Cruel Mother

The Mother Country called and they answered.
They cast off their birds of paradise ways,
left behind the sun’s fierce love
to work in monochrome 1950s Britain.

They came in their best Western clothes:
sharp suits and polished shoes;
full skirts, twinset and pearls, leather handbags;
stepped down from Windrush

ready to start anew, to serve and build.
Woollen mills and cotton mills labour,
cramped into slum housing
where there were no signs forbidding them.

They still smiled, opened windows,
sang in the yards, opened shops for foods
as bright as them, peppers and starfruit,
wakening our dulled taste buds.

Raised families, belonged, enriched lives
until the Mother Country turned cruel,
punishing for no crime, throwing them out
loading them on planes like cargo

to a vanished home where they knew no-one.
their paperwork, like homework done wrong
torn up in front of them by stony officials.
All concept of Mother Country gone.



Angela Topping

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