Sunday, 24 July 2016

Human kindness

Amanda Howe

My friend walked down the lane
Was entranced by the green wood,
And the wet lushness,
And the long horizons,

And lost himself amid this English fervour.
He asked a working man for help,
Who sent him home.

We laughed, and ate,
And were glad of our time together.

I thanked my neighbour later -
He asked about my friend
“Nigeria” I answered.
He nodded wisely -
“I didn’t think ‘e cum from round ‘ere”….

I would be glad
If more dark strangers met such kindness
In this land.


My area of practice is in the edge of a city, with poor people and some better off, but the region (Norfolk) is very rural by English standards. Our students go to practices where the nearest hospital can be 40km away. The epidemiology is typical, mostly NCDs of lifestyle and ageing, though with farming accidents commoner because of the local employment in that area.

When I first came to Norfolk the non-white population was only 3% though it has risen in recent years., especially in the university and hospital areas in the city. As my poem suggests, foreigners can still be a novelty in some parts. I thought of this story when the UK voted to leave the EU, much of which was led by the press and rightwing politicians promoting the fear of immigration-hence the last part of my poem.

©Amanda Howe July 2016


  1. realistic poem, the foreigner is always the man behind the door with our fears and our anxiousness.
    In the eighteen century the foreigner was the man of another village, in the nineghteen century the foreigner was speaking another language.
    Nowadays it is a pity but the religion give a difference.
    Europe is still an oasis we have to be aware of it
    Thanks Amanda!