Blog post

Facts on the Ground

A poem for Jerusalem by Michael Rosen.

Michael Rosen14 December 2017

J. Paul Getty Museum

First published at Artists for Palestine UK

How wise and thoughtful the MPs sound

talking about Israel and the ‘facts on the ground’!

They have ‘reservations about Donald Trump’,

they get a few laughs by calling him a chump

Then they add it’s such a terrible pity

he’s declared that Jerusalem’s the capital city

but then on cue they bring it back round

to talk of Israel and the ‘facts on the ground’.

Funny they should mention that word ‘ground’

’cause anyone who’s looked has always found

that that ground, that land, has always had facts:

they are people who, after many attacks

no longer have great stretches of that land

It’s almost as if, from the start, it was planned

so if it was ‘clever’ that I wanted to sound

I could say these people are facts OFF the ground

So a logical, factual, thoughtful little phrase

is used by our politicians to give some praise

to premiers and generals with a serious intention

to uproot, remove, destroy (but not mention)

the ground and the facts where this takes place.

Politicians on TV with solemn face

appear to condemn Trump for what he’s said,

but choose to ignore the dispossessed and the dead.