Stand here to celebrate freedom – poem by Bruce Marsland


Stand here to celebrate freedom

Welcome to Free World and thank you for your purchase.
You have chosen the standard celebration of freedom.

Please now surrender all possessions for inspection.
Most items will be returned after your celebration.
This is for your safety.

Take a moment to read the lists of prohibited objects.
Persons carrying or wearing these articles will not be admitted.
This is for your safety.

Wait quietly and do not shout or push or step outside the lines.
Non-cooperation will entail immediate expulsion from freedom.
This is for your safety.

We know the queue is long. We know the children are crying.
We know the sun is hot and you have no money left for water,
but comparisons with Auschwitz are entirely inappropriate
and we will consider them legally actionable.

When the moment arrives for you to celebrate,
move to your designated spot, coloured according to your ticket.

Your hostess will provide you with a limited-edition flag
and will lead you in enjoying the song of freedom.

Waving other flags or singing other songs
will result in your removal from the chamber of freedom.

Remember, no photographs, no recording,
no smoking, no drinking, no phone calls,
no whispering, no questions, no loitering.

Your celebration will last three minutes. When your time expires,
your hostess will escort you to the quickest exit.

A CCTV video of your celebration will be available
in our gift shop, so family and friends can share your freedom.

Have a wonderful time and let our work make you free.

Stand here to celebrate freedom by Bruce Marsland was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (August 2018) judged by Roger Elkin

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