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Dis Poem ~ by Linton Kwesi Johnson

Here, now I am going to post a poem which is very special to me. It has a great impression on the poems-side of my brain. There is some history to my posting it here. This poem was shared with me by a very dear friend years ago. Then, one day, I really wanted to read it. (I am sure you know the hungry feeling of revisiting a poem.) And it was lying there hidden in the list of emails in my inbox. I couldn't find it. After a long-drawn out process of trying search words, and then finally opening each mail, I uncovered it.
Now, I thought, I will put it up here, where I can read it whenever I want. Also, it is here for the rare reader who chances upon this log.

I had seen Linton Kwesi Johnson recite this (Dis) poem, if you can call it recitation. It was more like a music-less-rap-song. And each time I re-read this poem, I can almost hear him, his strong baritone. I can picture him swaying left and right, left and right, wearing a golfer's cap slanting over an eye, bringing alive for us the words in Dis Poem.


by Linton Kwesi Johnson

dis poem
shall speak of the wretched sea
that washed ships to these shores
of mothers cryin for their young
swallowed up by the sea
dis poem shall say nothin new
dis poem shall speak of time
time unlimited time undefined
dis poem shall call names
names like lumumba kenyatta nkrumah
hannibal akenaton malcolm garvey
haile selassie
dis poem is vexed about apartheid rascism fascism
the klu klux klan riots in brixton atlanta
jim jones
dis poem is revoltin against 1st world 2nd world
3rd world division man made decision
dis poem is like all the rest
dis poem will not be amongst great literary works
will not be recited by poetry enthusiasts
will not be quoted by politicians nor men of religion
dis poem s knives bombs guns blood fire
blazin for freedom
yes dis poem is a drum
ashanti mau mau ibo yoruba nyahbingi warriors
uhuru uhuru
uhuru namibia
uhuru soweto
uhuru afrika
dis poem will not change things
dis poem need to be changed
dis poem is a rebirth of a peopl
arizin awaking understandin
dis poem speak is speakin have spoken
dis poem shall continue even when poets have stopped writin
dis poem shall survive u me it shall linger in history
in your mind
in time forever
dis poem is time only time will tell
dis poem is still not written
dis poem has no poet
dis poem is just a part of the story
his-story her-story our-story the story still untold
dis poem is now ringin talkin irritatin
makin u want to stop it
but dis poem will not stop
dis poem is long cannot be short
dis poem cannot be tamed cannot be blamed
the story is still not told about dis poem
dis poem is old new
dis poem was copied from the bible your prayer book
playboy magazine the n.y. times readers digest
the c.i.a. files the k.g.b. files
dis poem is no secret
dis poem shall be called boring stupid senseless
dis poem is watchin u tryin to make sense from dis poem
dis poem is messin up your brains
makin u want to stop listenin to dis poem
but u shall not stop listenin to dis poem
u need to know what will be said next in dis poem
dis poem shall disappoint u
dis poem is to be continued in your mind in your mind
in your mind your mind