Immigrant Prison Cry

How indefinite is my life
wreaking with constraints
here with outstretched hands
I feel naked with clothes on
my body ashamed
of Nature's urgent calls
let me go
set me free
I will not take your food
I will only
feed mouths
you left on pavements
while you crave
your rotten core
of blunted denials
smelling the stench
of who said what
to whom and where
just let me be
set me free.

by Leonard Dabydeen

Comments (19)

I remember this from Form IV English lessons at grammar school, mid 60s.
This poem has been in my mind for about 40 years sitting listening to our teacher explaining how the soldier preparing for was just a normal young man who loved nature but was being prepared to go to war. So moving.
As a recruit in 1961 in the British South Africa Police in the then Rhodesia we had musketry classes under the Pride of India trees in the gardens of the Training Depot, which were flowering profusely. This poem takes me back like no other, to the hot Autumn sun and the bees collecting pollen - a beautiful memory.
I was never one for poetry. I liked November and Tiger tiger, but not much else.However in Asa Briggs's book on Bletchly Park. Secrer Days. The Naming of Parts.is mentioned. Something we had to read(no pun intended) whilst starting to learn about Bren guns at the commencement of National Service in 1958.
This is one of those singular poems that once heard/read you never forget. Brilliant, and Reed's name lives by it. Thanks- -
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