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!”



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

Black Country poetry: a selection by the Coachhouse Writers, Stourbridge


Not Forgotten


No-one cared to count the years of raindrops
falling on the spoil – a man-made mountain –
a dark picture of patient malevolence
looming over evidence of the living.

And when fate announced its intentions
the nightmare scooped years from a careless past,
sending death on its journey to the valley below,
sliding and slipping, with a roar that
chilled blood, bringing terror to the innocents.

And when the devil’s thunder fell silent,
screams filled the damp morning air;
extinguished lights swung lazy, overhead,
the sodden, viscous muck, below,
filled the classrooms deep enough to kill.

Smothered, crushed, a generation lay buried –
few carried alive from the school, while the village
searched for its kin in the ink-black mud.
And it all grew quiet, save the scraping of shovels,
painting grief in the sordid dirt.

Each feared-for discovery silenced the valley,
an intuitive awareness of tragedy obvious
to the grown numbers digging against hope,
as limp rag-dolls were taken, one-by-one,
from the clinging, corrupt ground.

To begin with, they dug for life,
then they dug to find the dead,
eventually, they dug the trench
where friends would be with friends,

covered in flowers and tears,


First Flight – Last Flight


Where I first saw the flash
of a kingfisher’s flight,
explosion of colours
through the air;
where I heard the sounds
of the scrabbling brook,
over polished stones,
full flowing somewhere.

Where I first knew fulfilment,
aware of life’s treasures,
discovered this haven
of beauty and peace;
where a boy began dreaming
of knights and of rainbows
and smiles of contentment –
freedom, release.

So, please,

when my wings have grown weary,
my eyes have grown dim –
when I’ve said my goodbyes to you all,
take my soul in your thoughts –
take my love in your hearts –
take my life, let it be, let it fall

in that stream, where boys played,
in that life, overlaid
with wonder and laughter and fun;
where love of a family
overcame the harsh days,
every minute a walk in the sun.


Michael Alma


Dollops and Glue


My Aunty and I, affixed forever
in the pages of my childhood cookbook.
Unrecognisable smears and substances,
hard and soft, share our past.
Ever expanding chocolate cookies,
a smatter of hundreds and thousands
on page and tongue,
Hallowe’en spiders, orange eyes and liquorice legs,
fraternal disputes over cracking eggs,
the naughty step!
Choosing, messing, making, eating.
A plethora of unrecognisable offerings
stacked in sandwich boxes,
their destination home.
The door closed on a kitchen chaos.
Sifting through photographs of perfect products,
pondering next week’s challenge.
Dollops….. and glue!


Anne Hodnette


The Signal


if I sit beside you,
that is not a signal
if I speak to you,
that is not a signal
if I smile pleasantly,
that is not a signal
that you can touch my body.
How hard is it to understand
you do not have the right to
stroke or hold me
without my express permission?
If I do not react,
that is not agreement
If I don’t rebuff you
I may still be young
or shocked
or frozen to the spot
So do not laugh it off-
I am your
and I will give the signal.




I am woman
let me sit here
and weave the
pattern emerging from my deft fingers
pick wild rice and berries
or sing to soothe
my children-
songs of the river


I am also man
my male spirit
will take me over prairie
and plain
riding swiftly
leading my tribe
to defend our land

two spirits in my one body
my people know and honour me
consider me strong
their teacher,
medicine maker
they revere and respect me
for I am doubly blessed
gifted with two spirits.


(The Odjibwe culture of North America includes a third gender, those who wish to live as both man and woman.)

Moira McNulty