Benjamin Zephaniah

(15 April 1958 / Birmingham)

The British - Poem by Benjamin Zephaniah

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
And Pakistanis,
Combine with some Guyanese
And turn up the heat.

Sprinkle some fresh Indians, Malaysians, Bosnians,
Iraqis and Bangladeshis together with some
Afghans, Spanish, Turkish, Kurdish, Japanese
And Palestinians
Then add to the melting pot.

Leave the ingredients to simmer.

As they mix and blend allow their languages to flourish
Binding them together with English.

Allow time to be cool.

Add some unity, understanding, and respect for the future,
Serve with justice
And enjoy.

Note: All the ingredients are equally important. Treating one ingredient better than another will leave a bitter unpleasant taste.

Warning: An unequal spread of justice will damage the people and cause pain. Give justice and equality to all.

Comments about The British by Benjamin Zephaniah

  • Lungelo S Mbuyazi (5/16/2018 11:20:00 AM)

    This poetry in motion....
    Add some unity, understand, and respect for the future,
    Serve with justice,
    (Report) Reply

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  • (4/10/2018 10:55:00 AM)

    DIfficult to make it inclusive in any accurate way, but the selection is somewhat lospided. Perhaps it might seem to be about the visible additions, but even that does not really work, given it does have quite a long list. No mention of Irish, Jewish, Italian, Polish, French (London is said now to be the 6th largest city for the French because of how many there are there) Greeks, among others who have leavened the British bread.
    What are the criteria for inclusion / exclusion here?
    (Report) Reply

  • Jon Holloway (3/31/2018 11:13:00 AM)

    Excellent, cooking with multicultural ingredients, there is a bit of fatty oil floating on the top though which refuses to mix in; how do we scoop it off? (Report) Reply

  • (3/22/2018 3:20:00 PM)

    great and it's due tommorow: / (Report) Reply

  • (3/22/2018 3:19:00 PM)

    no structure comments for my h/w (Report) Reply

  • (3/8/2018 1:16:00 PM)

    Take some Pics, Sweets and Sweeteners and let them settle then overrun them with Lots of people! ! ! LOL XD (Report) Reply

  • Damion Hamilton (2/24/2018 5:10:00 PM)

    Definitely. All the cultures need and rely on each. Belong to the whole world. (Report) Reply

  • (2/6/2018 1:28:00 PM)

    I like his poetry. I came across it through The Sun (poem) . Met him once as well. Gentleman. (Report) Reply

  • (1/23/2018 8:17:00 PM)

    How about we remain distinct ans thus avoid the inevitable complications and tension and hatred? (Report) Reply

  • (1/12/2018 3:23:00 AM)

    It’s funny and smart (Report) Reply

  • (1/9/2018 10:42:00 AM)

    i like the British poem (Report) Reply

  • (11/14/2017 1:12:00 PM)


  • Tom Allport (1/7/2017 4:38:00 PM)

    tom allport
    brilliant poem for a brave new brutishness and a brave new world. (Report) Reply

  • (11/18/2016 10:07:00 PM)

    Hats off to the flight of imagery of the poet for such wonderful imaginations and congrats on the modern poet of the Day. (Report) Reply

  • Is It Poetry James Mclain (11/18/2016 6:52:00 PM)

    I quite agree.. iip (Report) Reply

  • Dr.subhendu Kar (11/18/2016 2:42:00 PM)

    Unique diction by unique style, brain storming, thanks for sharing! (Report) Reply

  • Clarence Prince (11/18/2016 8:14:00 AM)

    Give justice and equality to all I truly in agreement with that,
    as we would probably have a more peaceful world!
    (Report) Reply

  • Savita Tyagi (11/18/2016 7:45:00 AM)

    Wonderful poem. Every country should make its own version and should be taught to children of that country. Each ethnicity deserves respect. (Report) Reply

  • Rajnish Manga (11/18/2016 3:01:00 AM)

    Nicely articulated and crafted poem about a cosmopolitan society where people from different backgrounds, their languages, customs and cultures merge and let the synergy create a recipe for peaceful co-existence for collective progress and qualitative growth at national as well as individual level. Thanks. This is now listed in my favourite poems. Congrats for hanours today. (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (11/18/2016 1:12:00 AM)

    Allow time to be cool...... Nice....

    Thanks for sharing........
    (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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