A Wolverhampton Winner
I entered a poetry competition in 2011 where I had to write a poem about Wolverhampton City. I wanted to write something compelling, catchy and clever. Many ideas about Wolverhampton entered my head. Surprisingly a thought came to mind, ‘What is it that makes Wolverhampton? It’s the people. What gives the people a sense of belonging to the city?’ It’s the dialect and the diversity.
I wrote a humorous poem which I submitted to the Wolverhampton Archives Poetry Competition 2011. It was judged anonymously.
An Interpretation Of Wolverhampton
I heard a friend from Birmingham say,
"If yow thought Brummies sounded funny,
man, wait'll yow get ta Woolverramton, t’ay
y’naa, them am tekkin the piss an it aye!”
English? I believe it’s an interpretation thing.
Once I met an old Indian woman at a bus stop,
“Bulbulhamtan noo jaandi hai bus?” she asked.
Smiling, I nodded, “Haanji, it’s only a short hop.”
Chuckling to myself, “My entertaining city, it’s top!”
Punjabi? I believe it’s an interpretation thing.
A Black-Caribbean man stopped and enquired,
“Ary yu dat ‘umaan hoo work in di counceel?”
Confused, I asked him to repeat what he required,
“Hulvahaamtown Counceel, mi dear gal!” he fired.
Patois? I believe it’s an interpretation thing.
Every category of human being all within reach,
A specially formulated city; a hint of prejudice.
Engaging everyday life; diverse tongues, speech,
An accidental evolution; an awareness to teach,
Wolverhampton? It’s an interpretation thing.
When I wrote this, I remembered the numerous conversations I’d had and heard while traveling on the buses, on the streets, in the market place, at work etc. I wanted to give my work some humour and wit.
I could hardly believe it when I was told that my poem had been selected as a winner in the competition. I had never won anything in relation to my writing before. So, as you can imagine, I was very excited and pleased to have my poem chosen as a third prize winner. I felt privileged to be among the top local poets like Jane Seabourne, Peter Hill and Win Saha. Wow!
As a winner, I was asked to collect my prize at a presentation event and read my poem out to an audience at Wolverhampton Archives, where we were to be photographed for the local newspapers. I thought, “OMG!” how was I going to read it out in public. I asked if someone else could read my poem for me, as I knew my speech would not give it the justice it needed. It was performed by my friend Daljit Bains.
Being a winner gave me pride in myself as a writer and poet. Now my poem, along with other winners is archived in Wolverhampton City Archives for future generations to see.
Posted by Kuli Kohli, 19 December 2015
Last modified by Kuli Kohli, 19 December 2015