Benjamin Zephaniah

Following our recitals of ‘British’ today, can you find another Benjamin Zephaniah poem to learn and share? Copy and paste it then comment on parts that you particularly like.

11 thoughts on “Benjamin Zephaniah”

  1. Nature Trail by Benjamin Zephaniah

    At the bottom of my garden
    There’s a hedgehog and a frog
    And a lot of creepy-crawlies
    Living underneath a log,
    There’s a baby daddy long legs
    And an easy-going snail
    And a family of woodlice,
    All are on my nature trail.

    There are caterpillars waiting
    For their time to come to fly,
    There are worms turning the earth over
    As ladybirds fly by,
    Birds will visit, cats will visit
    But they always chose their time
    And I’ve even seen a fox visit
    This wild garden of mine.

    Squirrels come to nick my nuts
    And busy bees come buzzing
    And when the night time comes
    Sometimes some dragonflies come humming,
    My garden mice are very shy
    And I’ve seen bats that growl
    And in my garden I have seen
    A very wise old owl.

    My garden is a lively place
    There’s always something happening,
    There’s this constant search for food
    And then there’s all that flowering,
    When you have a garden
    You will never be alone
    And I believe we all deserve
    A garden of our own.

    I like this poem because it describes the wilderness of gardens and the 2nd and 4th plus the 6th and 8th end words rhyme.

  2. 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.
    Be nice to yu turkeys dis christmas,
    Don’t eat it, keep it alive,
    It could be yu mate, an not on your plate
    Say, Yo! Turkey I’m on your side.
    I got lots of friends who are turkeys
    An all of dem fear christmas time,
    Dey wanna enjoy it, dey say humans destroyed it
    An humans are out of dere mind,
    Yeah, I got lots of friends who are turkeys
    Dey all hav a right to a life,
    Not to be caged up an genetically made up
    By any farmer an his wife.

    Turkeys just wanna play reggae
    Turkeys just wanna hip-hop
    Can yu imagine a nice young turkey saying,
    ÒI cannot wait for de chopÓ,
    Turkeys like getting presents, dey wanna watch christmas TV,
    Turkeys hav brains an turkeys feel pain
    In many ways like yu an me.

    I once knew a turkey called…….. Turkey
    He said “Benji explain to me please,
    Who put de turkey in christmas
    An what happens to christmas trees?”,
    I said “I am not too sure turkey
    But itÕs nothing to do wid Christ Mass
    Humans get greedy an waste more dan need be
    An business men mek loadsa cash’.

    Be nice to yu turkey dis christmas
    Invite dem indoors fe sum greens
    Let dem eat cake an let dem partake
    In a plate of organic grown beans,
    Be nice to yu turkey dis christmas
    An spare dem de cut of de knife,
    Join Turkeys United an dey’ll be delighted
    An yu will mek new friends ‘FOR LIFE’.

    I like this poem because it is talking about how we mindlessly kill millions of animals, instead of keeping them alive, who have no more right to live then we do. It also brings to light the faceless business men, who secretly control many of the worlds essential needs, having monopolys on many industries.

  3. 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.

    I come from a beautiful place
    Where they hate my shade of skin
    They don’t like the way I pray
    And they ban free poetry.

    I come from a beautiful place
    Where girls cannot go to school
    There you are told what to believe
    And even young boys must grow beards.

    I come from a great old forest
    I think it is now a field
    And the people I once knew
    Are not there now.

    We can all be refugees
    Nobody is safe,
    All it takes is a mad leader
    Or no rain to bring forth food,
    We can all be refugees
    We can all be told to go,
    We can be hated by someone
    For being someone.

    I come from a beautiful place
    Where the valley floods each year
    And each year the hurricane tells us
    That we must keep moving on.

    I come from an ancient place
    All my family were born there
    And I would like to go there
    But I really want to live.

    I come from a sunny, sandy place
    Where tourists go to darken skin
    And dealers like to sell guns there
    I just can’t tell you what’s the price.

    I am told I have no country now
    I am told I am a lie
    I am told that modern history books
    May forget my name.

    We can all be refugees
    Sometimes it only takes a day,
    Sometimes it only takes a handshake
    Or a paper that is signed.
    We all came from refugees
    Nobody simply just appeared,
    Nobody’s here without a struggle,
    And why should we live in fear
    Of the weather or the troubles?
    We all came here from somewhere.

    I like how the first line in stanzas 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7 and 8 repeat in a same beat, this is an example of repetition. I think it has a great impact on the poem.

  4. 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.
    Be nice to yu turkeys dis christmas,
    Don’t eat it, keep it alive,
    It could be yu mate, an not on your plate
    Say, Yo! Turkey I’m on your side.
    I got lots of friends who are turkeys
    An all of dem fear christmas time,
    Dey wanna enjoy it, dey say humans destroyed it
    An humans are out of dere mind,
    Yeah, I got lots of friends who are turkeys
    Dey all hav a right to a life,
    Not to be caged up an genetically made up
    By any farmer an his wife.
    Turkeys just wanna play reggae
    Turkeys just wanna hip-hop
    Can yu imagine a nice young turkey saying,
    ‘I cannot wait for de chop’,
    Turkeys like getting presents, dey wanna watch christmas TV,
    Turkeys hav brains an turkeys feel pain
    In many ways like yu an me.
    I once knew a turkey called…….. Turkey
    He said “Benji explain to me please,
    Who put de turkey in christmas
    An what happens to christmas trees?”,
    I said “I am not too sure turkey
    But it’s nothing to do wid Christ Mass
    Humans get greedy an waste more dan need be
    An business men mek loadsa cash’.
    Be nice to yu turkey dis christmas
    Invite dem indoors fe sum greens
    Let dem eat cake an let dem partake
    In a plate of organic grown beans,
    Be nice to yu turkey dis christmas
    An spare dem de cut of de knife,
    Join Turkeys United an dey’ll be delighted
    An yu will mek new friends ‘FOR LIFE’.

