Birmingham City Council

Rivers of Blood - A poem by Matt Windle

Matt Windle was the Young Poet Laureate for Birmingham 2007-2008

Matt has written a number of poems about we treat other people around us, including Our Race,What do you see when you look at me? and What's Bullying?

About Rivers of Blood, Matt says 'This poem was wrote for the Channel 4, 3 minute wonder TV programme that I was in about Enoch Powell and the Midlands.'

Rivers of Blood

Enoch, Enoch Powell
I'm going to start this with a noun and a vowel
Boom and bust economy goes in to recession
Maybe this speech was just one of our many lessons
Who am I to deny the freedom of speech?
I just say what I hear and hear what I say I don't preach
I'm just the normal youth of today
An ambassador for the UK
It seem he wanted these people to have tickets but only one way
They used to say that the world was flat
That if you go out to sea's you're not coming back
Then look at today. No one really says anything about that
No more should or could
Or talking about rivers of blood
But this Enoch Powell he's a mystery
I've only got the Internet to find out about history
He called them an 'alien element' but these are still people
Doesn't matter where we're from or how we look we're all equal
He said it would be a betrayal to see and not speak
But the views he had made our future look bleak
It was straight after the war he didn't know what to do
So he just reacted in the only way that he knew
The countries grew with a different culture
He was just looking for targets like a vulture
We need to get through it together because hard times happen
I believe he just spoke from his first reaction
There was no stature. Just a have a go politician
If that were to happen now would anyone really listen?
He just jumped from place to place no one wanted to touch him
We've gone from decade to decade leader-to-leader
We only know what's going on from being a newsreader
That's how I know about this from 1968
Is anything different now days?
Or are we all just going to sit back and wait?

© Matt Windle