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Benjamin Zephaniah, 1958-2023
Friend and supporter of Newham Bookshop for over 25 years

Poems written for our 25th anniversary publication in 2003

Happy everyday

All days were created equal.
Everyday has the right to recognition
And no day should be subject to
Cruel or degrading treatment.
Everyday has the right to freedom of expression
And the right to participate
In the cultural life of the community
Everyday has the right to belong to
The religion of choice,
And should not suffer discrimination based on
Sunshine, rainfall, temperature,
Or seasonal orientation

Benjamin Zephaniah, World Book Day 2003
The traveller

I trod over the mountain
I trod over the sea,
One thing I would like to see is
East Ham’s people free,
I do get stopped by cops a lot
But that don’t bring me down,
And I am not afraid to say that I love Canning Town.
The bright colours of Green Street
And those kids that make me laugh
As they make up real rude poems
As I jog round Plashet Park,
I know every fox on High Street South
And every fox knows me,
I’ve spent hours upon Beckton Alps Booklet 2003 cover
And I still can’t bloody ski.
I trod over the mountain
Rhyming as I go,
There are many great poets
In sweet Stratford-le-Bow,
And I don’t need the TV
To see well-paid pretenders,
Everyday I see the truth,
I live with real Eastenders.

Message written for our 35th anniversary publication in 2013

Benjamin Zephaniah

For 35 years Newham Bookshop has stayed both local and international at the same time, truly reflecting the local people and their ideas. This bookshop has helped the local people pass exams, fall in love, meet authors, become authors, get work experience, get life experience, learn to read, understand Britain, understand the world, understand themselves, and engage in political struggles to liberate themselves and show solidarity with others. It is a bookshop that is still a bookshop and not a transactions location, with people who serve you, and talk to you, rather than process you. This bookshop has made its mark on the history of the people of the Quotes booklet 2013 cover East End. This bookshop is so good that it has already made its mark on the future. This bookshop has had books and people at its heart for 35 years, and that’s why I love it. Everywhere you look in this shop you will see books, and if you really open your eyes, everywhere you look in this shop you will see magic.

Left: Benjamin Zephaniah with children celebrating World Book Day in 2003