Benjamin Obadiah Iqbal Zephaniah is a British Jamaican Rastafarian writer and dub poet. He is a well-known figure in contemporary English literature, and was included in The Times list of Britain's top 50 post-war writers in 2008.
Life and Work
Zephaniah was born and raised in the Handsworth district of Birmingham, which he called the "Jamaican capital of Europe". He is the son of a Barbadian postman and a Jamaican nurse. A dyslexic, he attended an approved school but left aged 13 unable to read or write.
He writes that his poetry is strongly influenced by the music and poetry of Jamaica and what he calls "street politics". His first ... more »
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Benjamin Zephaniah Poems
Take some Picts, Celts and Silures And let them settle, Then overrun them with Roman conquerors.
Dis poetry is like a riddim dat drops De tongue fires a riddim dat shoots like shots Dis poetry is designed fe rantin Dance hall style, big mouth chanting,
Be nice to yu turkeys dis christmas Cos' turkeys just wanna hav fun Turkeys are cool, turkeys are wicked An every turkey has a Mum.
I waz whitemailed By a white witch, Wid white magic An white lies,
De Rong Song
Your house is Falling down Around Your
Everybody Is Doing It
In Hawaii they Hula They Tango in Argentina They Reggae in Jamaica And they Rumba down in Cuba,
The Race Industry
The coconuts have got the jobs. The race industry is a growth industry. We despairing, they careering. We want more peace they want more police.
I used to think nurses Were women, I used to think police Were men,
At the bottom of my garden There's a hedgehog and a frog And a lot of creepy-crawlies Living underneath a log,
Mirror mirror on the wall Could you please return our ball Our football went through your crack You have two now
I am the type you are supposed to fear Black and foreign Big and dreadlocks An uneducated grass eater.
What Stephen Lawrence Has Taught Us
We know who the killers are, We have watched them strut before us As proud as sick Mussolinis', We have watched them strut before us
I come from a musical place Where they shoot me for my song And my brother has been tortured By my brother in my land.
SOS (Save Our Sons)
We Black men of England Too proud to cry for shame, Let's cry a sea Cry publicly,
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
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Edgar Allan Poe
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Take some Picts, Celts and Silures
And let them settle,
Then overrun them with Roman conquerors.
Remove the Romans after approximately 400 years
Add lots of Norman French to some
Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Vikings, then stir vigorously.
Mix some hot Chileans, cool Jamaicans, Dominicans,
Trinidadians and Bajans with some Ethiopians, Chinese,
Vietnamese and Sudanese.
Then take a blend of Somalians, Sri Lankans, Nigerians
Combine with some Guyanese
And turn up the heat.
Sprinkle some fresh Indians, Malaysians, ...