I close a door and lose the chance

For you and me to learn to dance

I close a door and fail to see,

that you are very much like me.

I close a door, then stand behind

My prejudice and fixed stone mind

I close a door and what could be gain,

is left to die in lingering pain.

I close a door and forget to embrace

a different culture, a different face.


On a recent plane journey, I sat next to a German university lecturer, who has made his home in the UK. After an hour long wait for the plane to take off, frustrations were building. At one point, the man in question quickly crumpled up his newspaper and said, “I can’t read this anymore” then promptly apologised. He was expressing his frustrations about Brexit. What followed was a shared conversation of sadness, dismay and exasperation at the trajectory my country is choosing to take. When explaining his sadness, my fellow European then said something that surprised me. ” We are grateful to England,” he said, “You liberated us!”

His words expressed a weight of emotion that I have never heard and a perspective on history that I have never considered, or for that matter, been presented with. I felt as if we were like two children caught up the most bitter of divorce cases. We chatted for the rest of the journey, parting at our destination with a shared solidarity at our circumstances, and enriched by a fleeting conversation.

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