A Strange Stooary.

A poem by John Hartley

Aw know some fowk will call it crime,
To put sich stooaries into ryhme,
But yet, contentedly aw chime
Mi simple ditty:
An if it's all a waste o' time,
The moor's the pity.

- - - -

O'er Wibsey Slack aw coom last neet,
Wi' reekin heead and weary feet,
A strange, strange chap, aw chonced to meet;
He made mi start;
But pluckin up, aw did him greet
Wi' beatin heart.

His dress wor black as black could be,
An th' latest fashion aw could see,
But yet they hung soa dawderly,
Like suits i' shops;
Bi'th' heart! yo mud ha putten three
Sich legs i'th' slops.

Says aw, "Owd trump, it's rayther late
For one 'at's dress'd i' sich a state,
Across this Slack to mak ther gate:
Is ther some pairty?
Or does ta allus dress that rate -
Black duds o'th' wairty?"

He twisted raand as if to see
What sooart o' covy aw could be,
An grinned wi' sich a maath at me,
It threw me sick!
"Lor saves!" aw cried, "an is it thee
'At's call'd owd Nick?"

But when aw luk'd up into th' place,
Whear yo'd expect to find a face;
A awful craytur met mi gaze,
It took mi puff:
"Gooid chap," aw sed, "please let me pass,
Aw've seen enuff!"

Then bendin cloise daan to mi ear,
He tell'd me 'at aw'd nowt to fear,
An soa aw stop't a bit to hear
What things he'd ax;
But as he spake his teeth rang clear,
Like knick-a-nacks.

"A'a, Jack," he sed, "aw'm cap't wi' thee
Net knowin sich a chap as me;
For oft when tha's been on a spree,
Aw've been thear too;
But tho' aw've reckon'd safe o' thee,
Tha's just edged throo.

Mi name is Deeath - tha needn't start,
An put thi hand upon thi heart,
For tha may see 'at aw've noa dart
Wi' which to strike;
Let's sit an tawk afoor we part,
O'th edge o'th dyke."

"Nay, nay, that tale wea'nt do, owd lad,
For Bobby Burns tells me tha had
A scythe hung o'er thi shoulder, Gad!
Tha worn't dress'd
I' fine black clooath; tha wore a plad
Across thi breast!"

"Well, Jack," he said, "thar't capt no daat
To find me wanderin abaght;
But th' fact is, lad, 'at aw'm withaat
A job to do;
Mi scythe aw've had to put up th' spaat,
Mi arrows too."

"Yo dunnot mean to tell to me,
'At fowk noa moor will ha to dee?"
"Noa, hark a minnit an tha'll see
When th' truth aw tell!
Fowk do withaat mi darts an me,
Thev kill thersel.

They do it too at sich a rate
Wol mi owd system's aght o' date;
What we call folly, they call fate;
An all ther pleasur
Is ha to bring ther life's estate
To th' shortest measur.

They waste ther time, an waste ther gains,
O' stuff 'at's brew'd throo poisoned grains,
Throo morn to neet they keep ther brains,
For ivver swimmin,
An if a bit o' sense remains,
It's fun i'th wimmen.

Tha'll find noa doctors wi ther craft,
Nor yet misen wi' scythe or shaft,
E'er made as monny deead or daft,
As Gin an Rum,
An if aw've warn'd fowk, then they've lafft
At me, bi gum!

But if they thus goa on to swill,
They'll not want Wilfrid Lawson's bill,
For give a druffen chap his fill,
An sooin off pops he;
An teetotal fowk moor surely still,
Will dee wi' th' dropsy.

It's a queer thing 'at sich a nation
Can't use a bit o' moderation;
But one lot rush to ther damnation
Throo love o'th' bottle:
Wol others think to win salvation
Wi' bein teetotal."

Wi' booany neive he stroked mi heead,
"Tak my advice, young chap," he sed,
"Let liquors be, sup ale asteead,
An tha'll be better,
An dunnot treat th' advice tha's heard
Like a deead letter."

"Why Deeath," aw sed, "fowk allus say,
Yo come to fotch us chaps away!
But this seems strange, soa tell me pray,
Ha wor't yo coom?
Wor it to tell us keep away,
Yo hav'nt room?"

"Stop whear tha art, Jack, if tha dar
But tha'll find spirits worse bi far
Sarved aght i' monny a public bar,
'At's thowt quite lawful;
Nor what tha'll find i'th' places parsons call soa awful."

"Gooid bye!" he sed, an off he shot,
Leavin behind him sich a lot
O' smook, as blue as it wor hot!
It set me stewin!
Soa hooam aw cut, an' gate a pot
Ov us own brewin.

- - - - -

If when yo've read this stooary throo,
Yo daat if it's exactly true,
Yo'll nobbut do as others do,
Yo may depend on't.
Blow me! aw ommost daat it too,
So thear's an end on't.

Reader Comments

Tell us what you think of 'A Strange Stooary.' by John Hartley

comments powered by Disqus

Home | Search | About this website | Contact | Privacy Policy