    I like this poem because it’s saying animals aren’t just food they live life just like us and if we didn’t kill them we could all get along. Animals want to live life like us not just be born, be bred and then just die. It also says about selfish business man who privately controls the worlds essential needs.

  5. In Hawaii they Hula
    They Tango in Argentina
    They Reggae in Jamaica
    And they Rumba down in Cuba,
    In Trinidad and Tobago
    They do the Calypso
    And in Spain the Spanish
    They really do Flamenco.

    In the Punjab they Bhangra
    How they dance Kathak in India
    Over in Guatemala
    They dance the sweet Marimba,
    Even foxes dance a lot
    They invented the Fox Trot,
    In Australia it’s true
    They dance to the Didgeridoo.

    In Kenya they Benga
    They Highlife in Ghana
    They dance Ballet all over
    And Rai dance in Algeria,
    They Jali in Mali
    In Brazil they Samba
    And the girls do Belly Dancing
    In the northern parts of Africa.

    Everybody does the Disco
    From Baghdad to San Francisco
    Many folk with razzamataz
    Cannot help dancing to Jazz,
    They do the Jig in Ireland
    And it is really true
    They still Morris dance in England
    When they can find time to.”

    by Benjamin Zephaniah

    I like this poem because it shows dance is a language we have in common all over the world, it is something we all share. The poem has a dancing pace.

  6. White comedy by Benjamin Zephaniah

    I waz whitemailed
    By a white witch,
    Wid white magic
    An white lies,
    Branded by a white sheep
    I slaved as a whitesmith
    Near a white spot
    Where I suffered whitewater fever.
    Whitelisted as a whiteleg
    I waz in de white book
    As a master of white art,
    It waz like white death.

    People called me white jack
    Some hailed me as a white wog,
    So I joined de white watch
    Trained as a white guard
    Lived off the white economy.
    Caught and beaten by de whiteshirts
    I waz condemned to a white mass,
    Don’t worry,
    I shall be writing to de Black House.

  7. Eat Your Words

    I am a veggie table
    A table made of veg,
    There’s so much fruit upon me
    All living on the edge,
    Life is hard
    But so are plates
    And tea can be quite hot,
    And vegetarian poets
    Make me nervous quite a lot.

    I like this poem because it shows that life isn’t always that easy and that sometimes you might feel as if you’re living on the edge.

  8. Who’s Who

    I used to think nurses Were women,
    I used to think police
    Were men,
    I used to think poets
    Were boring,
    Until I became one of them.

    I really like this poem because it is short and snappy but it also creates a real strong message. It is telling people to not be judgmental or sexist which was once a bad issue.

  9. Money make a rich man feel like a big man
    It make a poor man feel like a hooligan
    A one parent family feels like a ruffian
    An those who have it won’t give you anything
    Money makes your friend become your enemy
    You start to see things very superficially
    Your life is lived very artificially
    Unlike those who live in poverty
    Money affects your ego
    But money brings you down
    Money causes problems anywhere money is found
    Food is what we need
    Food is necessary
    Let me grow my food
    An dem can eat dem money
    Money can save us
    But yet we feel doomed
    Plenty money burns in a nuclear mushroom
    Money can make you happy
    Money can help you when you die
    An those who have it continually live a lie
    Children are dying
    Spies are spying
    Refugees are fleeing
    Politicians are lying
    An deals are done
    An webs are spun
    An no one keeps the third world on the run
    An the brother feels better than the brothers next door
    Cause his brothers got money an his brothers got more
    The brother thinks a brother’s not a brother cause he’s poor
    When a brother kills another that is economic war
    Economic war we call it economic war
    It may not be the east and west anymore
    But the north and south third world far lord
    Coffee an isle
    That’s what it’s about
    Economic war
    Economic war
    Shots fired from the stock market floor
    So we work for a livin’
    An we try an we try
    With so little time for chillin’
    Like we’re livin a lie
    Money makes a dream become reality
    Money makes real life like a fantasy
    Money has a habit of going to the head
    I have some for the rainy day underneath me bed
    Money problems make it hard to relax
    Money makes it difficult to get down to the facts
    Money makes you worship vanity and lies
    Money is a drug with legal highs
    The parents of poor kids
    Some are not coping
    Some are just managing
    Books that need balancin’
    Property is theft
    No money means death
    You pay for your rent
    An then nothing left
    Some will pick your pocket
    Some will pay to stop it
    Those who will pay to stop it
    They happy cause they got it
    Some go out an fight for it
    Some claim they got the right to it
    An people like my grandparents
    Live long but never side it
    Money made me go out an rob
    Then it made me go looking for a job
    Money made the nurse
    And the doctor emigrate
    Money buys friends you love to hate
    Money made slavery seem alright
    Money brought the Bible
    An the Bible shone the light
    Victory to the penniless
    The gospel shows us
    We come to mash those market forces
    The paper giant called market forces

    I like the first few lines because they tell you that money brings you nothing but hatred to others.

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