Dear Brum - a love letter to Birmingham

A love letter to Birmingham
Published: Tuesday, 28th June 2022

‘Of course I’m here writing you again…’ With these words Birmingham Poet Laureate Casey Bailey’s updated love letter to the city started an evening of celebration.

In a video reading, Dear Brum was set to a stunning backdrop featuring key landmarks in Birmingham and was a real celebration of the city’s talent and diversity.

The event was held at the newly refurbished Banqueting Suite in the Council House last night and guests included former civic heads, councillors, business leaders and creative leads in the city.

The evening began with Lord Mayor of Birmingham Cllr Maureen Cornish introducing the poet and poem: “A love letter to Brum – an epitome of what this city is about and everything Birmingham stands for.”

Dear Brum was written as a love letter to Birmingham, to capture the hearts and minds of Birmingham and provide a voice for our citizens to shout about what we love about our city.

It is about creating a moment to inspire the Birmingham community and shine a light on our city, inspiring civic pride not only ahead of the Commonwealth Games, but beyond too.

After the reading Casey talked about how he came up with the poem: “I wanted to think about things that are iconic in the city and the fact that it isn’t always a love story. I wanted to encapsulate all the emotions I have towards the city.”

Cllr Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council who spoke at the event said: "This fantastic poem was a highlight of an unforgettable evening that made me feel so proud of Birmingham and the incredible talent we have here. The Commonwealth Games are almost upon us and I want people in neighbourhoods right across the city to feel part of the Games and their legacy. This is such a golden opportunity for Birmingham. As Casey’s poem says, we’ve got to ‘go for gold’.”

Note to editors:

Poem in full:

Dear Brum

Of course I’m here writing you again

The marrow in my bones, the fire in my pen

You are the music in my accent, the reason that I sing

Placed like the main attraction, the middle of everything

It’s so appropriate that we sit in the centre of the land

A place that so many can reach but few can understand

You have to really breathe it in, walk amongst these people

In this so called second city, we are more than just a sequel

Original in every way the light that never fades

And yes you heard the games are coming, but my city doesn’t play

So let the flags stream through, but we’ve had a preview

In the city that is home to so many day to day

It hasn’t always done us proud, home of Enoch’s speeches

Rivers couldn’t wash the blood, you can’t dust or clean it

Its legacy lives on, and we’ve definitely moved on

But life is not always a beach, in the city of no beaches

We’ve had our dark Sundays, but Monday brings dawn

So we survive the black sabbaths, where Ozzy was born

Iommi, Ward, and Butler making every song special

Down the road from Iron Bridge, we were forging heavy metal

Where Rowland Hill invented stamps, Where Jaykae makes grime

A place with so much heritage, yet somehow in its prime

Just look at chamberlain square, clock tower rising in the air

And you don’t even have to stare for you to see that it’s our time

And time is precious, with the beauty and the pain that it delivers

Glass buildings rise around me I’m reflecting in these mirrors

When I think of what I’ve lost in this city I get shivers

Shivers, I get shivers

But if I’m the town hall then the city is its pillars

The expertise at the QE cannot be overstated if you understand it

There’s a reason why Birmingham’s the place where Malala landed

When she arrived her life was on the edge let’s not understate it

Fought for girls education then in Edgbaston, she was educated

Proud, that’s the way my city makes me feel

Loud, about achievements that you won’t believe are real

Clouds, can hammer us with rain and make the river swell

But the storm is water off a duck’s back on these Brum canals

I am Leon Priestnall’s words, Jamelia’s superstar

There’s an Annotomix Fox spray painted on my heart

The art, just like the people round here, is eclectic

Putting on a show for years, go and check in The Electric

Respect it, the special kind of story that we write

Give it credit and that’s by the order of Stephen Knight

Keep running, it’s just another lap of Alexander Stadium

Go for gold on the podium

Be Bold, Be Birmingham

rating button