The London Breed

31 10 2009

I was at the Museum of London Galleries of Modern London press briefing this week, where we heard all about the £20m renovation and extension plans for the museum. As I stood there with my hard hat and high-visibility vest listening to how they have reversed the chronology of the Modern Galleries, I caught a giant poster with a photograph of Benjamin Zephaniah and his poem, The London Breed.

It is not often that someone can take the inside of me and express it to the outside world exactly as I feel it. This poem by Mr. Zephaniah does just that. I could never have said it better myself.

Benjamin ZephaniahThe London Breed

by Benjamin Zephaniah




I love dis great polluted place
Where pop stars come to live their dreams
Here ravers come for drum and bass
And politicians plan their schemes,
The music of the world is here
Dis city can play any song
They came to here from everywhere
Tis they that made dis city strong.
A world of food displayed on streets
Where all the world can come and dine
On meals that end with bitter sweets
And cultures melt and intertwine,
Two hundred languages give voice
To fifteen thousand changing years
And all religions can rejoice
With exiled souls and pioneers.
I love dis overcrowded place
Where old buildings mark men and time
And new buildings all seem to race
Up to a cloudy dank skyline,
Too many cars mean dire air
Too many guns mean danger
Too many drugs means be aware
Of strange gifts from a stranger.
It’s so cool when the heat is on
And when it’s cool it’s so wicked
We just keep melting into one
Just like the tribes before us did,
I love dis concrete jungle still
With all its sirens and its speed
The people here united will
Create a kind of London breed.

Too Black Too Strong Blood Axe Books, 2001





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