Tuesday Poem: Immigrant Song, by Sugu Pillay

Immigrant Song

no, I will not hijack your life
though I climb every mountain
ford every river
cherish every taonga
this land holds sacred

no, I will not plant a bomb
on the banks of the Avon
though willows weep over waters
too shallow to drown

no, I will not bring Avian flu
to this fair far-flung land
though I flavour my food
with spices from Asia

no, I will not steal your thunder
though you rain on my parade
play political games
impale my tongue

no, I will not say
Canterbury, take my bones
no, not till I’ve seen
the fabled nor’west arch
streak across the sky
a new covenant
for this other Eden

Tim says: Sugu Pillay is a poet, playwright and short story writer. She’s currently focusing on writing plays, and I enjoyed her play “Serendipity”, which I saw at BATS last year.

“Immigrant Song” is one of three poems by Sugu that I included in JAAM 26, which I guest-edited. I too was an immigrant to Christchurch, although, as an immigrant with white skin (and, to be fair, a 2-year-old), my experience was somewhat different.

You can read all the Tuesday Poems at the Tuesday Poem blog.

6 thoughts on “Tuesday Poem: Immigrant Song, by Sugu Pillay

  1. Tim – thank you for this poem by Sugu – the Tuesday Poem is such a great way to get voices out there – I know Sugu as she is on our NZSA committee but I had not realised she was also a poet.

  2. We miss Sugu's poetry down here in Christchurch, particularly the clever use of allusion and other devices as in this one–thank you for sharing \”Immigrant Song\” again, Tim

  3. The rebel in me says steal the thunder, desecrate the treasures and bomb the Avon, and we'll have none of this tongue impaling while I'm around. A very moving poem that anyone should feel compelled to point out their innocuousness in such fiery terms 🙂

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