Willesden author Yvonne Bailey-Smith pens tribute to George Floyd killed in USA

PUBLISHED: 17:52 03 June 2020 | UPDATED: 18:07 03 June 2020

Yvonne Bailey-Smith

Yvonne Bailey-Smith


The mother of Zadie Smith and Ben Bailey-Smith has written a moving tribute to George Floyd who died on May 25 in Minneapolis.

Yvonne Bailey-Smith wrote A Poem for George at 5am this morning (June 3) because she “was hurting so much”.

African-American George Floyd died after a white police officer had been pressing his knee to Mr Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes while Mr Floyd was handcuffed face down on the ground.

A video showing the police officer continuing to kneel on Mr Floyd’s neck even after he pleaded he could not breathe has sparked international outrage.

A Poem for George

Please! Take your

knee off my neck

I am begging you


Take your knee off my neck

I can’t breathe

I tell you

While you keep me

Held in this place

I am a son, I am a


I am a lover,

I am a father

I am an uncle

A cousin and a friend

I am a worker and

I have a life to live

I am begging you


Take your knee off my

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I can’t breathe I tell


While you’re holding

me in this place

I need to breathe

So I can live for me


My family


Take your knee off my neck

Mama! Oh mama

I am calling on you


Reach out to me from heaven

And remove me from

this pain

I can feel my blood

flow stopping

I know my brain is


My body no longer


That knee is still on

my neck

Oh Lord my God

Please help me

Now the light has

gone from my eyes

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