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