Benjamin Zephaniah

(15 April 1958 / Birmingham)

Neighbours - Poem by Benjamin Zephaniah

I am the type you are supposed to fear
Black and foreign
Big and dreadlocks
An uneducated grass eater.

I talk in tongues
I chant at night
I appear anywhere,
I sleep with lions
And when the moon gets me
I am a Wailer.

I am moving in
Next door to you
So you can get to know me,
You will see my shadow
In the bathroom window,
My aromas will occupy
Your space,
Our ball will be in your court.
How will you feel?

You should feel good
You have been chosen.

I am the type you are supposed to love
Dark and mysterious
Tall and natural
Thinking, tea total.
I talk in schools
I sing on TV
I am in the papers,
I keep cool cats

And when the sun is shining
I go Carnival.


Comments about Neighbours by Benjamin Zephaniah

  • Mahtab Bangalee (7/7/2018 11:00:00 PM)


    excellent writings-

    my liking lines-

    I am the type you are supposed to love
    Dark and mysterious.... and natural

    And when the moon gets me
    I am a Wailer.

    And when the sun is shining
    I go Carnival.

    really good to read and read and read this poem is
    (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (7/7/2018 10:22:00 PM)


    I really like the last to lines. Great poem. Very well done Benjamin! (Report) Reply

  • Dr.tony Brahmin (7/7/2018 8:43:00 AM)


    a mysterious poem.. well done my dear poet. tony (Report) Reply

  • Savita Tyagi (7/7/2018 8:19:00 AM)


    Marvelous poem. A real opening for our curious and fearful psychology. We fear dark and mysterious nights but same nigh becomes pleasant with moonlight. (Report) Reply

  • Glen Kappy (7/7/2018 7:18:00 AM)


    I think I would find Benjamin an interesting neighbor. For starters, how many people care about poetry? -GK (Report) Reply

  • Petals Azureblue (7/7/2018 4:22:00 AM)


    What an engaging poem. You are the type for real oh poet. Brilliant work.👍👍👍 (Report) Reply

  • Robert Murray Smith (7/7/2018 12:54:00 AM)


    Not a poem worthy of this category. Personalised and caters to stereotypes. I note one cliched line. (Report) Reply

  • (12/21/2016 9:43:00 AM)

    tom allport
    you are welcome anytime to our house in the middle of the street, it would be nice to meet (Report) Reply

  • Diana Van Den Berg (11/13/2015 4:32:00 PM)


    Love, love, love the attitude! Kudos, Benjamin! You are so right! Love it all but absolutely love the last stanza turn-around! Magnificent! I know all the wonderful things you do, and I really hope that you use this poem as often as you can and in as many places as you can!

    I particularly love the line:

    I sleep with lions

    How I would love to do that, if it was, in any way possible!

    I am a white African and I adore my country (South Africa) and my continent (Africa) passionately, because of its wonders and despite its horrors.
    (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (10/13/2015 3:09:00 PM)


    In the second part of the poem, the first line is repeated, with the word “love” instead of “fear”. The negative descriptives have been changed into positives. Prejudice makes you see the negative because you are afraid of the unknown.: Instead of raging and increasing the fear factor, his tone is humorous. (Report) Reply

  • (6/11/2014 7:18:00 AM)


    Now THAT is an introduction and a half! ;) Very nice Ben (Report) Reply

  • Nancy Oyula (6/11/2014 7:13:00 AM)


    oh Benji! Writing good as always (Report) Reply

  • Ahmad Shiddiqi (8/10/2009 12:14:00 AM)


    what a lovely, humble and straighforward of autobiographical words! (Report) Reply

  • (7/30/2009 6:32:00 PM)


    Sums up contemporary, casual racism so well. Come and be my neighbour Benjamin - we go Carnival together! (Report) Reply

Read all 14 comments »




Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: moon, sleep, fear, dark, sun, night, school, cat



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



Famous Poems

  1. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  5. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  6. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You
    Pablo Neruda
  9. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    Mary Elizabeth Frye
  10. Television
    Roald Dahl
[Report Error]