Oriental Journey

This was a hot journey

A flaming June in Hackney

Trying to keep cool

In the sweat-dripping sun


We were trying to keep cool

In the crush of a thousand refugees

That became two

And became three

And ended up as five


Five thousand refugees:

Alevi Kurds from Turkey

The wrong religion

The wrong race


In the wrong country

Cramped onto the floors of our churches

Making us bedfellows

With Turkish Marxists


And divorcing us

From British officialdom

Getting cold feet

In a flaming June


I wavered. I was lukewarm

I was reserved English


A hot blooded Kurd


Set fire to himself,

Rather than return

To a cold-blooded reception,

And died.