ECHR 70th Anniversary - Poem by David Watkinson, former Joint Head of Garden Court Chambers

Wednesday 11 November 2020

We are hugely grateful to David Watkinson for continuing the longstanding tradition of writing and delivering poems to mark special occasions at Garden Court Chambers.

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The ECHR - The Beginning and the Present

(with apologies to Wilfred Owen (Strange Meeting) and William Wordsworth (The Happy Warrior))


It seemed that out of darkness we escaped

Through granite which titanic wars had groined

And came upon a place where nations met

And determined that they by law be joined


The basis of this law is reason and this continent depends

Upon that law as on the best of friends

Which, in a world where men are tempted still

To evil, stands guard against worst ill.


Can there be

Those who would prefer to see

Servitude or slavery

No right to liberty

No fair trial nor right to respect for home, private life or family

No freedom of thought, religion, speech or assembly?


I fear that there well may be

And that they are not absent

Even in our government

So we must all then vigilant be

To preserve these rights for all humanity.


David Watkinson, Garden Court Chambers

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