An Englishman’s Right (1978)

A bitter sky hung above, people pushed past,
wanting to get home, on tenterhooks. Birmingham,
home to division and Enoch Powell, prophesying
‘Rivers of blood.’ Racism ingrained, transfused via
jokes told by Stand-Up comedians in working men’s
clubs and 70’s Sit Coms.

Hostility hid behind waving Union Jacks as fascists
met in the old Civic Hall, a city struggling to breathe
air so full of hate. Roads lined with a sea of blue
uniforms, flexing Perspex defending ‘free speech,’
repelling protests by defiant opponents and youths
armed with resentment.

An area intrenched in history, The Old Crown and
smiths who forged swords for anti-Royalist rebels,
during the English Civil War. Challenged again,
insurrection, hurled bricks, breaking glass, Digbeth
a battle ground, defying a time when racism was
an Englishman’s right.



Originally from Birmingham, England, Sophia Butler is a secondary English teacher in New Zealand. She has an interest in screen writing and was long listed for the UK Film Festival Script Competition 2022. However, she has returned to her first love, poetry. Her poems have been published in Dreich, London Grip and will be published in Red Poets, The Dawntreader and Poetica Review in the latter part of 2022.