Poems and Letters

Here are two beautiful poems, written about me, by some lovely people. This page is still under construction, and we’ll be adding more poems and letters as time goes on.


Small beautiful woman in robes of brown and gold.
Still and birdlike, she commands the stage.
As we sit spellbound, entranced.
With sweet words in honeyed tones
She tells her tale simply, honestly;
That life is more than a playground;
We should give as much as we get;
Reward will come by being and doing,
Not just by having and longing.
She croons her speech sans script, sans slip;
Perfect. Inspirational.
Pride and congratulation bound with love and humanity;
Toughness and tenderness with the lightest of touch.“The three Cs,” she purrs:
Consideration – touching the lives of others;
Contentment with one’s lot, be it vast or humble;
Confidence to stride out, succeed, effect change.
And the “Fourth C”: Courage – to try.
Learn from failure, persevere, make a mark:
“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same…
… yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it…And then this gentle Mother Earth
With arms wide open greets, embraces every One;
Imparts her wisdom and her warmth
To each the same, on and on, all special from her touch.
And ends with a smiling promise: that in Exeter and Everywhere
Will this Alumni, on the cusp of life
Be ever after loved by One – “Floella”

Marilyn Edbrooke, July 2011

Floella Benjamin

Our dear spectacular Floella,
The glamorous Chancellor of Exeter
The woman who makes many to think and be tick
And the rescuer of many who might sink

‘Imagination’, said you, can make us get anything in life,
‘Imagination’, you said, can take us to greater heights
‘Yes, we can’
‘Yes, we can’

Your journey tells us we can
Your actions tell us we can

From Trinidad
You were a child, with a dream
And since then, a model to all
Even in House of Lords

The kids are happy, when they see Floella
The adults are happy, when they see Floella
‘Can’t we be like her?’
‘Yes, we can’
‘Can’t we summon courage and be our best in life?’
‘Yes, we can’

The success of a man
Or a woman
Is not determined
Or defined
Is not prescribed
Or proscribed
By the colour of their skin
Or the circumstances of their birth
But, by the sizes of their faith, hope and action

Think, believe, and act
And you will be like Floella Benjamin

Tunde Oseni,
Doctoral Student in Politics, Exeter University: 5 November, 2010