Foreign Policy

I wrote this poem not long after watching Gurinder Chadha’s Viceroy’s House, a film about the partition of India in 1947 and the creation of Pakistan. However, in this poem, I talk about many other colonies of the British Empire (not just India).

Other influences include Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander and Sons of Liberty. This first is a series based on the books by Diana Gabaldon about a woman who has fallen through time from 1945 to 1743 in Jacobite Scotland.

The second America’s War of Independence and the antics of Sam Adams, Ben Franklin and the rebels who freed White America from the British Empire (there were still slaves in 1776!)

The poem Suicide in the Trenches by Siegfried Sassoon was also a big help but its usage here isn’t part of my response poetry thread. John Agard’s Flag also came into play when I wrote Foreign Policy. 


Scotland’s dislike for the sassenach goes
way back in time when blood-breasted
soldiers marched with rhythm and rhyme.
Committing all numbers of war crimes,

they blitzed Bonnie Prince Charlie and
his men in the Forty-Five – lead teeth tore
through their brains – nobody spoke
of them again.

Then there was Ireland’s Easter – freedom
fighters, rogue rebels – 1916, soldiers depleted
at the Somme, and then the Crown frowned,
as towns were levelled. History repeated.

The English bought properties forcing
the Irish from their homes, leaving
them to roam through grassland glades,
further dividing the nation.

She was more than a battle of beliefs
– a book of revelations – they made the
Irish think themselves inferior, whilst
England stood tall, rich and superior.

India 1919: the Amritsar Massacre –
bullets whistled like an icy wind, Gandhi
led civil marches and protests, stressed
at imperial ideologies.

Churchill had a plan – he said: “let’s
cut a hole in India and call it Pakistan,
it’ll be like carving a cake.” Many Muslims
bled travelling to a destination

they may never make – the streets inflated
with violence – fires and fights – dimmed
Diwali lights and now political choirs with
torn tongues like seasoned liars.

Previously known as the Minutemen –
Lone rogues who rebelled, labelled
as tyrannical hooligans who belong in cells
They were The Sons of Liberty,

patriots who fought for their land, while
the English soldiers bloodied their sand.
After much blood has been spilled, America
wins, but both sides must repent their sins.

General George is worshipped like a saint
but he used slaves without complaint – I do
wish slavery was a dream but this is how harsh
humanity is, standing with esteem.

England’s borders spanned the entire world
and around the globe its borders curled. To
Australia, they sent prison inmates on the
backs of ships, in cages like primates.

Britain committed eternal damnations, whilst
slaves worked sugar plantations – whipped for
freethinking and mutiny at the brunt of scrutiny
and abused for being alive.

Contrived – the English simply can’t be trusted.
Their personalities are just plain busted. They
play a façade. They mean one thing and then
they say “On Guard!”


Good Immigrant

Inspired from Black is the New Black, part of the BBC’s Black and British Black History season in November 2016


Home away from home.
From one island to another.
From the plains of Africa to
slavery to a land paved with gold.
That last one, a story sold on hearsay.

Made in the image of our creator.
Black skin, white masks –
ticking that Black British box –
a task, a struggle to understand
who you really are.

Children of the colonies, whose
parents prospered from their labour.
Strong in our pride, only smelling
the flavour when we came to see
what we had built for our mother.

The story of Black Britain (the story of immigrants in Britain) is the story of Britain, it is not a happy story
(Black And British, bbc.co.uk)

Stately homes, art galleries,
government buildings and so on.
The Barclays Brothers, Lloyds TSB
and JP Morgan all got fat on slavery’s
salaries – black people, slaves –
likened to an exotic menagerie.

Walter Tull! Mary Seacole! Trevor Macdonald!
Mary Prince! And many more since …
Citizen or a visitor? Countryperson or
an interloper? Not just men, women and
children passing through the middle passage.
No more slaves to throw overboard like the Zong.

Now when you stand up against what’s wrong,
your right as a citizen, whiteness cackles
like hyenas into the night – and then they
call you a criminal for protesting for what’s
rightfully yours – a job, decent housing, a wage

If there’s a statue for white figures like Florence Nightingale, there should be a statue for Mary Seacole
(Mary Seacole, bbc.co.uk)

not to throw people in a cage, prison cells
like it’s 1780, then Brixton happened.
1981: rebelling like the free slave state
of Haiti, conveniently three years before
slave trade ceased in the British Empire .

The story of the immigrant in Britain
is the story of Britain, it’s not a happy
story. But it’s all we’ve got.