O lovely Brum, O sprawling mess,
home of ingenuity, enterprise and engineering,
dirt and noise as metal is bashed
into products to travel the world.
Nuts and bolts to hold it together,
locks to keep it shut, machines and motorcars,
tools and tyres and taxicabs,
Cadbury’s chocolate, beer and Bird’s Custard.
Your jeweled genius adorns the throats
of the loveliest ladies.
The Stock Exchange and the Birmingham Mint
assure the wealth of nations.
Your theatres, your music, your public art,
from golden boys Boulton and Watt
surveying their City at the top of Broad Street
outside the building where I was wed,
to the Floozie in the Jacuzzi in Victoria Square.
From that strange fantastical Selfridges building
to the monstrous concrete wind tunnel library,
so ugly they’ve gone and listed it.
Your people from umpteen races
so full of character and humour,
swarm in terraced rows and high-rise blocks
lord it in Georgian Edgbaston elegance,
preserve their respectability in miles of suburbs,
all living rather more than less in harmony.
Not native-born and yet I loved the years I spent
with your quirky characters,
your Brummy backchat and humour,
your enterprise, your get up and go –
and some of us got up and went.
Pictures from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
I started this with the best of intentions to follow Margo Roby’s last “places” prompt http://margoroby.wordpress.com/, to aprostrophise my subject, using a copy-change format. Then I was carried away on a tide of nostalgia, and promptly forgot what I was supposed to be doing. As a first draft, I appreciate that this is over-wordy, but Birmingham is a city that has everything, is constantly mocked and under-rated, so my poem is the first draft of an attempt to show it in its real multi-coloured splendour.