Fleur Adcock

Image by Caroline Forbes

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.



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


Fleur Adcock

Fleur Adcock Reading from her poems

1A Surprise in the Peninsula

2Stewart Island

3Country Station


5The Ex-Queen Among the Astronomers

6The Soho Hospital for Women



9Piano Concerto in E Flat Major

10Street Song

11Leaving the Tate

12Scalford Again


14The Telephone Call

15Cattle in Mist

16The Russian War


18Anne Welby

19Swings and Roundabouts

20Willow Creek

21For Meg

22From Kensington Gardens: Droppings

23From Kensington Gardens: Handful

24From Kensington Gardens: Checking Out

25From Kensington Gardens: Goodbye