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

  • (11/14/2017 1:12:00 PM)


    ITS SO FUNNY HAPPY FUNNY BUNNY (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • 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

  • James Mclain Is It Poetry (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

  • Robert Murray Smith (11/18/2016 4:23:00 AM)


    A very clever poem. The mix of races started when man walked out of Africa (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

  • Asis Biswas (11/18/2016 1:11:00 AM)


    good writing by poet benjamin.fantastic way of seeing british. funny but real. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (11/18/2016 1:05:00 AM)

    Turn up the heat!
    Mix and blend! ! Inspirational! Justice and equality Nice piece of work. (Report) Reply

  • Damian Cranney (11/18/2016 12:57:00 AM)

    An example to the world
    Excellent write Benjamin, .Britain is an example of a cultural melting pot. More so than America. (Report) Reply

  • Jayatissa K. Liyanage (11/18/2016 12:20:00 AM)


    Going in to the crux of it and taking the essence of the them, I feel its a wonderful theme, whatever the practical concerns may be. Simile used sounds quite meaningful and understandable. Very profound meaning. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • Howard 'the motivational poet' Simon (5/16/2016 7:35:00 PM)


    A powerful perspective of unity in diversity! (Report) Reply

  • Zahid Afzal (2/28/2016 9:25:00 PM)


    The ignorance shown by some of the comments gives away the impression that none of you understood the poem or its sentiment. Maybe those of such minds should return to their Sun newspaper and leave art for the intelligent. (Report) Reply

  • (1/29/2016 6:41:00 AM)


    Sounds great on paper, but the stew is starting to have some serious problems and is about to boil over. (Report) Reply

  • Diana Van Den Berg (11/8/2015 5:41:00 AM)


    You had (and still have) me in fits of laughter over this! I absolutely adore how you blend your essential ingredient (clever, kind, fair uproariously funny humour and wit) with seriousness and a strong point! Kudos, kudos, kudos! (Report) Reply

  • (10/26/2015 11:50:00 AM)


    I like the message, but the form... (Report) Reply

  • Kelly Kurt (4/7/2015 7:23:00 PM)


    This recipe will be complete in a century or two. I wish I could be around to savor it. (Report) Reply

Read all 29 comments »

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Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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