Jo Waterworth lives in Somerset and has been writing for many years. She is currently studying at Bath Spa University, and has had several competition successes. Her pamphlet 'My Father Speaks in Poetry Too' is published by Poetry Space of Bristol, and she is an author and editor of an anthology available in e-book form, 'Thirteen Women'. This poem, Migrant, won the Chipping Sodbury Poetry Prize 2013. She also writes articles and short stories and gave birth to her first child at Glastonbury Festival in 1985.
I wrote this poem in a friend's bardic workshop last summer, in which we invoked the spirit of inspiration (Awen) at the start of each session. The poem came out of my dismay at the way immigrants were being portrayed in the media in Britain. I wondered how it would feel if we were the economic migrants, seeking a better way of life in a new country hostile to our presence.
This language sounds like mountains,
tastes like the flowering of gorse,
looks like nothing from my earth.
It is not green. It is not damp.
This language is spoken by despots,
is spoken by young women who chew its vowels,
is spoken by boys with sure aim,
is misunderstood by all.
This language is not my birthright.
This language is all I have to eat.