Roy's PoemsRoy McFarlane

Monday 23 October 2017
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Where you from?

Performed on the day of Roy's inauguration as Poet Laureate on 7th October 2010, National Poetry Day at the Birmingham Library theatre as part of the Birmingham Book Festival.

Where you from?
Birmingham

What do you mean?
Where my parents from,
My generation, genealogy, gene pool,
My family tree, my next of kin
Or simply going back to my roots

Where you from?
Birmingham

Why? Because we've been blessed
With all the colours God gave us
Our cocoa butter, caramel flavored,
Milk chocolate, black coffee,
Turmeric gold, brown spice
Black as a Dutch pot; flavors of the world

Where you from?
Birmingham

Why? Because we can speak other languages
As well as the Queens English
Mix jawanna with Punjabi
And ooroyt with Gujarati
Flow lyrical with patois from the Caribbean
Sing my mother's tongue from the lands of our fathers.

Where you from?
Birmingham
Where Spaghetti junction mixes with the Balti mile
Where carnivals bump with Irish celebrations
Where Chinese years begin and
German markets mark the ending
Where Heavy Metal was forged
In the workshop of the world
From the gun quarter to the jewelry quarter
And that's only half the story
So I'll stop going around the Wrekin
And in a manner of speaking
Birmingham is my home and it's where I'm from.