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Image by Amador Loureiro

Foreign tongue 

By the time I was divorced 
from my German husband 
I was fluent in the language 
I had battled for ten years 
of total immersion; I was 
nearly drowned by marriage 
but I had my head above 
the water when conversation 
flowed free and did not need 
to come up for air when waves 
of compound nouns rolled off
my tongue; I was not sucked 
beneath the undertow of cases
or battered by the rocky reefs 
of unknown verbs. Washed up 
on dry land I still have my sea-
legs; I can curse like a sailor 
and spout poetry like a whale.
My elliptical English is like a 
merchant seaman boarded
by German pirates. Now it 
takes no prisoners, fires on 
command and wields a cutlass
to defend its hard-won treasure. 
I have relearned the forgotten 
Muttersprache of a forebear 
(whose German name I use now)
with a home in every port, 
swapping yarns with other
shipwrecked linguistic mariners. 

Kate Meyer-Currey lives in Devon. A varied career in frontline settings has fuelled her interest in gritty urbanism, contrasted with a rural upbringing, often with a slipstream twist. She over a hundred poems published in print and online journals and anthologies in the UK and internationally. Her poem ‘Gloves’ was in the top 100 of the UK’s Poetry for Good competition (2021) and ‘We got this’ was shortlisted for the 2021 Black in White poetry competition. ‘Boys of Vallance Road’ came third in the poetry category of the London Society’s ‘Love Letter to London’ competition (March 2022). Her poem ‘The Wild Bunch’ is also a Pushcart and Rhysling Award nominee. She has been selected to partner with Little Toller books as part of LiteratureWorks South West’s Talent Development programme. Her chapbooks County Lines (Dancing Girl) and Cuckoo’s Nest (Contraband) are due out in 2022.


  1. Philip Martin

    Genuine wordsmith Kate coming from all angles got to find more of your descriptive artwords!

  2. Merrylyn Sawyer

    Where was “Foreign Tongue” first published; ie I need to know whom to contact for publishing permission. Thank you.

  3. Anonymous

    Hey Kate would love to reconnect…been a long time! Lovely to see your poetry
    Camille x


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