‘Colony’ Poem in Poetry Wales vol 59 Summer


Your words in my mouth

are bitter

            a double dispossession:

of the land itself,

of its relationship with me

  • a double supplantation.

My words in your mouth

are strange

            a double reiving:

of my tongue itself,

of its cadences and music

  • a double apprehension.

This is the first stanza of my poem in the current issue of Poetry Wales summer 2023. ‘Colony’ goes on to describe how the language of the coloniser enters the colonised, establishing a kind of internal territory, invisible but powerful.

The poem then envisages the ‘journey’ of the language of a colonised people into the coloniser, where it affects the coloniser’s inner life in ways unexpected in the act of colonisation.

These processes are colonisations at the most intimate levels. What hope is there for a just and mutually positive outcome?

Please consider reading the whole poem in Poetry Wales