by Nick Degg

Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out
Breathe in that magnificent dirty air,
You can read about this place in books
You can see photographs of its past,
But this place is unique

This place is Heaven, disguised at the doldrums,
It needs to be that way, to stop us floating off,
It keeps us here, grounded
Grounded but fighting,
Coz we love a fight round ere,
We fight to keep the last kiln firing
We fight to keep the Spongers sponging
The Fettlers fettling
The Dippers dipping
And the Throwers throwing

We fight to keep our language languid
Why rush a word, when you can enjoy the texture of it
Before letting it leave the lips,
“We spake the Kwanes Ingleesh Duck
An yer conner tak eat offuz”

Breathe in that magnificent dirty air oh visitor
Because that’s all you’re going to get
Cuz you wunner gerruz
Because we are unique too
We are Potters
Every man Jack


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Nick DeggThis Poem was written following a meeting I attended where people from outside the area were discussing the Potteries. Mostly they were being positive and complimentary, but it was clear that they had just scratched the surface, and didn’t really understand what makes this City, and us inhabitants so special.

The title takes its name from the derogatory nickname my Cheshire workmates had for me, but it had the opposite effect on me, as I am proud to be a Clayhead, spending two years on the Pots after leaving school.

It is a great honour to have my work included in the collection, having only recently taken up writing and performing Poetry.