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Windrush poems

I am A Windrush Child: From the Caribbean

Leaving, dilatorily, the ship went as I was moving from my home country.

The ship was dancing on the waves, that motion made me feel nauseous.

Memories were rummaging through my mind.

I was on a roller coaster of emotions, why am I leaving?

My mum says she needs a better job and more money.

I think I was fine in the Caribbean; we had plenty of food at home, even our own luxurious mango tree.

I was so bored, until I made a friend on the ship; we were on there for 10 weeks though.

When we arrived in England, sweaty, dull, dark and foggy England, my excited expectations were shattered; tears beamed down my eyes, like a fountain;

It’s the best, most interesting country – ever, they would say,

A bunch of despicable lies.

Now we needed an accommodation, it was a small house for me and my parents.

In the Caribbean we had a better house and a garden,

We had rats, ants and roaches – I hated it here.

(Taciana Laven age 11)

I am a Windrush Child

In the Caribbean, I had to pack my bag. Then I was in a bus to the dock, I was excited to go to England.

When I was on the boat I was very hungry.

When we arrived in England, we were very shocked, we got a house, it had one room, and we were so hungry.

In the living room there were rats on the floor, thy my mum and dad got jobs.

(Chelsea Luz age 7)

New home bad life

22nd June 1948 was the day that we were arriving to our new sweet home.

It has been 10 weeks since we got on the boat, it was a great journey but at the same time it was a disaster; adult and children feeling ill.

Laughing, cheering and jumping up and down in the boat: what was my new house like? What was my new school going to be like? What food?

There were lots of questions in my head that i wanted answers to.

More than 2 months in the ‘Windrush ship’ feeling lonely and sad because I am starting to miss my home – Mum said it was going to be alright.

(Luana age 11)

The Windrush

In the Caribbean, the first thing I had to pack was my bag with shoes, clothes and socks.

So I had to go the harbour, I got the bus, I was feeling excited and over the moon.

I was on the boat and felt sea sick, anxious and dizzy.

When I got to England I wanted to find a house.

In England I was happy to start a new life

(Caleb Dhiliway)

BANS O’ Killing - Poem by Louise Bennett (Miss Lou)

So yuh a de man , me hear bout!

Ah yuh dem sey dah-teck

Whole heap o’English oat sey dat

Yuh gwine kill dialect!

Meck me get it straight Miss Charlie

For me noh quite understand

Yuh gwine kill all English dialect

Or jus Jamaica one?

Ef yuh dah-equal up wid English

Language, den wha meck

Yuh gwine go feel inferior, wen

It come to dialect?

Ef yuh ken sing, “Linstead Market”

An “Wata come a me y’eye”,

Yuh wi haffi tap sing “Auld lang syne”

An “Comin thru de rye”.

DSah language weh yuh prod o’,

Weh yuh honour and respeck,

Po’ Mass Charlie! Yuh noh know sey

Dat it spring from dialect!

Dat dem start fe tun language,

From the fourteen century,

Five hundred years gawn and dem got

More dialect dan we!

Yuh wi haffe kill de Lanchashire

De Yorkshire, de Cockney

De broad Scotch and de Irish brogue

Before yuh start kill me!

Yuh we haffe get de Oxford book

O’ English verse, an tear

Out Chaucer, Burns, Lady Grizelle

An plenty o’ Shhakespeare!

Wen yuh done kill “wit” an “humour”

Wen yuh kill “Variety”

Yuh wi haffe fine a way fe kill


An mine how yuh dah-read dem English

Book deh pon you shelf

For ef yuh drop a “h” yuh mighta

Haffe kill yuhself.

Bennett , L. (1966) Jamaican Labrish, Sangster’s Book Stores, Jama


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