Slow Train to Tipton

We pull out of Walsall as slow as a summer breeze,
barely moving fast enough it seems to stir the trees.
Once chicken sandwiches are consumed there’s little to do,
than gaze out of the train’s window at the view.
Watching clouds scroll calmly across a hot June sky,
hovering over cranes and scaffolding helping a new town arise.
While we’re overtaken by cars and lorries on an adjacent motorway,
unlike us speeding swiftly on their way.
Then we crawl through yards of rusty stock and freight,
my plans for today condemned it seems to wait.

Two seats down the lad in black denim closes his eyes,
feet and fingers tapping to a song in his mind.
Other passengers stare at phones or blow on hot coffee
stirring and shifting in the train’s uncomfortable seats.
While the red of brick and green of tree,
slowly parade past the window for all to see.
People amble on board at every frequent stop,
starting long journeys or short commuter hops.
As the world turns, stars burn, planets are born then die,
the slow train to Tipton goes steadily by.



When My mom bought me home from hospital
all ten and a half pounds of me – pride of the ward
I was paraded for the neighbours.~
My mom remembers that
as I sucked my foot Pauline from number 14
took one look at me and said.
“He looks soft in the head
I think he’s puddled,
no, no he’s yampy.”
And just like that an old phrase
was fitted round a young boy
who started to grow into it.
“He’s Yampy.” My neighbours said about me when I was young,
as I rode my Grifter bicycle no-handed past their shocked faces,
laughing as I crashed into their beloved shrubs.
“He’s Yampy.” They whispered from behind their windows
as I walked to school,
laces untied, shirt hanging out, head in the clouds.
Teachers echoed these taunts.
“Could do better, must try harder, slacker.”
I didn’t care as I couldn’t change
as yampy was encoded into my DNA.
Fast forward I grew up – a bit – and discovered beer.
“He’s Yampy after a few.” They said in my local.
“He’s Yampy before he’s walked in the door.” Was the reply.
Fag in my gob, pint in my hand I joined in the laughter.
When I met my wife she used to laugh at my bad memory
“Come on you yampy bugger ,” she’d say.
“Why can’t you remember my favourite drink?
Why can’t you remember when my birthday is?
Why can’t you remember your own poems?”
It’s true us yampys do have memory problems,
our brains are like attics
stuffed with junk that we think one day might
come in useful again.
Then when we want to remember something we
struggle to find it,
often forgetting why we wanted it in the first place.

When my daughter was born people said,
thinking they were out of my earshot.
“I hope she takes after her mom.”
I ignored them as I cradled my new born, writing a poem about her in my head.
Poetry I know, I was as surprised as you.
But us yampys are drawn to poetry like
a seagull is drawn to chips.
Snatching ideas and words, squawking them back out
cackling like the bird brains we are.
Poetry was one of the many plasters I applied to my brain,
I tried drugs legal and not but
being yampy cannot be cured only
lulled into drowsiness until
it snaps awake at 12 am demanding your attention,
like a pet dog demands an urgent midnight piss.
Recently I thought about burning all my old school reports,
then I thought about burning all my old school photos,
then I thought about burning all the mementoes of my teenage years.
But I didn’t think about burning my bridges
I’m yampy not stupid.


Yampy is a local term where I live to describe someone who is daft or losing the plot.

Quick plug this poem features in my latest poetry collection A Pigeon among the cats.

The UK version can be found here, paperback or Kindle

The US version can be found here, paperback or Kindle

The Beast from the Black Country


There’s a dreary mist on the canal,
As the moon shines brightly down.
On shopping trollies and ducks,
Drifting silently all around.

Then suddenly without warning,
A scaly head comes up for air.
The Beast from the Black Country,
Is leaving its watery lair.

The creature’s nose twitches,
On the breeze a scent it’s catching.
The monster knows its prey is near,
It can smell pork scratchings.

The Beast creeps down the road,
Its webbed feet silent on the street.
It claws scratch at the pub window,
As in for scratchings it tries to reach.

You’ll never notice when you drink a beer,
That outside the beast is lurking.
Then when you pop out for a cigarette,
It gobbles down your scratchings.

So when you return to your table
The arguments will begin.
You shout “who ate all my scratchings?”
As outside the creature grins.

Stuffed the Beast retreats,
Sinking back into the canal.
No clue left to its presence,
Except a fried pork smell.

So if you see the Black Country Beast,
Feed it scratchings or crisps but.
You would be very, very unwise,
If you let it nibble your nuts.

A Black Country Ode by guest poet Matt Humphries

Matt Humphries

As the fifth anniversary of this site fast approaches – it’s tomorrow – I decided that rather than write a long piece about my unexciting journey from there to here I’d do something different. So today I’m sharing a poem from my good friend and poet Matt Humphries.

A Black Country Ode

There’s a place I know
Called the Black Country, see
It stretches to Stourbridge
Up to Walsall in the North.

We often get confused
With our cousin the Brummie
But the accent is different
Where else in the world
Would you get to be called yampey?

