It didn’t hurt if he stayed alert,

and kept on top of the pain.

Some days were better than others,

but I never heard him complain.

When asked why he went, he’d just say,

‘someone had to’.

But I’m not sure if he’d do it again.


So, what do you see when you look at me?

I’m curious to know. Is it someone whose father

fought for this country all those years ago?

Under the banner of King and Empire,

recruited and regimented into expeditionary forces

from far-flung corners of the globe;

spoils of Colonial wars fought on barren plains,

later given European names.


Places where maps were redrawn,

from Kenya, Calcutta, and Upper Volta;

to the Caribbean and Senegal.


Windrush giving lie to the promise of recognition

owed to those who fought the good fight.

Conscripted by their Masters of War,

the mother country’s ‘bastard’ children’,

later refused that which was given

to counterparts from Canada and Australia.

Their legitimacy denied by a hostile environment’s

big white lie - none of them understood why!


What is it you are after? There’s nothing left to give.

Yet still the truth remains unspoken,

the gesture politics an empty token to

those perceived from other nations.

Why does everything get lost in translation!




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Stephen Gospage

Fri 24th Mar 2023 16:58

Thank you, Trevor. The Windrush scandal was just that - a scandal.
Good people victimised by incompetents for the sake of mean-spirited gesture politics (as you say).
Your poem is a hymn to their dignity and courage.

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