Anything fa yow, cupcake…a poem by Matt Black

Anything fa yow, cupcake?

(a TV advert, featuring exaggerated Birmingham accents, received overwhelmingly negative feedback from Birmingham locals and further afield) 

The yampy press said, this sounds thick,
This bostin’ early English music

How we write it, how we say it,
How we posh it up, or everyday it

Geordie, Scous, Yam Yam, Brum,
Don’t unstitch my vowels from my tongue

Dialects from Cockney to Creole,
One hundred words for one bread roll

One hundred languages in every body
From Zanzibar to Kirkcaldie

Each house a wordhoard, what Gran said,
What makes Kyle Kyle, the gob on Fred

Our words ūz, but only the tip,
Note from the throat, leap of a lip

Passing ship’s journey of intent,
Gesture’s wink to what you meant

Dialect, second language or RP,
I won’t judge you, if you don’t judge me

But if you do talk posh, and I’m plastered –
You’ve got a bob on yourself, you rich bastard

Don’t level the trills, flatten the picture,
On the kaylighed hills the waerld is richer

They don’t understand? Well tough, m’ dears,
It’s nae yure accent, it’s their ears

So let’s beat the drum for Brummie,
Mumbly, bumbly and knowingly funny

And to be who you are, who I am,
Sing the fettle fittle of Yam Yam,

It’s ow we spake, bab, where we are from,
Ode suck from the cake-hole of our Mom.

 

Matt Black

 

Yampy – stupid
Kaylighed – intoxicated
Fettle fittle – excellent food
YamYams – Black country dialect speakers, because they say I am, You Am, She Am. Black country dialect is widely held to be the closest English we have to English spoken in the Middle Ages.
Suck – sweets

 

Biography

Matt Black lives in Leamington Spa, writes poems for adults and children, and was Derbyshire Poet Laureate (2011-2013). His recent collections are Spoon Rebellion (Smith Doorstop, 2017) and Tales from the Leaking Boot (Iron Press, 2018). He works on commissions, and as a visiting writer in schools, and his play The Storm Officer is touring in 2018. www.matt-black.co.uk

Matt is performing at Ledbury Poetry Festival on 1 July, and can currently be found up a ladder at The Tree House Bookshop, Kenilworth.

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Black Country dialect: two poems by the inimitable Mogs

 

Er’s Gooin’ Saft

 

I think ‘er’s gooin’ saft, ya know
Thought p’raps one day ‘er might,
Sometimes ‘er ay on this planet
The poor ‘oman just ay right.

‘Er just keeps on misplacin’ things
An I ‘ay one to mek a fuss
But ‘er faculties am fadin’
And I think ‘er’s gettin’ wus.

We woz gooin’ out this mornin’
‘Er sez, “Where’s me cardy gone?”
I watched ‘er search for yonks, then sez
“Yow’ve got the damned thing on!”

Then ‘er cor find ‘er carkays,
‘Er sez, “I just doe understond,
I’ve sid ’em somewhere, sure I ‘ave.”
I sez, “They’m in ya bloody ‘ond!”

‘Er ‘ondbags in the oven,
And ‘er purse tucked up in bed,
Then ‘er glasses, they goo missin’
And I finds ’em on ‘er yead.

By the time we gets to Asda
I cor tek any more.
To cap it all ‘er turns and sez
“What ‘ave we come ’ere for?”

I think ‘er’s gooin’ yampy
Gone saft, it’s plain to see
I s’pose it ay surprisin’ ‘cus
The poor dear’s married to me!

 

I Cor Fly

 

I sez, “I’m just a babbee bird.”
I dow’ think me mother heard
As ‘er stared into the distance, a tear in ‘er eye.
‘Er sez, “Son, I’ve done me best
But it’s time yow flew the nest.”
I sez, “I cor do that, ‘coz I cor bloody fly.”

‘Er sez, “Dow gi’ me that crap
Yow’m a fully feathered chap
And ‘ow’m ya gonna know, ’til yow’ve gid it a try?
I’m afraid the time ‘as come.
It’s time yow woz leavin’ ‘um.”
I sez, “Dow’ mek me do it Mum; I cor bloody fly.”

“It’s the easiest of things,”
‘Er sez, “Just stick out ya wings
Then stond there on the branch and leap into the sky.
Goo on, get them wings unfurled
Yow ged off and see the world.”
I sez, “I‘m gooin’ nowhere, ‘coz I cor bloody fly.”

Well to show ‘er mother’s love,
‘Er gid me a bloody shove
Fighting back the tears ‘er sez, “I loves yow son, goodbye.”
As I plummet to the ground
From ‘er branch me mum looks down
And sez, “Well, who’d a thought it? Yow cor bloody fly!”

 

Biography

Mogs has lived in the Black Country all his life. Originally from Halesowen, he now lives in Stourbridge. He was educated at Halesowen C of E and then at Halesowen Grammar School. Armed with 3 ‘O’ Levels he began work at the MEB in 1973 as a Computer Operator. In 1989 he was diagnosed with an eye condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa and in 2003 was given early retirement. He now spends his days writing and being dragged round shops and National Trust places, and regularly performs at open mic events.

Poems Your Parents Won’t Like by Johnny ‘Mogs’ Morris was published in 2017 by Black Pear Press. You can buy the book online or at these local shops:

 

 

Banner image: Zeynel Cebeci