We floundered in language,
our own yet different.
Trying to blend into the background babble,
my family were warblers amongst
I taught myself to change the clear birdcall of yes
to a deeper seated aye. I tried to say the right words,
but they always sounded wrong,
too carefully pronounced, too shy.
Stuck up, they said, and English.
So strange to be disliked for the accent
of a country I barely knew,
a place I‘d never lived.
I learnt to love the Highlands, high lands that were not mine.
Sharp beauty, cold light across the hills
stretched like fresh sheets across a bed.
And when finally I left, crossed over
into England, her red brick houses startled
and surprised. Such difference just ten miles
Poem from ‘How Do the Parakeets Stay Green?’