I was recently asked to write a piece responding to a derogatory article written about Wrexham in the Spectator back in the 1800s. This poem is called We Are Wrexham and seeks to embrace all the elements and people that make up this crazy old town. On Sunday I filmed it with the wonderful crew at Dydd Llun Pawb – an event happening next year to celebrate the opening of the new Oriel Wrecsam creative centre which will hopefully really put Wrexham on the map for all the right reasons.
We Are Wrexham
By Sophie McKeand
We are Wrexham: creators, curators, designers, shoppers, teachers, workers, dealers and makers.
We are architects of the future.
We are Friday-night-street-brawls and Saturday sprawling market-stalls trading happiness and gossip like cakes.
We are Wrexham: we’ve weathered centuries of oppression.
We’re tenacious and rude; our drug addicts sprawled across the national news – or slumped in bus stations.
We are the awkward, the intrusive, the blunt and the crude; working-class entrepreneurs born of slate roofs and blanket rain; of coal mines and Ruabon-red-brick fame.
We are Wrexham: innovators scheming between top-Spoons pre-match pints and working five twelve-hour factory shifts before going home to the wife.
We are heartbeats and minds dreaming Cymraeg, or English, or Latvian, or Polish or Portuguese, or Punjabi. Our gift is conceiving artistry from nothing.
We devour the critic’s opinion – shit it out and grow flowers with it.
We’ll fight about it.
We’ll write songs about it:
‘Yeah, this place is such a shipwreck
But this shipwreck, it is mine’ *
We are Wrexham: our multiple personalities embrace you like family then command
‘get from ‘ere’ when you outstay your welcome.
Our grandmothers stitch, bake, nurture, paint and weave this community together.
Our children are bright daffodils thriving in spite of torrential spring weather.
We are Wrexham: the unbeautifully beautiful, born of arrogance and resilience.
We are more than a border-town the Welsh nation forgot.
We are independent with no repentance;
sometimes intolerant – always exuberant.
We are Wrexham.