Papa painted the walls
He painted them pretty pink.
He went to the slaughter-house.
begged a bucket,
mixed it with lime-wash
and thickly slapped it
Pretty, that pink.
Yeah, but how many died for that bucket of blood?
So? They were foreigners all.
Written for Crimson’s Creative Challenge 23
The traditional cottage in Norfolk and Suffolk was painted in shades of pink, produced by adding ox-blood to lime-wash. And so began my poem.
Until recent years, Norfolk villagers refered to any newcomer not Norfolk-bred as a foreigner. A ‘foreigner’ could live in a village 50 years and still be considered foreign. This attitude probably dates to the Dark Ages, when Norfolk and Suffolk (then considered an homogenous whole) was set apart from the rest of Britain by water (the Fens) and dense woodlands that stretched far to south. In those days, intruders were usually bent on theft or conquest, and therefore were feared and fought. And so arises my final line.