Search

Poet Benjamin Zephaniah inspired by mysterious inscription on Hampstead Heath bench

07:00 28 November 2012

Poet Benjamin Zephaniah at Mulberry House School, West Hampstead. Picture: Polly Hancock

Poet Benjamin Zephaniah at Mulberry House School, West Hampstead. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

Among the family names and loving epitaphs inscribed on benches on Hampstead Heath, are the scant few words of an Iranian poet who is long forgotten and difficult to trace.

But for a few minutes last week, a film aired on Channel 4 featuring dub poet Benjamin Zephaniah, bought the lines to life with a poem inspired by the inscription – “I was born tomorrow, yesterday killed me, today I live”.

“Bench” was directed by Natasha Serlin, who owns The Bespoke Film Company in Chalk Farm, and developed with the Rastafarian writer, who famously rejected an OBE in 2003.

“When I first came to London I used to go to the Swiss Cottage gym and after I used to go for a run on Hampstead Heath,” said Mr Zephaniah, who was also poet in residence at Keats House in Keats Grove, Hampstead.

“I noticed the benches and the bits of poetry inscribed on them.

“When the director came to me and said are there benches that would be inspiring to you, this one came to me straight away.

“With writing poetry one is taking a small idea, and making it big, or one can take a big idea, and write a few words.”

Director Ms Serlin grew up in the area and used to tell the stories of the inscriptions with her mother and sister as they walked through the park.

She explained: “I always felt the words on that bench were poignant and significant. For me the poem was about being in the present – running on the Heath is like that. I wanted to capture that essence.”

The team never traced the Iranian writer Parviz Owsia, whose name graces the bench, but they think it was commissioned by his family.

The words on the memorial bench will remain something to ponder for the Heath’s dog walkers and runners.

To watch the short film go to www.thebespokefilmcompany.com/broadcast_splash.html

0 comments

Latest News Stories

54 minutes ago
Lynne Featherstone celebrates the release of her book Equal Ever After outoside the House of Lords. Photo: Polly Hancock

Lynne Featherstone, former MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, didn’t waste much time after losing her seat in the Lib Dem cull of last year’s general election.

08:00
The Queen Mother opening the hospice

It is a national charity which traces its roots to Hampstead – and now it is appealing for new recruits in its hospice.

Yesterday, 20:38
Crouch End neighbourhood forum members Dave Winskill, Sally Mustoe & Mark Afford

Yesterday, 18:29
Headteacher John Dowd spoke at the tribunal. Picture: Nigel Sutton

An employment tribunal has today rejected a former teaching assistant’s claims that she was discriminated against because of her disability.

Yesterday, 17:42
James Flanagan was jailed for the assault

A Kentish Town man has been jailed for a “sustained, cowardly and vicious” attack which left a top sports journalist in a coma.

Yesterday, 15:39
The proposed strike has been called off Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

A 48-hour Tube strike due to start tomorrow evening has been called off.

Yesterday, 15:31
Andy Sykes claims he saw a ghost in the early hours of the morning on Parliament Hill

A man claims to have had a ghostly encounter with a Victorian-style spectre on Hampstead Heath.

Yesterday, 14:56
Foodbank volunteers packing food for hungry residents. Picture: David Jones

A foodbank centre may be forced to close, after losing support from charity the Trussell Trust

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Sony Smart Ultra HD 55'' LED TV

Enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience in your living room with the Sony Smart Ultra 55’’ LED TV. Be the envy of all your friends with this huge TV- you can change your living room into your own cinema! Get the boys around to watch the football or get the girls around to watch the DVD of 50 Shades.. this is a prize that everyone would enjoy! Stand a chance to upgrade your current entertainment system by wining this fantastic prize.

Surface Pro 4

Technology is ever evolving. We are constantly being shown new technology that is innovative, revolutionary and designed to make life easier for us all. Gone are the days of dial up modems and computers so large you needed half a room to store it. We are in the age of smooth, small and sleek. Companies are all trying their best to create technology that is easy to transport and guaranteed to be user friendly.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe