Something Which I Like


Have a read of this: 

Reading in a Caribbean accent would help it have more of an effect:

By: Linton Kwesi Johnson

Wen mi jus come to Landan toun
Mi use to work pan di andahgroun
But workin pan di andahgroun
Yu dont get fi know your way around

Inglan is a bitch
Deres no escapin it
Inglan is a bitch
Deres no runnin whey fram it

Mi get a lickle jab in a bih otell
An awftah a while, mi woz doin quite well
Dem staat mi aaf as a dish-washah
But wen mi tek a stack, mi noh tun clack-watchah

Inglan is a bitch
Deres no escapin it
Inglan is a bitch
No baddah try fi hide fram it

Wen dem gi you di lickle wage packit
Fus dem rab it wid dem big tax rackit
Yu haffi struggle fi mek ens meet
An wen yu goh a yu bed yu jus cant sleep

Inglan is a bitch
Deres no escapin it
Inglan is a bitch
A noh lie mi a tell, a true

Mi use to work dig ditch wen it cowl noh bitch
Mi did strang like a mule, but bwoy, mi did fool
Den awftah a while mi jus stap dhu ovahtime
Den awftah a while mi jus phu dung mi tool

Inglan is a bitch
Deres no escapin it
Inglan is a bitch
Yu haffi know how fi survive in it

Well mi dhu day wok an mi dhu nite wok
Mi dhu clean wok an mi dhu dutty wok
Dem seh dat black man is very lazy
But if yu si how mi wok yu woulda sey mi crazy

Inglan is a bitch
Deres no escapin it
Inglan is a bitch
Yu bettah face up to it

Dem a have a lickle facktri up inna Brackly
Inna disya facktri all dem dhu is pack crackry
Fi di laas fifteen years dem get mi laybah
Now awftah fifteen years mi fall out a fayvah

Inglan is a bitch
Deres no escapin it
Inglan is a bitch
Deres no runnin whey fram it

Mi know dem have work, work in abundant
Yet still, dem mek mi redundant
Now, at fifty-five mi gettin quite ol
Yet still, dem sen mi fi goh draw dole

Inglan is a bitch
Deres no escapin it
Inglan is a bitch
Is whey wi a goh dhu bout it?

Studying English Language and Literature at University can be quite intense in the first few weeks as you are thrown right into it. It is not the process you have become so used to throughout your education. You do not simply read a book over a few weeks and discuss different points about it as time moves on. Instead, the modules range from Literary Theory, Language Through Time and the more literature types such as texts set in London, aptly called ‘Writing London.’ The poem above was part of a collection studied for one week’s lecture and I ended up taking quite a liking to it-not simply because it sounds pretty cool but also because of the meaning behind it. It is a sad, yet defiant poem written in the 1980s by Johnson who is quite an interesting and amazing poet. His tackling of the issues facing people-migrants in particular- back then continues to relate to the plight of the working class in London today. The gentrification of many areas has led to people barely surviving and being priced out of their community that has been their home for years.

I would recommend you give Linton Kwesi Johnson a listen on the good old YouTube: 

Let me know your thoughts

A Worried Student

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7 thoughts on “Something Which I Like

  1. I like this poem. I like the constant rhyme. And the parts that are hard to understand get easier with each listen. And the fact you added the lyrics help. Do you think England is a bitch?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Life can be hard and yes, at times a bitch. One can not argue with the poet’s perspective as it is just that, their perspective. However I can not agree that England is a bitch. There is a long tradition of tolerance in this country and despite it’s undoubted faults it does, in my opinion remain a wonderful place in which to live.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Bear in mind that this poem was written over thirty years ago and there were pockets of intolerance around the country. I guess this poem isn’t really an attack on England but the prejudice and difficulties of starting life there versus the idealistic notions of its being ‘easy.’

      Liked by 1 person

      • I take your point. Back in the mid 1990’s I, as a white man was dating a woman of Afro-Caribbean descent born in this country. When we visited rural Cornwall we received quite a bit of attention in terms of people stirring, however how much of this was down to prejudice and how much to curiosity (as there where not, at that time many people from ethnic minorities in Cornwall) I have no way of telling. Also I guess the site of a black woman with a blind man, with a guide dog was a little novel. To England’s credit we have, traditionally been a haven for refugees, for example Jews escaping Nazi Germany.

        Liked by 2 people

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