January 24, 2011

A Poet Called Benjamin Zephaniah

My full name is Benjamin Obadiah Iqbal Zephaniah which is Christian, Jewish and Muslim. I was born in the district of Handsworth in Birmingham. My poetry is strongly influenced by the music and poetry of Jamaica and I can't remember a time when I was not creating poetry. This had nothing to do with school where poetry meant very little to me, in fact I had finished full time education at the age of 13.

I wanted to reach more people so at the age of 22 I headed south to London where Page One Books published my first book Pen Rhythm. My mission was to take poetry everywhere and I was able to do this through performing my poems directly to the people.
I try to write poems that are fun but they should also have a serious message. I am very concerned about racism, animal rights, pollution and I have always believed that boys and girls should be treated equally. I hate wars and I think it is not right that adults should tell children not to deal with disputes by fighting and then those same adults go and fight in wars.
I think armies should be banned.love jogging, Kung Fu, football, collecting old banknotes and exploring woods and forests. Most of my best friends are animals and I am passionate about being vegan.
I love being on television programmes and I have been on some silly ones like The Bill and Eastenders. I have also been on things like Live and Kicking, Blue Peter and Wise Up - they were fun but they don't pay you much.
I have travelled around the world many times and my favorite countries for performing are in Asia and Africa. I now live in Lincolnshire but I still support the best team in the world - Aston Villa! From Benjamin for Kidz


1: Uptown Downtown
2: Naked
3: Superstar
4: Touch
5: Rong Radio Station
6: Our Fathers
7: Slow Motion
8: Responsible
9: Homesick
10: Genetics
11: Things We Say

Listen - Naked

Poetry pass

Stubborn Ass
still uses the pass.
He doesn' t know why,
he just thinks it's fun
saying thegoodone!


More Poetry

Nature Trail
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.

Miss World
Beauty is about how you behold
more than silver more than gold
if I say I am beautiful
it means beauty is accessible,
beauty is about how you greet
de everyday people dat you meet
you are beautiful so all rejoice
your beauty is a natural choice.

My sister is a beautiful girl
she don't want to be Miss World
her value is not prize money
more value than a pearl
my sister is a beautiful girl
human delight
she could be out of sight but she would rather stay and fight.

Her legs are firm and strong
best for self-defence
my sister kicks like wildfire
so cause her no grievance
she won't walk the platform
to upsex people's lust
and you can't get the number of her height, age or bust,
she don't want to go to the market
to be viewed like a slave
the viewing time is over
put de judge in the grave,
she don't need to go to the market
'cause she's already won
beauty contest no contest
she don't need to run.

I talk 'bout people in society who judge you by your looks, den,
give you a number dat is written in a book, and, lustful eyes
from all around come to look at you, and, day judge your lifetime
by a quick interview.

My sister is a beautiful girl
But she don't want to be Miss World
her personality cannot be rewarded by no judge or earl.
My sister is a beautiful girl
She needs no contest
and you can't put her with another judging who's the best.
And you cannot judge my sister's heart
By looking at her breasts.

Talking Turkeys!
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'.

Riddim having a word
I have learnt that equality
May not mean freedom,
And freedom
May not mean liberation,
You can vote my friend
And have no democracy.
Being together dear neighbour
May not mean unity,
Your oppresors may give you chances
But no opportunities,
And the state that you are in
May have its state security
Yet you may be stateless
Without protection.

You my friend do not have to follow your leader,
The government does not have to govern you,
Im telling you Mom, you are greater than the law
If you are just when the law is not.
You see, once you are aware that new Labour
Does not care for the old workers
You may also know that change
May not mean revolution,
Once you realise that old conservatives
Are running out of things to conserve
You may also know that all politicians suck the same.
Babylon must burn,
Burn Babylon, burn.

Politics is like dis,
Life is like dis.
Intelligence may not mean intelligent,
The news may not be new.

From where we are
To be awake
May not mean
To be concious.


  1. yes!!!!
    a voice of now
    a powerful thinking poet
    thank you kokolo,perfect nakedness!