Flaar Shows (Prose)

A poem by John Hartley

When ther's a flaar show, clooas show at th' same time. Aw hear fowk tawk abaat "floral gems," and sich like stuff, but aw understand varry little abaat it. But aw've a few gems ov another sooart at sich times - aw call 'em gems o' thowt. Aw'm allus wonderin. Aw wonder a deal aw've noa business to wonder. When aw see a lot o' nice young lasses i' muslin dresses, all spankin clean, an ommost makkin a chap wish he worn't wed - aw wonder if ther petticoits an' stockins is as cleean. An when aw see a lot o' white faced lads, 'a'ts hardly getten ther hippins off, smokin cigars, an' spittin o'th' floor ivery two or three yards, - aw wonder if they dooant wish they wor finished, an' aw wonder what ther mothers is dooin to let 'em aat by thersen. An' when aw hear tell ha mich brass they get at th' doors, aw wonder ha mich on it wor borrow'd to goa wi' - an' sometimes aw wonder what they do wi' it after they've getten it - but that's noa business o' mine; - its a hungary job, aw know. Aw mony a time wonder, when aw hear th' bands o' music strike up, what Lord Byron ment when he said, "When music arose with its voluptuous swell;" for aw've booath seen an' heeard monny a voluptuous swell at a flaar show. An' aw wonder sometimes ha it is 'at fowk 'at goa wi a shawl o' ther heead to pick aat a sheep heead i'th' market, can't be content unless they're donned i' silks an' satins to goa see a twoathree marrygolds an' fushias. An' sometimes aw wonder 'what i'th' name o' fortun aw'm dooin thear mysen, an' if anybody axes me, aw wonder what business it is o' their's; - an' its just a case o' wonderin throo beginnin to th' endin', an' aw wonder when fowk 'll leearn a bit o' wit. Aw wonder if fowk think th' same abaat me. Aw wonder if they do. Aw shouldn't wonder if they did.

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