How we became the pirates

How we became the pirates
In this country you have an accent;
in the pub, a woman mocks it.
you want to ignore her but wonder
how many hearts is she being bold for?
Hate in this place
is restrained as the landscape,
buried, usually, under a polite ‘cheers, mate’.
And what a thing to mock –
the way we shape words differently.
But maybe it’s the old colonial hurt
of how we became the pirates, dark people
raiding English from the English,
stealing poetry from the poets.
So English poetry is no longer from England.
You swear – Lady, if I start a poem
in this country
it will not be yours.

Recording used by permission of the BBC, read by the author for The Verb, 5th October 2007 - from There is Anger That Moves (Carcanet Press, 2007), © Kei Miller 2007, used by permission of the author.

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