As Lenin looks down from his sombre pedestal
Concrete erupts from a bleak landscape like
The broken teeth of windswept peasants
Drinking homemade vodka in a windswept square
Constantly looking over a shoulder for the secret police
Writing secret notes in a secret file
With a secret pencil, Russian style,
About what you said to the man on the rusty old tram
About Pyotr, Pavel and Yuri from the KGB
About how long you must wait for your new TV
About what you might be having tonight for your tea
If there's food to be found in the shops at all.
Such thoughts will swirl and wash our brains.
A vision of Europe’s darker side
Where those we know would never go.
We’ve seen the films, read the books,
Been drip fed all the propaganda, cruel slander.
Believing all that we are told, like sheep in the fold.
‘Why the hell would you want to live over there?’
Shock and horror as I broke the news
To scores of people who couldn’t see
Why I would leave Britain where we are free
To do any old thing that we choose
Except think of what might lie elsewhere.
Now from my doorstep I see only colour
As seasons freeze and thaw, scorch and tint
The forest beyond my garden wall.
From distant mountains topped with snow,
Rivers rush and legends flow from mouths of folks
Keen to show where Orpheus emerged from the dark below.
We’ve the finest yoghurt and the oldest gold
Ever found in all the world
We have roses, vineyards and monasteries,
Choirs and storks and bees and cheese.
With an alphabet of our own, a tongue that’s spoken as if sung.
In quiet streets, shopping malls, busy squares or market halls
Just a single note or two from bagpipe, dumbek, flute or lute
Joins total strangers hand in hand
In a sporadic outbreak of national dance.
Emotional shivers shoot up my spine; immobilised with pride.
Mother Bulgaria on a lovely evening in Veliko Tarnovo.