Entries were shown to a small panel of readers in the Library, and the chosen winner was Momtaza Warsame, a second year Biomedical Sciences student. Momtaza describes herself as having an insatiable appetite for poetry, and her winning poem ‘London Calling’ was inspired by the multilingual nature of our capital, which can both frustrate and exhilarate. It is this poetry in the everyday that she is keen to explore, and London Calling is a poem exploring the language barrier from both sides; a delve into the minefield that is communication.
London Calling – by Momtaza Warsame
London’s calling –
Bangalore to be exact,
a global conversation booming inside a semi-detached Kilburnite world
It’s taken him two months
four hundred rupees
a dozen looped audiotapes
one sardine-like boxed classroom
to singe the tongue, muzzle fleshy membrane
‘Pa pa pa pa pa pa pa’ – repeat after me
said the instructor, Rahul, his accent clear as shards
Soon you’ll sound just like Queenie.
once those inflections were confined under maximum security
the job would be yours to take, money to eat, money to send.
A destiny coiled within telephone lines,
Telecommunication kismet – it’s funny how life turns out.
‘Sorry. Can’t understand a word, mate. Could you repeat that?’