• A selection of poems

A windrush story

Windrush Story

My father arrived in England in 1955

He came to work on an invitation, leaving behind his life

He left his partner and his children three

To work hard, share his skills and help prop up the UK economy

I was a just baby, just three and a half weeks old

He left me, my brother and sister.

To send for us later, my mother was told

He experienced racism from the day he arrived

He was shaken and sad, not sure he’d survive

He couldn’t get anywhere decent to live

Had to settle for rat infested rooms that only rogue landlords would give.

He later told us of names he was called; how he was shouted at, spat at, and physically mauled.

Over the years he worked hard and settled down

Despite racism still being rife and still scattered around.

When I was five, he sent for us kids

To provide us with a better life and somewhere to live

He told us his tales of what he had endured

Listening to his stories, we were never bored.

He often told us that the colour of our skin

Would be a disadvantage and not let us in

The black shade of our skin would make us stand out

We would encounter, like he had, hatred and shouts.

Shouts to get back from whence we came

We would forever experience racism and racist names

He told us to study hard, to educate our minds

To rise above the negativity and the racist signs

We all did well in education and employment

We managed our lives and gained some enjoyment

But when he returned to the West Indies in ‘74

He gave us kids some advice that we are forever grateful for

He told us to apply for Naturalisation

In case the UK, in years to come, considered repatriation

We all listened and did as we were advised

We are grateful to dad for securing our adult lives

Without this certificate we could be on the plane

Never to step foot in the UK again

Our children too, are thankfully secure

And their children’s lives are at risk no more

They invited them in and treated them so badly

They exploited their skills, and would send them off gladly

Reduced them to tears, depression and mental ill health

Despite the West Indians propping up their wealth

The hostile environment that has now come about

Has created a situation of worry and doubt

Worry about where West Indians’ lives will end

Because Britain seemingly, is no longer their friend

My dad came here in 1955 on the UK’s invitation

The Windrush hostility is a direct result of this situation

We must all join together and support the fight

And help West Indian families secure their rights

Alyson Malach

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