Belonging

Hey everyone. This poem on identity shows how different people or groups can view the same space in very contrasting ways. Examples of this include Ulster, Palestine, or even Scotland. One only needs to think back to last year’s independence referendum to see two very contrasting views of the political geography, history, and future of both Scotland and Britain. Indeed even within both sides of the debate there were those on each who had more in common with some opponents than they did with those on the same campaign team. To me this reflects the difficulties identity politics can provide. As a geography and politics honours graduate I think the poem illustrates the importance of geography and class the influence they can and do have over the politics of a nation and various areas within it. Written in 2009 I’ve titled the poem Belonging, I hope you enjoy the read.

Belonging

One world
many communities
one landscape
many interpretations
contested geographies
traditions histories
contrasts and conflicts
in the family of nations

some are denied
their right to choices
others impose
their colonial view
each will claim theirs
is the only way forward
patriot soldier
or loyal and true

In the beginning
the rich and powerful
marked out their territories
the poor had no claim
they made the badges
of cultural identity
they were the ones
who made rules for the game

one dream
many illusions
each of us values
our own sense of place
we all weave a tapestry
diverse and different
as we search for belonging
in this human race

@ Gayle Smith 2009

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