The people are proud, friendly and warm
But don’t upset the old lady
Or you’ll end up in a brawl
The pubs they are full

Of colourful characters
All with tall stories
Of legend and woe
The women are pretty
But don’t upset your wench.

Cos if you do
Your life won’t be worth living, and
Her brothers will seek
A suitable recompense.

Yes the Black Country is different
But it’s the place we call home
We’re proud of our heritage
The factories and furnaces
The canals and the industry.

We were built on hard work
And even harder play
On a Saturday night
Everyone comes out to play.

There’s the darts and there’s football
And betting on slow ‘osses
Dancing and drinking as we
Try to score with the wenches.

The Black Country is wrong
On so many levels.
But like I said it’s our home
Of which we’re rightly proud
I just thought I’d say.

Want to know more about Matt , here’s a quick bio written by the man himself

My name is Matt Humphries and I’m a poet from Walsall. I have only been writing poetry for a relatively short space of time, I tend to write in a retrospective way a lot of the time and take my inspiration from things that I see or read. I hope you enjoy this poem. If you have any feedback my email is

Thanks Matt, hopefully he will have a poetry book out soon which I will cover here.

Fancy a guest slot here? Just email me to discuss.

Come back tomorrow for my fifth anniversary poem.

Beer Froth my first published poetry book is now available.

Long term fans of the blog may have noticed content has been slow these last few months. Well I can finally reveal why. I’ve been busy writing, editing and self publishing my first poetry anthology ” Beer Froth.”

Beer Froth poetry book by Richard Archer

Beer Froth is a collection of my favorite poems from this site, edited specially for this collection and some brand new poetical work as well. Here is the book’s advertising spiel…

Beer Froth is a collection of poetry from Walsall poet Richard Archer. From pork scratchings and unicorns to OCD and Were-Hamsters this poetry anthology covers all these and more. A collection designed to hopefully make you laugh and think, not necessarily in that order.

The book contains nearly sixty poems, each with its own Director’s Commentary. Here I try to explain a bit about the poem’s influences and what thoughts went through my head that led me to write them.

So where can you get a copy of the book well follow this link to go to Lulu and snap up a copy. Currently the book is only available in print, I’m trying to figure out how to get a digital copy out there but bear with me while I work it all out. If you buy a copy and like the book please leave a review which will help me to promote it.

If you live in the West Midlands and would like to hear me read any of my work, or have poems of your own you’d like to share, why not consider joining the Walsall Poetry Society and participate in one of their open mic nights as I do. To find out more just click the link below.

If you enjoy this blog fear not I’m still going to put poems here every month.

Thanks for reading this


Praise for Beer Froth from the Walsall Poetry Society.

” This book made me laugh, it made me feel patriotic, it made me feel soppy…it has done the one thing it was supposed to do, it made me feel and therefore the book has done its job and done it well.”




50 Shades of Grey Peas

grey pays and bacon

50 shades of grey peas*

The only masochistic streak I have is following my local football team.
The only thing I bleed if you cut me is Highgate Bitter.**
The only contract I ever signed was for my mobile phone.
The only urge I submit too is to buy another pint at last orders.
The only thing I like whipped is the cream on my trifle.
The only grey I tolerate are the clouds over my home town.

* Grey peas or grey pays in my local Black Country dialect are delicious with bacon and are a well known local dish where I live.

** Highgate Bitter used to be brewed at the end of my road, but now with the brewery sadly closed is made under licence elsewhere in the UK. In spite of all this it’s still a local beer in my eyes wherever it’s made.

Like the poem ? Why not buy my book, just click here.

It’s great to share and if you have enjoyed this poem why not share it with your fellow poets or friends. I don’t mind in fact I encourage sharing on Facebook, Twittter or where ever you fancy – just use the buttons below – all I ask is you please credit this site when you do so. Thank you.

Adopt a Poet


Are you are allergic to cats?
Not allowed pets in your flat.
Or don’t want to stroke a goat,
Then why not instead adopt a poet?
They’re nearly all house trained,
And always willing to entertain.
Often full of deep, deep thoughts,
With a heavy brow and posh talk.
They never leave the loo seat up,
Never slurp tea from their cup.
They’ll eat whatever you give them,
Behave like ladies or gentlemen.
Of course they steal all your pens,
But it’s too late to complain by then.
As they’ve also pinched your paper,
For a poem they’re going to write later.
If they run out of writing material,
They’ll write anywhere it’s immaterial.
To them that they scrawl on the floor,
On your windows or on the door.
Don’t try to take their pens away,
Else they will get angry and say.
You’re a liar and a cheater,
All in perfect iambic pentameter.
What’s that you’re allergic to poets,
Well wouldn’t you know it.
How sad you can’t give one a home,
I hope they don’t have to be put down.

Like the poem ? Why not buy my book, just click here.

It’s great to share and if you have enjoyed this poem why not share it with your fellow poets or friends. I don’t mind in fact I encourage sharing on Facebook, Twittter or where ever you fancy – just use the buttons below – all I ask is you please credit this site when you do so. Thank you.