Treasure Island

Benjamin Zephaniah

(15 April 1958 / Birmingham)

Dis poetry


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,
Dis poetry nar put yu to sleep
Preaching follow me
Like yu is blind sheep,
Dis poetry is not Party Political
Not designed fe dose who are critical.
Dis poetry is wid me when I gu to me bed
It gets into me dreadlocks
It lingers around me head
Dis poetry goes wid me as I pedal me bike
IÕve tried Shakespeare, respect due dere
But did is de stuff I like.

Dis poetry is not afraid of going ina book
Still dis poetry need ears fe hear an eyes fe hav a look
Dis poetry is Verbal Riddim, no big words involved
An if I hav a problem de riddim gets it solved,
IÕve tried to be more romantic, it does nu good for me
So I tek a Reggae Riddim an build me poetry,
I could try be more personal
But youÕve heard it all before,
Pages of written words not needed
Brain has many words in store,
Yu could call dis poetry Dub Ranting
De tongue plays a beat
De body starts skanking,
Dis poetry is quick an childish
Dis poetry is fe de wise an foolish,
Anybody can do it fe free,
Dis poetry is fe yu an me,
DonÕt stretch yu imagination
Dis poetry is fe de good of de Nation,
Chant,
In de morning
I chant
In de night
I chant
In de darkness
An under de spotlight,
I pass thru University
I pass thru Sociology
An den I got a dread degree
In Dreadfull Ghettology.

Dis poetry stays wid me when I run or walk
An when I am talking to meself in poetry I talk,
Dis poetry is wid me,
Below me an above,
Dis poetry's from inside me
It goes to yu
WID LUV.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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Read poems about / on: poetry, romantic, respect, dance, sleep, night, running

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Comments about this poem (Dis poetry by Benjamin Zephaniah )

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  • Nancy Oyula (5/9/2014 1:04:00 AM)

    The poem sounds good even in patois. Benjamin just reminded me Paul Laurence Dunbar's poems which are written in dialect (Report) Reply

  • iain Robb (3/14/2014 4:22:00 PM)

    Sorry, folks, but the only reason this dyslexic ex-burglar is printed is to appease the PC-agending setting sensibilities of the very same pseudo-liberal white establishment that has made a running farce of modern poetry, with its editorial incompetence. And it's also the same establishment he uncreatively takes swipes at constantly in his poetry, i.e. the one he owes his living to. Hart Crane he clearly isn't, and talent he has not. (Report) Reply

  • Ford Madox Makepeace (5/19/2009 5:37:00 AM)

    I'm not saying it's wrong or racist to criticise Zephaniah, but let's examine your criticisms in detail: 'he has little to say other than preachy diatribes'
    - but is that true?
    'Dis poetry nar put yu to sleep
    Preaching follow me
    Like yu is blind sheep, '
    So he explicitly says he isn't preaching. It seems to me that everything he says is written as his opinion, not as an overwriting dictat. e.g.
    'I've tried to be more romantic, it does nu good for me
    So I tek a Reggae Riddim an build me poetry'.

    You also say: it is 'slapped together for mass consumption and appeal'. It's obviously quite simple, but does that make it trivial? He is alienating the majority of poetry critics - so you can't accuse him of courting their popularity. And then, isn't 'mass consumption' the point of his poetry - not to sell but to include and involve:
    'Dis poetry is quick an childish
    Dis poetry is fe de wise an foolish,
    Anybody can do it fe free,
    Dis poetry is fe yu an me, '
    So to accuse him of something he is clearly proud of is pointless. He says he creates poetry that makes the author almost unnecessary and the poetry the mass, universal language that is 'below, above and inside'. Re-examine your criticisms my friend...

    incidently not a lot of dub poets on this site are there? Where's Jean 'Binta' Breeze or Linton Kwesi Johnson? (Report) Reply

  • Frederick Mcgettrick (2/17/2009 7:03:00 AM)

    Dear Mr. James

    I noticed that when you comment, you write the same thing
    With similar pointlessness and similar sting
    Is that because of your disgust at his naivety
    Or is it your lack of creativity?

    Frederick (Report) Reply

  • Amanda Pinson (11/24/2008 8:45:00 AM)

    the only thing wrong with english culture and this poem at the moment is the comment below.
    seriously, maybe if you stopped to read somthing with more meaning behind it you would see why people actually do like these poems,
    look at his life and you see that all others who are 'preachy' are mere immmitations.
    this man deserves praise, in comparison to your poems- well simply there is no comparison; to try and do so would be utter sacrilege to B.Z's and degradation of the highest kind. (Report) Reply

  • Andrew James (9/29/2008 2:33:00 AM)

    drivel... evidence that english culture is falling into a cesspool of illiterate dunderheads... zephaniah's ouvre is empty headed drivel... he has little to say other than preachy diatribes imparted with trivial insights slapped together for mass consumption and appeal... most children write better poetry than this garbage.. (Report) Reply

  • Sherri Sinnott (1/29/2007 8:22:00 PM)

    Is it just me or is this a blatant rip off of Mutabaruka 's 'Dis Poem'?
    You want good dub poetry - find this one, even better - he has this poem on tape, hear the man himself (Report) Reply

  • Annie Hunny (12/2/2006 10:03:00 AM)

    dis poem takes my breathe away. all is good that i say. thank u for dis poem benjamin and continue da beautiful drummin! a.k.a Flamez a.k.a Sprinklez (Report) Reply

  • Laura Dwyer (1/1/2005 2:08:00 PM)

    This Poem Rox! As Does Benjamin, not only is he a great poet, but how nice lookin is he? ! (Report) Reply

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