Benjamin Zephaniah is 60 and still cross. And rightly so.
When I am low only an Etheridge poem will get me up to go. She is absurdly brilliant. Sandi Toksvig
I’m a poet. I write poems that make me laugh and sometimes they make other people laugh, too. I’m commissioned by lovely people like Sandi Toksvig and newspapers like The D*aily T*legraph. Yes, I took its money and am not ashamed. My poems have been performed by me, my friend Rachael and also Hugh Grant at the Royal Festival Hall. Yes, THAT Royal Festival Hall.
I perform stand-up poetry at festivals and stuff like that. The last show I did was for the Guildford Fringe Festival and was sold out. That’s how desperate people are in Guildford.
You can buy my book of slightly wrong poetry from Amazon and Waterstones. It’s called Slightly Wrong.
My favourite all-time (so far) TED video is “The Happy Secret to Better Work” by positive psychology expert Shawn Achor. It suggests that we’re more productive when we’re happy and gives you loads of ways to start creating a happier mindset.
It’s funny, informative and ultimately uplifting.
It inspired me to write a haiku, and here it is:
Amy the Unicorn. A haiku.
Married Bobo the Leper
The foals are crusty.
All will be explained:
I’m a little concerned about ice-cream vans. Usually I hear the first ice-cream van of spring in February. I haven’t heard one yet so I’m assuming the population is in decline.
Evidently, it’s spring in the Guildford postcodes so here’s a poem about it. About spring, not the Guildford postcodes.
It rhymes, because poet.
Don’t Drive Like A Twat This Springtime
Don’t drive like a twat this springtime.
Don’t mow down a badger or two.
Don’t squash a hesitant bunny
Just to get first in the queue.
So what if you’re late for your meeting
Or the last seat has gone on the train?
Some bunnies will still have their mummy
So slow down on that nasty chicane.
It’s been proven by rigorous science
That good drivers have lovely bums.
Kind drivers are terribly clever
And bad ones are terribly dumb.
All the squirrels, frogs, pigeons and foxes
And winged hairy thingies like that
Will sing your praises forever
‘Cos you didn’t drive like a twat.
For more delightful poems like this one, try Slightly Wrong
My copywriting friends, Paul Holder and Lara Groves, and I were bored one Christmas lunchtime so we came up with an important contribution to haiku culture. Lara hates Brussels sprouts. Can you guess which is the verse she wrote?
Come, friends, and let us
Praise the sprout in all its forms.
Boiled. That’s it, really.
What about breakfast?
Little balls quick fried with spuds:
Bubble and sprout squeak.
Girdle the little
Green with fine shortcrust pastry;
Lo! Sprout Wellington.
Put the kettle on
Dried balls, water to the line,
Pot Sprout for students.
Sin, scraped from the tongue,
Bitterness inspires puke.
Sprout, you win again.
Who would have thought a
Tiny cabbage engenders
Such discordant views?
When people ask me why I like
To wear my helmet when I bike
I tell them that my head is made of people
Not of concrete.
So when I’m gunning down a hill
And suddenly I take a spill
My head is made of people still
And not dogmeat.
Wear your helmet, folks!
For more rubbishy old poems, try this.
My cousin Tony
Is far too bony.
My uncle Hughie
Is far too chewy.
My lovely nan
Won’t fit in the pan.
I’ll get a takeout curry –
My neighbour Mrs Murray.
For more poems try this.
In Dark Times
by Bertolt Brecht, translated from the German by Humphrey Miles
They won’t say: when the walnut tree shook in the wind
But: when the house-painter crushed the workers.
They won’t say: when the child skimmed a flat stone
across the rapids
But: when the great wars were being prepared for.
They won’t say: when the woman came into the room
But: when the great powers joined forces against the
However, they won’t say: the times were dark
Rather: why were their poets silent?
house-painter: Brecht’s personal code for Adolf Hitler