‘Bidding Adieu to Britain’, a poem by Anne Tannam

Books Upstairs Poetry Day Ireland poetry competition winner

You can keep

the wagon-wheel table, the wedding photos,
the polished vowels, the stiff upper lip,

the crushed velvet curtains, the crystal goblets,
the public schools, the God Save the Queen.

You can also keep


the well-tended gardens, the border plants,
the English rose, the thorn in your side,

the surround-sound system, the well-worn record,
the endless sequels, the Empire Strikes Back.

You can definitely keep the children: Russell, Ant & Dec

but I'll take the Great British Bake-Off,
the BBC's adaptation of Pride & Prejudice

and we’ll let the real grown-ups sort out the rest.

Anne Tannam is the author of two poetry collections: Take This Life (WordOnTheStreet 2011) and Tides Shifting Across My Sitting Room Floor (Salmon Poetry 2017)