poet Benjamin Zephaniah

Benjamin Zephaniah

#18 on top 500 poets

The Death Of Joy Gardner

They put a leather belt around her
13 feet of tape and bound her
Handcuffs to secure her
And only God knows what else,
She's illegal, so deport her
Said the Empire that brought her
She died,
Nobody killed her
And she never killed herself.
It is our job to make her
Return to Jamaica
Said the Alien Deporters
Who deports people like me,
It was said she had a warning
That the officers were calling
On that deadly July morning
As her young son watched TV.

An officer unplugged the phone
Mother and child were now alone
When all they wanted was a home
A child watch Mummy die,
No matter what the law may say
A mother should not die this way
Let human rights come into play
And to everyone apply.
I know not of a perfect race
I know not of a perfect place
I know this is not a simple case
Of Yardies on the move,
We must talk some Race Relations
With the folks from immigration
About this kind of deportation
If things are to improve.

Let it go down in history
The word is that officially
She died democratically
In 13 feet of tape,
That Christian was over here
Because pirates were over there
The Bible sent us everywhere
To make Great Britain great.
Here lies the extradition squad
And we should all now pray to God
That as they go about their job
They make not one mistake,
For I fear as I walk the streets
That one day I just may meet
Officials who may tie my feet
And how would I escape.

I see my people demonstrating
And educated folks debating
The way they're separating
The elder from the youth,
When all they are demanding
Is a little overstanding
They too have family planning
Now their children want the truth.
As I move around I am eyeing
So many poets crying
And so many poets trying
To articulate the grief,
I cannot help but wonder
How the alien deporters
(As they said to press reporters)
Can feel absolute relief.

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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Comments about The Death Of Joy Gardner by Benjamin Zephaniah

  • L Milton Hankins (10/18/2020 8:54:00 PM)

    This is an exceptionally well-written, meaningful poem. Thanks for sharing the theme and message of your work with the world! 10+++

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  • Deepak Kumar Pattanayak (8/23/2020 11:51:00 PM)

    This is all about injustice and discrimination that should be discouraged in every walk of life......very well scripted with powerful feelings 10++

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  • Khairul AhsanKhairul Ahsan (8/23/2020 11:49:00 PM)

    'No matter what the law may say
    A mother should not die this way
    Let human rights come into play' - Yes, you are absolutely right.
    A heart touching poem. Congratulations to the poet on its selection as the 'Modern Poem of the Day'!

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  • Mahtab BangaleeMahtab Bangalee (8/23/2020 11:21:00 PM)

    How the alien deporters
    (As they said to press reporters)
    Can feel absolute relief.......oh the last line is very pathetic; it seems in this world everything is okay but not equally; every constitution is the true helper of muscle man; true assistant of superpower aristocracy; in this world the human rights are okay not for the under poverty line dweller; press reporters have rights to write and spread the news of death otherwise they have no need in this venomous world

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  • Parameswaran Nair Damodaran NairParameswaran Nair Damodaran Nair (8/23/2020 10:04:00 PM)

    Deportation. Activities against the will of God. Man forgets humanity. What an insane world. Sick to the core. God alone has planned a solution!

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  • Dr Tony BrahminDr Tony Brahmin (8/23/2020 9:52:00 PM)

    I see my people demonstrating
    And educated folks debating
    The way they're separating
    The elder from the youth,
    very fine poem. tony

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  • Dr Tony BrahminDr Tony Brahmin (8/23/2020 9:50:00 PM)

    She died,
    Nobody killed her
    And she never killed herself.
    It is our job to make her
    Return to Jamaica
    Said the Alien Deporters..
    Great imagination, tony

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  • Dominic WindramDominic Windram (8/23/2020 2:45:00 AM)

    Powerful poem, courtesy of Benjamin Zephaniah. The death of Joy Gardner highlights the injustices of the Windrush Scandal. The political elites here in the U.K should be deeply ashamed.

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  • Deluke Muwanigwa (8/23/2020 1:09:00 AM)

    Yah this is a sick world. The Lord made this earth for ALL human beings, the borders we put are artificial and the poverty that other races endure is because of colonialism and imperialism. When you deport another human being know that you have rejected your own humanity and the God you so much love will gnash his teeth and perstilence will befall you. Every time we are cruel to Gods creations man animal or the forests God punishes us.

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  • julie doyle (5/6/2020 1:25:00 PM)

    so so moving but so so true and still things like this happen. humanity must wake up

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  • Margaret O DriscollMargaret O Driscoll (2/24/2016 4:17:00 AM)

    Thanks for composing this poem and sharing it with us, so horrific, and none of the brutal officers jailed for it! ! !

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  • Alem Hailu G/kristosAlem Hailu G/kristos (1/6/2016 9:43:00 AM)

    Yes mothers need attention.We should treat human beings equal as there is no thick blood.

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  • Nuala Treacy (6/25/2005 5:25:00 PM)

    keep shouting Benjamin some of us are listening.
    Your language is yours and it cuts a white girl like me every time
    change for the better only happens slowly but it will happen

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Read poems about / on: july, warning, history, child, mother, family, people, grief, son, joy, children, truth, fear, god, home, alone, death