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

20 minutes ago
Ambulance

A 23-year-old man will appear in court today accused of causing death by dangerous driving following a collision in Camden Road on Sunday morning

17 minutes ago
Whittington Hospital NHS trust have paid damages to the bereaved family

Bereaved husband of breast cancer patient spearheads action against Archway hospital

Yesterday, 19:03
Firemen were called to the Swiss Cottage flat

A mother has been found guilty of attempted arson whilst being reckless after starting a fire at her Swiss Cottage flat where her seven-year-old daughter lay sleeping.

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

The latest North London property news and features straight into your inbox.

Other Emails:
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

David Cameron will lay out his plans for helping to better protect children from sexual exploitation.

And it’s not the first time this has happened.

Sunderland have suspended Johnson pending the police investigation’s outcome.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24
Our trusted business finder