Poems to share


My heart knocks carefully waiting to see my new home

This air doesn’t taste like the metallic smoke from guns
It doesn’t smell like warm innocent blood

Walking down Oxford city centre is like strolling into centuries
Where history explains itself through buildings and gardens
Where people with different cultures feed their eyes
And flash torches at the smiling buildings in broad day light –
Christ Church, Bodleian library –
I see people holding the whole city on their palm
In Nigeria, people run from old buildings because the clay crumbles
Students stroll up and down, their lives in a backpack
I hear echoey sounds of lost languages going back and fourth
S.M.I.L.E is the only language I can speak
So I say ‘Hello’ ‘bye’ with my cheeks.

In Bonn Square in the evening languages gather
to listen to the voice near the coffee shop
While others stare at the breathing statue 2 feet away
And then smile to show ‘that was amazing’

Night bus home
Disconnect myself from earth with my earphones
Staring into dark souls of different streets
Past my school
Silently to Littlemore

Shelter is expensive but safe
For once my house smells like a home
As my bed welcomed me with open arms
Like every human being in Oxford
I don’t have to sleep a lifetime on mat or sofa

Since the very first day the Oxford soil hugged my feet
It smiled and welcomed me into the life of peace

© Timileyin Amusan

Timileyin Amusan

Timi Amusan is 19 and came to Oxford from his birthplace Nigeria in 2016, after his family decided the violence, guns and gang crime made it too dangerous for him to stay there. He started writing poetry when he was 8, but has only recently started to show his work to others and to attend Poetry Club at his school Oxford Spires Academy: where the poet and teacher Kate Clanchy has encouraged him. In 2018 he performed his work live at London’s King’s Place, accompanied by the Oxford Sinfonietta, as part of the Displaced Voices project. He says that poetry is a way of expressing his feelings on having to move around from place to place: it also allows him to laugh and to make others laugh too. He used to play football in Nigeria, and now his passion is basketball. Oxford has also inspired him to study civil engineering: he has a place at Portsmouth University.