with what had been
resolved and that you would
compliantly be doing, and
in the process effectively
and quite literally killed
off the enormous store
of love that I had for
you stone cold dead!
© Stanley V. Collymore
15 December 2015.
Throughout the 19th century it was quite commonplace for the feckless daughters of well-heeled, vaingloriously assertive and social-climbing Americans to be married off to the sons of the significantly impoverished so-called British aristocracy. A manifestly symbiotic relationship where the American half of these contrived unions got the purported social standing they craved and the British for their part got the money that they were after. And in 21st Century Britain many of those swaning around with their pretentious, discernibly ludicrous and quite risible to those that intelligently observe them airs and graces of class “superiority” owe their very existence to this calculatingly exercised prostitution – for that’s what it really amounted to – by these, shall we say, alleged ancestors bearing in mind the strong prevalence of the art of cuckolding of these males British aristos by several of these American imports who invariably didn’t marry for love or with any passion attached to these marital arrangements but in the adulterous stakes were to put it bluntly absolute thoroughbreds. And why I instinctively see these British toffs as essentially a load of bastards both literally and figuratively. Couldn’t resist that! The caste of females for these British aristos may have altered somewhat but isn’t it just amazing how some things in life continue to remain constant?
So why am I writing this poem? Well the genesis for it goes back some two decades. I had decided to return to full time study from my teaching because I wanted to train as a journalist and so took an extended sabbatical for this. And at the outset of my journalistic training I met a Black Barbadian female who was also on the course. Other than our common Bajan ancestry and the fact that she came from the same region of Barbados that my parents and a number of my relatives living in Barbados emanated from she was a truly good sport and we got on tremendously well and became firm friends. I also learnt that she had recently got engaged and the lucky guy was from the British aristocracy who I also met and became friends with. Anyway I learnt from both of them during one of our several conversations that from the perspective of his parents it hadn’t been all been plain sailing. Essentially when their relationship started to get serious he contacted his parents as he had long left home and told them he’d met this wonderful young lady and how much she meant to him. Like all interested parents his had asked to meet the young female who was his girlfriend then and suggested that he bring her to the family home. He mentioned this to his girlfriend and as she had no objection whatsoever to this it was agreed that they would go and visit his parents on a mutually agreed weekend, which they did. They arrived in the dead of night as the journey had been a long one from where they were, were let into the family home by one of the servants and because of the hour went straight to bed. So the first that his parents would see of this Bajan girl was when she was summoned down to breakfast by him the next morning.
Fast forward and the humorous account of what transpired we occasionally recount when we meet up each other. Everything is going swimmingly for them now they’re married and have a family of their own. But apparently you could have cut the atmosphere with a knife when this beautiful and absolutely graceful black female appeared for breakfast and met her boyfriend’s parents for the very first time. I asked him why he didn’t mention to his mum and dad that his intended was Black to which he promptly replied that sine he wouldn’t have been expected to state that she was white if that was her racial status he didn’t see any need for doing so because his girlfriend was Black; and since this guy quite frankly didn’t then and still to this day doesn’t have a solitary racist bone in his entire body I could see, understand and appreciate where he was coming from.
Several years later when I moved to Germany to live and work there just about 14 months after I’d been in the country I quite accidentally met this absolutely gorgeous female who subsequentlay became my Partner. Nothing untoward in that as pleasurable accidents do happen, but when we somehow coincidentally seem to keep bumping into each other at the same place something concrete had to be done about that and it quite satisfactorily was. Three months after that and with us mutually seeing quite a lot of each other she asked if I would like to spend the upcoming Easter at her parents’ home in the country. I asked her if she was quite sure about that as I hadn’t previously met them because she and I lived in different parts of Germany from them, to which she responded: “Of course! Why else would I ask you?” I smiled but she could sense that something was circulating through my head that I hadn’t mentioned. And in her frank manner she literally told me to spit it out. So I related the story and experience of my Bajan friend; she saw the funny side of it and assured me that outspoken as she’d got to know I was there wouldn’t be any altercations with her family as they already knew who and what I was, and even if they didn’t it wouldn’t make the slightest bit of difference to them.
The Easter holiday was fantastic, a gathering of the family clan as it were, and my hosts were quite superb. And what better environment could two people very much in love with each other actually want? However as we strolled through the grounds of the family estate, came to this splendid lake that formed a part of it and sat down surveying the picturesque scene before us and contrasting the difference in reactions to what my Bajan friend had initially received on meeting her future in-laws and our own position I thanked her and told her how grateful I was for all that had happened. She smiled warmly and reciprocated my feelings adding that the only worry and fleetingly so initially was that I would head back to England for Easter and not taken up her invitation. I explained that wasn’t an option but jokingly queried what she would do had I done so? “I would have considered your behaviour most unbecoming and thoroughly unforgivable,” she laughed. Hence the title of this poem and consciously looking at it from an entirely different perspective than our own. For I instinctively knew what my partner meant and gave her a massive hug. Well what else do you want to know as it’s none of your business what transpired after that? So there!
And although these two specific relationships I’ve mentioned here in these tweets are functioning as admirably as we could ever have wished them to I know that there are many of you out there not as fortunate as we are and who haven’t the willpower to take your destiny into your own hands and map the course of your own lives; and hopefully what you’ve read here will give you the courage to do so. And at this Christmas season of goodwill: “Have a Happy Christmas and a rewarding New Year!”