‘Wasted Knowledge’…… Benjamin Zephaniah……From ‘Unbound’….

by Bernie Bell - 09:46 on 08 December 2023

‘Wasted Knowledge’……

John Hamilton Louch sent me a book of his short stories and essays, and a book of his poetry - with permission to reproduce any pieces which I chose to.  The following ‘struck a chord’ with me as I believe that knowledge is given, or gained, to be shared – shared as widely as possible.


‘Wasted Knowledge’


Rare knowledge trapped within the mind,

Like books within a dusty store,

Bears no reward of any kind,

Except for those who at their end

Leave empty shelves and nothing more.


Creative thought, not writ today,

Is like fine sand that’s blown around;

Though briefly here it drifts away,

And when not shared with fellow man,

Those golden grains will not be found.




Benjamin Zephaniah


I was sorry to read this….


The world needs more like him, not less.

Here’s one of his poems which is very timely…


The British

Take some Picts, Celts and Silures
And let them settle,
Then overrun them with Roman conquerors.

Remove the Romans after approximately 400 years
Add lots of Norman French to some
Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Vikings, then stir vigorously.

Mix some hot Chileans, cool Jamaicans, Dominicans,
Trinidadians and Bajans with some Ethiopians, Chinese,
Vietnamese and Sudanese.

Then take a blend of Somalians, Sri Lankans, Nigerians
And Pakistanis,
Combine with some Guyanese
And turn up the heat.

Sprinkle some fresh Indians, Malaysians, Bosnians,
Iraqis and Bangladeshis together with some
Afghans, Spanish, Turkish, Kurdish, Japanese
And Palestinians
Then add to the melting pot.

Leave the ingredients to simmer.

As they mix and blend allow their languages to flourish
Binding them together with English.

Allow time to be cool.

Add some unity, understanding, and respect for the future,
Serve with justice
And enjoy.

Note: All the ingredients are equally important. Treating one ingredient better than another will leave a bitter unpleasant taste.

Warning: An unequal spread of justice will damage the people and cause pain. Give justice and equality to all.


If any of you are asking – where are the Irish, East Europeans etc?  Well – one generation/change of accent and it’s hard to tell where a person’s parents came from – colour enables bigots to point the finger.  I wrote about this in this piece….


And I quote….

“Race – described in the programme as the most pernicious of all myths. I’m not sure about that – some of the other myths have done, and are capable of doing, as much harm as the myths about racial inequality. 

What’s referred to as racial prejudice, is often colour prejudice.  If someone with a fair skin moves from, say, Eastern Europe or Ireland, by the next generation the accent has gone, and it’s harder for people to point the finger.  A shading on the skin is easier of the bigots to see and react with their pet myths about it.

I grew up in Bradford, in Yorkshire, where you can get purely racially Asian people who talk with a broader accent than me!!  I suppose that’s why I don’t understand colour prejudice, my friends were, and are, from all sorts of countries, like the Liverpool song says “There’s every race and colour of face, and every kind of name, but the pigeons on the pier-head, they treat us all the same”.

I’ve wandered away to what I’ve written – back to what Benjamin wrote….



From ‘Unbound’………

"We can learn from each other and expand our knowledge – if we look at it like that, it takes away the fear and enables barriers to be broken down. We can feel less alone."

Lizzie Pickering, When Grief Equals Love

2nd-8th December marks National Grief Awareness Week 2023. It's designed to prompt discussion surrounding the grieving process and to help better understand how to support to those who have experienced loss.

We've put together a list of our books which grapple with the complexities of grief in beautifully nuanced ways. The diversity of stories from our authors demonstrates that there is no right or wrong way to grieve, nor is it a linear experience.

'I want this book to be almost like a lighthouse, for the people that really need it'

Kat Brown, editor of No One Talks About This Stuff 

For more information and resources, take a look at Macmillan Cancer Support, Mind, The Good Grief, Marie Curie and the Children Bereavement Network


When Grief Equals Love: Long-term Perspectives on Living with Loss

Lizzie Pickering

'This book will help to navigate a path through the wilderness of loss, and bring comfort and light to those who have given up hoping for either' Juliet Stevenson CBE

When Lizzie Pickering's young son Harry died in 2000, she set out on a journey to understand how she could survive her grief and learn to live with it. In When Grief Equals Love, she details the lessons she’s learned from her own experiences and those of others, who share their thoughts in this moving and tender book.

Lizzie opens her diaries, written in the early years after Harry’s death, revealing her observations on the grief of his siblings and family, what helped and what hurt. Revisiting those diaries, she reflects on time passing, and what has changed for her and her family since.

Get your copy


The Green Hill

Sophie Pierce

'A book about what it means to be a human, and that, we find, is a high, deep, demanding calling, of terrible beauty' Charles Foster, New York Times bestselling author of Being a Beast.

In 2017, Sophie Pierce’s life changed forever when her twenty-year-old son Felix died suddenly and unexpectedly. By writing letters to Felix – composed during walks and swims taken close to his burial place by the River Dart – Sophie gradually learned how to live in the landscape of sudden loss, navigating the weather and tides of grief.

The Green Hill collects these letters alongside Sophie’s account of the years following Felix’s death, into which she weaves poignant memories of his life. What results is a deeply moving, beautifully captured record of how – amid the rivers and rocks of Dartmoor, and in the sea off the South Devon coast – Sophie was able to hold on to and nurture her bond with Felix.

Get your copy


Love lay down beside me and we wept

Helen Murray Taylor

The trees were offering me shelter and peace. All I wanted to do was surrender to them, to curl up under their branches on that bed of dry needles, and sleep. And if I died of hypothermia during the night, so much the better' 

The book sprang from an essay that was published a couple of years ago in Boundless magazine about my experience of being admitted to a psychiatric ward and sectioned under the Mental Health Act. An experience which, as you might imagine, was pretty grim. Amid the horror though, there were moments of pure comedy and unexpected comradeship. And of course, plenty of material for writing.

Years later, I saw a Channel 4 news feature about proposed changes to the Mental Health Act in England. As I listened to people's accounts of frustration and anger at their loss of agency and their sense of being treated as less than human, and even though all our circumstances varied widely, their experiences resonated so clearly with mine that I knew it was the time to send my essay out into the world.

Get your copy


This Party's Dead

Erica Buist

'Poignant and often hilarious' Publishers Weekly

By the time Erica Buist’s father-in-law Chris was discovered, upstairs in his bed, his book resting on his chest, he had been dead for over a week. 

With Mexico’s Day of the Dead festivities as a starting point, Erica decided to confront death head-on by visiting seven death festivals around the world. This Party’s Dead is the account of her journey to understand how other cultures deal with mortal terror, how they move past the knowledge that they’re going to die in order to live happily day-to-day, how they celebrate rather than shy away from the topic of death – and how when this openness and acceptance are passed down through the generations, death suddenly doesn’t seem so scary after all.

Get your copy


The Diary of Losing Dad

Emily Bevan

'Grief can bond you with people. And fast. Despite the fact that all our circumstances are different, there is a shorthand that exists'

Actor and writer Emily Bevan recalls the surreal months leading up to her father’s untimely death, during which she was filming a zombie series for television. Told from the perspective of a family who are stress-eating Percy Pigs, scrabbling around for change for the parking machine, and breaking down in the chemist because the pharmacist won’t sell them two packets of cream, this moving account is interspersed with diary entries, poems and her daily scribblings. Here Emily renders scenes of hospital life – both devastating and life-affirming – together with anecdotes of her family rallying around this much-loved man, and the poignant memories of his constant and enduring presence.

Get your copy


No One Talks About This Stuff

ed. Kat Brown

'Each shared experience powerfully validates and chips away at shame, as it speaks the truth of hoping, waiting, losing, loving and questioning' Anna Mathur, bestselling author of Know Your Worth

No One Talks About This Stuff is a support group for almost-parents. A place to share their journeys of loss and limbo, to confront social pressure and to find courage in the darkness of tragedies which happen every day yet are brushed under the carpet.

So, we hear from a stepmother who wrestles with infertility. A husband and wife each tell their experience of losing their baby. A lesbian comes of age at a time when gay people rarely become parents. A father finds loss to be his unlikely superpower. Complex post-traumatic stress disorder impacts a person’s choices about having a family. A black woman unpacks ancestral shame while finding renewed purpose. And each person shares how they lived through it.

Pre-order your copy


Here’s one I made earlier… https://theorkneynews.scot/2022/03/22/recipe-pasta-with-tuna-apricots/



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