Borders by Tom Hulley

Borders by Tom Hulley

Tom Hulley wrote this poem after watching the film of EncoreEast at the Harwich Redoute and listening to the ideas behind the dance work.

‘Watching it reminded me of so many things. Thank you!’ (Tom Hulley)


Are we confined by rules and borders

or free to pass?

Whose rules restrict, whose barriers

try to contain and exclude?

Who gains?

Who gets misused?

Free to pass but my freedom grows


it depends on yours.

No special entitlement,

or privilege, just a right

if it stays right for all.

What kind of freedom is only

a minority sport?

Protection makes things possible

or it stifles and enslaves.

Who controls and who is controlled?

Who makes the rules,

who is ruled?

And in whose interest is it all?

Borders, on maps, in rules and

inside people’s heads

become hard-edged, barbed

and defended by force

although they are imaginary things:

whims and inventions.

Borders are porous,

they act like sieves,

letting the slick man through.

He might bring a favoured woman too

while more deserving folk

face obstacles and barricades.

What if freedom suits the predators

but not the prey?

What kind of freedom is this?

A pretence made out of tinsel,

marching down the streets,

always applauding itself

as it tramples people down;

unless your freedom is my freedom

Unless your freedom

is my freedom and my sister’s too,

and people who look different

who act differently and want

different things.

People who I might like or resent.

Their freedom saves us all.


By Tom Hulley


You can see our film here: