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



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.

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