Look We Have Coming to Dover! – Daljit Nagra

Themes –

  • Society and culture: the poem ‘Look We Have Coming to Dover!’ highlights the fears and worries amongst people that are immigrating to a new country and the struggles that come with such a big move. The way in which British people are described as ‘vexin their blarnies’ as these immigrants arrive highlights a social issue around immigration. Words of anger and hate are being thrown at these immigrants possibly due to the foolish belief that immigrants are to blame for British people’s problems.
  • Identity: British identity is also very strong within the poem through relatable imagery such as the ‘scummed cliffs’ of Dover. The end of the poem also symbolises a combined identity that is both British and the speaker’s native origin. The speaker is sat ‘babbling our lingoes’ of their language as they appreciate ‘the chalk of Britannia’, which highlights that the speaker has kept their born culture whilst also adopting and accepting the British culture.
  • Conflict – the immigrants in the poem are almost treated as ‘yobbish’ animals that are ‘hutched’ and ‘huddled’.


Tone of the poem –

  • While the poem starts with a tone of disappointment at the hardships thrown their way, as the poem ends the tone picks up and we are shown that the speaker is finally being accepted and settled into their new life. Initially the speaker had to ‘reap’ to create stability in their life, the word ‘reap’ is an agricultural term that highlights the hard and manual labour that the speaker had to endure to settle in England. However, at the end of the poem there is a thankful tone as the speaker is grateful for their ‘passport […] to life’.


Structure –

  • There are 5 stanzas that are all 5 lines long. This could be a reflection of the stability that the immigrants yearn to achieve in this new country.
  • The line length could be said to be a representation of the immigrants’ optimism. So when the line is short it could be a mirror of low feelings, and when a long line length highlights feelings of optimism and happiness. The fact that the poem ends with a long line suggests that the speaker is on a high note in their life.


Techniques –

  • The fact that the title is grammatically incorrect suggests that English is not the speakers first language.
  • Pathetic fallacy is used through the ‘yobbish rain’, which is reflective of people’s attitudes towards immigrants being hooligans and troublemakers.
  • There is also a juxtaposition used in the line ‘burdened, ennobled’. This shows that immigrating is a mixed experience with mixed feelings as it has its ups and downs.
  • There is also a lexical field of immigration being a threat to British life and culture as highlighted through phrases such as – ‘invade’ ‘yobbish’ ‘swarms’.

Important quotes: 

‘brunt gobfuls of surf phlegmed’

This is quite a grotesque image of the journey that the immigrants have to endure. The use of ‘phlegm’ highlights the inner sickness felt by immigrants of their process of moving into a new, unknown culture.


‘grafting in the black within shot of the moon’s

spotlight, banking on the miracle of the sun-‘

The contrast between ‘moon’ and ‘sun’ signifies this idea of the immigrants initially being in the dark as to what position they hold in this new country and hoping for a chance at citizenship ie the ‘sun’.


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