Simon Williams

Poem of My Own Migration

I am English.
My mother, from a family of thatchers,
born of a Major and an English Rose,
married a man from South Wales
who moved from the coal fields
to make himself as an engineer
in London, in the Fleet Air Arm.
And now we say they shouldn’t come.

I am Welsh,
my father, his father, too,
most probably their mothers,
taken from the stock that fought
guerilla wars against the French,
made them set their castles down.
And now we say they shouldn’t come.

I am Norman,
my name says I’m one of
William’s men, who took the
Eastern counties but never cleared
the Western hills, looking out to Ireland,
protected by the sea.
And now we say they shouldn’t come.

I am Viking;
Norman is the French for those
who took the land of Normandy.
This is Norse for pirate raid,
each strong-armed longship crew
going on a ‘viking’.
And now we say they shouldn’t come.

I am German,
from the plains and moving north,
finding more grass to feed stock,
fjords to harbour boats,
good fishing in the deep, deep cuts.
I take a living where I come from, where I go
and now we say they shouldn’t come.

I am Assyrian,
as some would say the Germans are,
or Greek, Italian, Mesopotamian.
I come out of the Middle East
and Africa, half the world of it,
where people first became tribes
and now we say they shouldn’t come.

I am of the Great Rift,
the broods of man-apes,
migrating where gathering is good,
where food is more than here. I am of
the Serengeti, I climb the catechu,
stare to the horizon. I know sometime
we will come there.

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