Poems to share

An Ode to a Muckle

Oh who doesn’t love the way Geordies talk?
With our vowels so inflated and happy;
our souvenir shops are stuffed with bags and mugs
boasting slogans like “Whey Aye” and “Canny”.

Cos tourists take joy in this strange sound,
that’s why call centres thrive in the region.
But experts are scared that within 30 years
these words will end up in museums.

From Ofsted school missions that enforce standard diction,
to employers who want the Queen’s speech,
it seems terms like “Howay” might soon be erased
by an age that finds them obsolete.

And there’s some who believe this is progress,
that this dialect just causes trouble,
but if it’s resigned to the scrap heap of time
the word that I’d miss most is “Muckle”.

Now, “Muckle”, for those not acquainted,
is a term that means big, by the by.
But it’s so much more glorious than large or enormous,
it implies something freakish in size.

For example, let’s consider a monster.
You could say: “He’s gigantic, Godzilla.”
But you’d grasp so much more of his massive proportions
if you called him “a pure muckle lizard.”

Though, in truth, stick it in any sentence,
the value’s increased at least double:
“Look at Dave’s muckle face”, “That’s a muckle car chase”,
“I’m not paying that gas bill, it’s muckle.”

Imagine the great works of literature
that would gain once this word was put in:
Just think of Charles Dicken’s Muckle Expectations,
or Mark Twain’s Muckleberry Finn.

And I know these sounds aren’t always useful,
they confuse all my friends in the South,
but I’m scared of how dull this world would become
if each one of us used the same mouth.

No, let’s cherish these home grown devices,
the quirks in the way that we speak.
Cos we’re all part of one muckle planet at heart,
but our differences make us unique.

Rowan McCabe

Rowan McCabe is a poet from Newcastle upon Tyne. Aware that poetry isn’t a proper job, he decided to create his own and is now the world’s first Door-to-Door Poet. Knocking on stranger’s houses, he asks what is important to them. He then goes away and writes a poem about this, free of charge, before bringing it back and performing it on their doorstep. Rowan also performs on stages and has appeared at Glastonbury Festival and the Royal Albert Hall. He was the winner of the 2015 Great Northern Slam and his work has been featured in the Guardian, on BBC Breakfast and was named ‘Best of Today’ on Radio 4.

“The most interesting contribution to cultural life from anyone in poetry recently” – Sophia Walker, poet

“A must-see” – Tim Wells, Morning Star

Image Credit: picturesbybish