Canticle for a Racist

After he died
they all but renamed the pub
The Hagiographers’ Arms.

That corner seat
which to hear him talk
was the last true seat

of untainted Englishness
has now the feel of a shrine
where a candle flickers against

but never quite burns
a list of nationalities
he’d not have had sit there.

That torrent of unfounded hate
the first pint unleashed –
you’d have thought he’d held forth

with the moral purpose
of St Thomas Aquinas or
Mother Theresa.

The way the regulars
speak of him now
he might have been royalty.

Neil Fulwood has published two collections with Shoestring Press, "No Avoiding It" and "Can’t Take Me Anywhere", with a third - "Service Cancelled" - due out in June 2021. He lives and works in Nottingham. Read other articles by Neil.