Originally Poem by Carol Ann Duffy

Originally



We came from our own country in a red room
which fell through the fields, our mother singing
our father's name to the turn of the wheels.
My brothers cried, one of them bawling, Home,
Home, as the miles rushed back to the city,
the street, the house, the vacant rooms
where we didn't live any more. I stared
at the eyes of a blind toy, holding its paw.

All childhood is an emigration. Some are slow,
leaving you standing, resigned, up an avenue
where no one you know stays. Others are sudden.
Your accent wrong. Corners, which seem familiar,
leading to unimagined pebble-dashed estates, big boys
eating worms and shouting words you don't understand.
My parents' anxiety stirred like a loose tooth
in my head. I want our own country, I said.

But then you forget, or don't recall, or change,
and, seeing your brother swallow a slug, feel only
a skelf of shame. I remember my tongue
shedding its skin like a snake, my voice
in the classroom sounding just like the rest. Do I only think
I lost a river, culture, speech, sense of first space
and the right place? Now, Where do you come from?
strangers ask. Originally? And I hesitate.

COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Doash 13 May 2018

How is this poem about 'identity'?

0 1 Reply
Stalin 21 September 2022

What an idiotic comment. You are worse than Bin Laden

0 0 Reply
NiceGuy69 16 October 2018

What an idiotic comment. You are worse that Hitler

5 0 Reply
READ THIS POEM IN OTHER LANGUAGES
Carol Ann Duffy

Carol Ann Duffy

Glasgow / Scotland
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