Poem by Benjamin Zephaniah

 Before you start to read this blog, this is a evaluation of a poem written for an English Essay and i thought why not share it as this is my first post. There is an articles in Mail online ,where Mr Harding made a comment on Jamaica language and how it has a huge impact on his daughter.  

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.

Evaluation of poem

As a girl that came from a language of poem that speaks and dances with rhyme and riddles, I’m proud to be a British citizen, where language has been allowed to flourish. As a pound citizen, I feel overwhelmed with the poem published by Benjamin Zephaniah, I feel this poem has never been more relevant than today and now it would be all too easy for children to be grouped into reflecting the prejudices of their parents.

The poem The British’ by Benjamin Zephaniah is about unity, love and justice to summon it all up, it respecting other countries and celebrates being together despite what your neighbours language or their ascent is; they still deserve respect regardless because that will bring unity and peace. However, someone like Nick Harding who is still living in the past, forgot that our current world is not segregated; it is multicultural and unified. But Mr Harding who is against Jamaican patois should learn from this poem because it teaches acceptance regardless of where the individual is from that why our pound country is called “United” Kingdom and “United “means being tighter, hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder: it means joint, combined- all these words means something to us, this is why many people immigrate to the UK because they are attracted to our love and unity so why can’t Mr Harding see this?

But then again despite all this, he still describe the youth language as “alien words” which means strange creatures, for example, if his saying patois is full of “alien words” then he is claiming Jamaican people are strange creatures, unfamiliar, outlandish and unknown. I wish to address Nick Harding who seems to have a smattering understanding of linguistic and I truly understand that we as young people we speak in abbreviations language as a form of communication because it’s a way to truly connect.

Moreover, this poem pierces through my heart, this poem makes me feel acknowledged despite the fact that I’m from different country- separated from the countries that are mentioned and I believe this creates different emotions to everyone who thinks that they have been isolated and not cared for. After reading through the poem over and over again, evaluating, zooming into to poem desperately to see if my country has been mentioned because I was hoping my country could at least be the salt or spice but unfortunately that wasn’t the case here :I’m sure Mrs Zephaniah didn’t mean to forget such an amazing country like mine.

“As they mix and blend allow their language to flourish binding them together with English” though my understanding of this quote above is it’s suggest tolerating other people’s language to grow and spread because when languages are together, they become united and loved. Also when people recognised that everyone is accepting their language and not discriminating it, then they will feel accepted into our proud English state in their tongues and even country. Do you know that not every country speak English language or even constants in their countries? If you take my country or Somalia for example; my country they speak French or fulla but we sometimes speak English however because the English is rich language,  people want to learn and listen to anyone who can speak it.

But in Somalia they speak their language and the only reason is because we don’t let their language flourish and because of that they feel hostile. But someone like Mr Harding who is against Jamaican patois and clearly stated it in his article and expressed his hatred towards our marvellous language will not agree with the quote above and I believe someone with such a position should not utter words such as “clumsy rap-speak” which mean awkward way of speaking or “bickering” which mean backbiting or talking about people behind their backs which I think is absurd for a respectful person that works as a journalist who has such a massive influenced to the world, who is the  face of our world to say such words describing such an amazing , beautiful language.

Speaking off experience because I live in an area of diverse, multicultural people who speak different language and I have attend schools where lots of Jamaicans are and they have such as welcoming, astonishing, bewildering language that can be mistaken for a poem. I believe if you listen to their language you will think you are listening to a poem or riddles  besides one of our proud, great poem writer is from Jamaican and his none other than Mr Benjamin, so if Mr Harding is insult such as a great language then he need to out into considerations that our great, famous writer is from Jamaican not to mention we have some amazing sport athletes who are currently playing for our amazing country and even better our singers, the music he or his daughter listen to is from them. I believe Mr Harding should be picking out and choosing wisely words that he could publish it as the whole world can see or even read it.

And I’m sure if not thousands, its millions of people are reading his article and of course there will be some who will totally agree with him especially people from his country and they think exactly like him but I believe the reason for this is because, they have not experienced any of this beautiful multicultural society because they have been living with the people from the same region. I totally understand him because every parents is concern about the future of their children and we all know this is a parents instinct- he thinks if his daughter start to speak in patois then she might not be able to speak the perfect English when is necessary and that is understandable because even for me, my parent always advise me to speak my language so that I won’t forget it and I believe that is every parents concern which we need to take into considerations. However, despite me saying that I also believe Mr Harding has a little understanding of our “perfect English” because the “queens language” like he said , is a combinations of different unique language that made it up but I will honestly I wholeheartedly advise him to visit London or read through our history, how English came alive.

Our country is beautiful and diverse within the hotchpotch of other language; if we look back in history for example 1066dc when French came to England or even when the Vikings came to England, they gave England 10,000 new words such as judge, jury, evidence, die, drag- words we use in our daily life and not lots of people have a knowledge of this information including Mr Harding . And I believe educating ourselves about the history will make us appreciate other people like for example Jamaicans people. The Jamaicans came to England approximately 1962 after England colonised their country on 1655; so I believe Mr Harding should not be saying things regarding Jamaican people or language since they were involved or let say in the processes of making British great- this proud and amazing country are all live in has been made of hotchpotch of different country.


English Essay by: Maria Jalloh




Categories blog, PoemTags , , ,

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