Tag Archives: immigration

Language lost to Night

You still had it in old age, I heard you speak it to a fellow patient
in your new home so far way from your

Mother Tongue

A remaining trace of an island locked in the Middle Sea
when I visit I am recognised as native but I have not the

Mother Tongue

How was it to build a life away from home and sunshine
at home in Bagdad, alien in Brighton, and no

Mother Tongue

I wish I could sit with you once more
take your hand, hear more stories of Malta, hear your

Mother Tongue

Copyright © 2022 Kim Whysall-Hammond

For Grampee….

Alphred Dominic Brown 1897 – 1979

Hidden Freedoms

Child of Empire, he freely starved in Valetta
Free to resent the many fat priests
Free to go
Desperate, hoping

Stowaway to Istanbul
Free to be beaten by the Ottomans
Sent back to hunger
Not stopped yet

Stowaway to Britain
Set loose in Imperial London
Free to prosper
Free to work

Free-diver repairing Brighton’s Pier
Freely volunteered in 1914’s Expeditionary Force
Free to marry, to be British
Free to stay

Forty descendants, freely British
Freely given gifts of a Maltese boy
Seven fought in British wars
Immigration can be a free gift

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Written for Today’s National Poetry Day, which this year has the theme of Freedom.

As usual, when given a prompt or theme, my mind heads off slightly askew. This poem tells some of the story of my Maltese Grandfather. He came to Britain as a stowaway with nothing, found welcome and work. We need to remember how many of us are descended from people like him — and to remember to allow others similar freedoms.