Thought For The Day – Friday 8th December 2023
The Bard of Birmingham, Everywhere, Everyone and Everything
Yesterday, Benjamin Zephaniah, a truly great person, poet, writer, actor and activist passed away.
Rest In Power.
In his life and work, Benjamin Zephaniah stood up for equality, diversity and inclusion. He stood up for others, particularly the most vulnerable, as well as the environment, including animals. He wrote of the wrongs of racism, speciesism and all negative prejudice and discrimination.
Like all great citizens, Benjamin was a voice for the voiceless. He treated others as he wished to be treated. He used his platform to elevate, enlighten, empower and encourage.
Benjamin demonstrated commitment, aspiration, respect, integrity and community. He showed resilience and responsibility. All this was done with grace, humility, humour and love.
Benjamin Zephaniah was born and raised in Handsworth, Birmingham, the son of a Barbadian postman and a Jamaican nurse. He was a child of “The Windrush Generation”, to which the U.K. owes so much.
Benjamin was dyslexic and left school aged 13, unable to read or write.
Our roots are so important. Benjamin always represented his home city, the brilliant city of Birmingham, and his community, wherever he went. He called Birmingham the centre of his universe. Benjamin supported Aston Villa. It was fitting that as he passed away his team outplayed a Pep Guardiola team like no other team has.
Benjamin was truly global and multicultural though. As one of his most famous quotes states :“This planet is for everyone, borders are for no one. It’s all about freedom”.
Benjamin believed poetry should dance.
Art matters. Language matters. Literature matters.
Poetry matters. Poets matter.
It, and they, express all that matters in a beautiful, memorable, moral, profound and symbolic manner, wasting no language.
Poets show their work in their good and great lives.
BBC tribute to Benjamin Zephaniah: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-67655014