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‘Movin fawod to freedom’

Poems from Linton Kwesi Johnson and Benjamin Zepheniah featured in the book Tell it Like it Is


Benjamin Zepheniah

Benjamin Zepheniah


No Problem

I am not de problem
But I bare the brunt
Of silly playground taunts
An racist stunts,
I am not de problem
I am a born academic
But dey got me on de run
Now I am branded athletic,
I am not de problem
If you give I a chance
I can teach yu of Timbuktu
I can do more dan dance,
I am not de problem
I greet yu wid a smile
Yu put me in a pigeon hole
But I am versatile.

These conditions may affect me
As I get older,
An I am positively sure
I have no chips on me shoulders,
Black is no de problem
Mother country get it right,
An juss fe de record,
Sum of me best friends are white.

Benjamin Zephaniah

Another World

Those ships trespassed on my religion
Those hands strangled my life,
Those diseases infected my grass,
Dear teacher,
I have a problem with Columbus.
Dat sperm put blue in my black
For once I became Capitalism,
You can call it America,
Canada
Or Rhodesia,
I call it Ours,
You can call it free
Democratic
Or the state of something,
I call it Earth.
We went to visit him
We did not steal from him,
We told him Anansi stories
We played Kabaddi with him.
He came to us
He done physical and spiritual burglary
He shared the loot with his family,
My family was devastated.
Dear teacher,
I am not into Columbus.
Dear teacher,
Do you know what we are going through?
Have been through,
Or where we have been,
Our wise ones have been assassinated,
Our social services
Are in museums.
Ever heard of the Nubians?
Nubians are we,
Is the price right?
Priceless are we.
We are thirteen months a year
No cargo,
We are past, present and future
Not His Story,
Look teacher,
I have a problem with Columbus.

Benjamin Zephaniah

Yout Rebels

a bran new breed of blacks
have now emerged,
leadin on the rough scene,
breakin away,
takin the day,
saying to capital nevah
movin fahwod evah.
they can only be
new in age
but not in rage,
not needin
the soft and
shallow councilin
of the soot-brained
sage in chain;
wreckin thin-shelled words
movin always fahwood.
young blood
yout rebels:
new shapes
shapin
new patterns
creatin new links
linkin
blood risin surely
carvin a new path,
movin fahwod to freedom

Linton Kwesi Johnson
© Linton Kwesi Johnson, reproduced by kind permission of LKJ Music Publishers Ltd.

Linton Kwesi Johnson

Linton Kwesi Johnson



Article information

Features
Sat 15 Oct 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1972
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