A poem to celebrate Windrush Day

7th July 2022

Poet Vanessa Melody performed in person a poem she had been commissioned to write for a special Windrush service at Christ Church in Bath. Members of Bath's Caribbean community joined the service to celebrate the contribution of the Caribbean community to the city.

Christ Church has a long connection with the black community in Bath many of whom found the church the be a place of welcome when they first moved to the city.

National Windrush Day was introduced in June 2018, to mark the 70th anniversary of the Windrush Generation’s arrival in the UK. Since then, National Windrush Day has been celebrated across country in June, to give thanks for the contribution of the Windrush Generation and their descendants to the UK.

Below is an exert from Vanessa's poem, you can download the full version at the bottom of the page.

One Hand Can't Clap

By Vanessa Melody

Pass the bottle of rum, Don't sit down
Time for celebration, We de go a England

we start kin teet for, We glad bag bus
Madda send come call fe we, to board de Empire Windrush

Give we opportunity, to build up de country
Not only that but some ah we
We get chance to learn ah trade 
get good pay
When dem sign off we papers, gi we status
Put before and back a we name a string a letters
Eh aayy

No more dan 5 years we were going to stay
Well it never turn out fe nuff of we that way.
For Fascination wid we never take no time 
To turn to rejection when place to live and work we de try to find.

With nat a thing to show?  We couldn't just go home soh!
So no matter the length of time, we set we self
An like the man weh ride donkey we decide to bide we time.

With we load, we stroll we up and down street, road and Ave
But what is this we deh see here for true?
Paper mark up, put up inna window.
No daag we understand, for a out door them live weh we come from but what is wrong with the Irish an black, man an woman.

We eventually for two pounds a week manage to get one one room to rent. Not without a whole heap of predicament.
For bathroom and kitchen we have to share
And where we wash we cutlery plate, pat an pan,
lawd have mercy! Same place some want to wash dem hair.

Racism discrimination mek we have to work on and off, long and hard for many more years
Cold breeze blow Rain and snow fall
But The sun shine in we heart dry up a lot of we tears
And the environment though so harsh couldn't penetrate we melanated skin an make we go commit no sin
Far we know how to handle hardship, navigate the storms, the battle we were determine to win
Yes man


One Hand Can't Clap By Vanessa Melody

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