On the Move book cover
Created: 6th October, 2021

The Migrants in Me

Maybe if I look as if

you could spin a story at me,

about how threatening and dangerous are,

as if neither I nor you would ever dream

of upping sticks and living somewhere else

and being, you know, a migrant.

As if neither I nor you

might suddenly find ourselves

in a wrong place at a wrong time 

carrying the wrong passport,

with a face that doesn’t fit,

and needing to get out,

move, find a safe place because,

what, is it only mad, bad and sad people

who do that sort of thing,

and neither I nor you

are mad, bad or sad enough?


No, don’t think you can take

the migrants out of me.


The migrants in me tell me

about criss-crossing Europe;

about criss-crossing the Atlantic.

They warn me – the remind me –

of long, long hours at work benches.


They remind me of relatives,

who at one moment,

were as safe as houses,

and the next,

had no houses to be safe in.


© Michael Rosen, from On the Move: Poems About Migration, Walker, 2020


Michael Rosen - The Migrants in Me