Choose a poem by Benjamin Zephaniah and prepare an analysis. Write a paragraph explaining why you have chosen it. Focus on the message of the poem and analyse at least two literacy devices present in the poem. Then, find a picture to illustrate the ideas present in the poem and post it on your blog as well. If you are good at drawing you can also make a drawing of the poem yourself. Take a picture of it and upload it too.
Choose one of the following tasks and write about it.
1. Write your own poem on one of the typical topics present in Zephaniah. Include at least one form of Inversion and highlight it. (two stanzas and a name)
2. Write an interview to Benjamin Zephniah as if you were a reporter. Include at least one form of emphasis and highlight it. ( between 10-12 exchanges)
The poem I chose is «Neighbours»:
I am the type you are supposed to fear
Black and foreign
Big and dreadlocks
An uneducated grass eater.
I talk in tongues
I chant at night
I appear anywhere,
I sleep with lions
And when the moon gets me
I am a Wailer.
I am moving in
Next door to you
So you can get to know me,
You will see my shadow
In the bathroom window,
My aromas will occupy
Our ball will be in your court.
How will you feel?
You should feel good
You have been chosen.
I am the type you are supposed to love
Dark and mysterious
Tall and natural
Thinking, tea total.
I talk in schools
I sing on TV
I am in the papers,
I keep cool cats
And when the sun is shining
I go Carnival.
I chose this poem because I really liked that it dealt with the topics of discrimination, racism, social stereotypes and shallowness. In addition, what really caught my attention was that the voice is a person who is being criticized and discriminated. Although he is very well aware of it, he wants to prove that, while he knows everything that is being said about him, his neighbour should give him a chance to change his/her mind and convince him/her that he is «the type you are supposed to love» and feel blessed for having met him.
As regards, literary terms, alliteration is present when the poet says «I talk in tongues, I chant at night«; and there isn’t a rhyme scheme but in some parts rhyme is present, for example: «window» and «shadow», or «fear» and «eater».
This is sort of the scene that I pictured in my head of what the voice is describing in the poem. A person moving next door of whom you’ve made a stereotype in your head from his or her looks, therefore, who you don’t trust very much.
As I was walking down the street,
I spotted some black men.
Without even thinking it,
I approached a couple of policemen.
Next to the officers I remained still.
But no sooner had they walked away,
than I realized how judgemental I had been,
And eventually left with a feeling of great dismay.