Poem introduction

'Immigrant' looks back from some years afterwards to the time when I first arrived in London from New Zealand feeling very foreign, in fact very colonial with my New Zealand accent which I hastened to get rid of, and my Marks & Spencers clothes - I was trying to pass as a genuine Londoner like so many others. I would walk around St James's Park sometimes at lunchtime and I would see the swans who were actual English birds on the lake, and the pelicans who were immigrants like me and I tended to identify with the pelicans.

Immigrant

Immigrant

November '63: eight months in London.
I pause on the low bridge to watch the pelicans:
they float swanlike, arching their white necks
over only slightly ruffled bundles of wings,
burying awkward beaks in the lake's water.

I clench cold fists in my Marks and Spencer's jacket
and secretly test my accent once again:
St James's Park; St James's Park; St James's Park.


from Poems 1960-2000 (Bloodaxe Books, 2000), copyright © Fleur Adcock 2000, used by permission of the author

Recordings

Fleur Adcock

Fleur Adcock Reading from her poems

1A Surprise in the Peninsula

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2Stewart Island

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3Country Station

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4Kilpeck

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5The Ex-Queen Among the Astronomers

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6The Soho Hospital for Women

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7Immigrant

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8Crab

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9Piano Concerto in E Flat Major

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10Street Song

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11Leaving the Tate

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12Scalford Again

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13Chippenham

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14The Telephone Call

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15Cattle in Mist

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16The Russian War

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17Water

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18Anne Welby

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19Swings and Roundabouts

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20Willow Creek

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21For Meg

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22From Kensington Gardens: Droppings

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23From Kensington Gardens: Handful

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24From Kensington Gardens: Checking Out

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25From Kensington Gardens: Goodbye

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