John Agard, BBC


Remember the Ship


As citizen

of the English tongue


I say remember

the ship

in citizenship


for language

is the baggage

we bring -


a weight

of words to ground

and give us wing -


as millennial waters

beckon wide


and love's anchor

waiting to be cast


will the ghost of race

become the albatross

we shoot at our cost?


I'm here to navigate -

not flagellate

with a whip of the past


for is not each member

of the human race

a ship on two legs


charting life's tidal

rise and fall


as the ship

of the sun

unloads its light


and the ship

of night

its cargo of stars


again I say remember

the ship

in citizenship


and diversity

shall sound its trumpet

outside the bigot's wall


and citizenship shall be

a call

to kinship


that knows

no boundary

of skin


and the heart

offer its wide harbours

for Europe's new voyage


to begin