From the vocabulary, which draws on the Romani dialect, to the narrative of resistance and pride, this is a poem that bears witness to a people and a way of life that are little understood and often reviled. It’s by Raine Geoghegan, from her collection Apple Water – Povel Panni, published by The Hedgehog Poetry Press.
Somewhere in Apple Water Country
Me mum’s cookin’ sushi stew.
Me dad’s chinning the kostie’s.
I’m practisin’ handwritin’ with a fine pencil.
I’m looking forward to sendin’ a proper letter
to me cousin Louie, she’s a didikai and goes
to school in London. Me dad calls it royal town
and say’s ‘e wouldn’t go there, not if yer paid ‘im.
She ‘as to wear a uniform, red and gold, but she
can’t wear ‘er gold ‘oops, it’s against the rules.
If I ever went to school, me dad would ‘ave murder
if anyone touched me ‘oops or me ears.
Apple Water Country – a Romani term for the county of Herefordshire
Sushi – rabbit; Chinning the kostie’s – making pegs; Didikai – half Romani
Used with kind permission of Raine Geoghegan and the Hedgehog Poetry Press.