Winter. (Prose)

A poem by John Hartley

Winter's comin'! Top coits an' nickerbockers begin to be sowt up. A chap enjoys his bed a bit better, an' doesn't like gettin' up in a mornin' quite as weel. Tawkin' abaat enjoyin' bed makes me think ova young chap aat o' Midgley at' gate wed an' browt his wife to Halifax to buy a bed, an' nowt wod suit her but a shut-up en, like her father an' mother had allus had: an' they wor't long befoor they fun a second-hand en, 'at they gate cheap, an' as they knew a chap 'at coam wi' a milk cart throo near whear they lived, they gate him to tak it hooam for 'em, an' it worn't long befoor th' beddin' an' all wor nicely arranged, an' they war snoozelin' under th' blankets. They hadn't been asleep long befoor he wakken'd wi a varry uncomfortabie feelin', but as his wife wor hard asleep he didn't like to disturb her. He roll'd o' one side an' then o'th' tother, an' rub'd his legs an' scratched his back, but he couldn't settle do what he wod. In a bit summat made him jump straight up ov an end, an' if he hadn't been dacently browt up, it's very likely he mud ha' sed some faal words, Wi' him jumpin' up soa sudden, th' wife wakken'd, an' jumpt up as weel, but as th' bed heead war abaat six inch lower nor that shoo'd bin used to, shoo hit her neet cap agean th' top an' fell back wi a reglar sass. "Whativer is ther to do, Sammy," shoo sed, as sooin as shoo could spaik, "strike a leet' wi ta!" Sammy gate a leet, an' blushed an ovver his face, for it wor th' fust time onybody had seen him dressed that way sin he wor a little lad. "Aw dooant know what ther is to do," he sed, "but aw cannot bide i' that bed, an' that's a fact." "What!" shoo says, "are ta ruein' o' thi bargain bi nah? but tha's no need to freat, for aw con spare thee at ony time." "Nay, Jenny," he sed, it's nooan thee 'at maks me uneasy, but aw fancy ther's summat wick i' that bed besides thee an' me.' "Is ther," shoo said, an' shoo flew off one side; "why whativer is it, thinks ta?" Sammy turned daan th' clooas, an' it just luk'd as if sombdy had been aitin' spice cake an' letten all th' currans drop aat. Tawk abaat fleas! They worn't fleas! they wor twice as big, an' they wor marchin' away like a rigiment o' sodgers. He stared wi' all th' een in his heead, an' shoo started a cryin'. "A'a, to think 'at aw should iver come to this, to be walked over wi' a lot o' pouse like that! What mun we do?" "Do! we mun catch 'em, aw expect," he sed, an' he began wi pickin' 'em off one bi one, an' droppin' 'em into some water 'at wor cloise by. "Well, mi mother tell'd me," he sed, "'at when fowk gate wed they began o' ther troubles; an' it's true an' all, but aw didn't expect owt like this, for if aw'd known, aw'd ha' seen th' weddin' far enough; aw did think 'at a chap wad be able to get a neet's rest anyway." "Tha can goa back to thi mother," shoo sed, "an' stop wi' her for owt aw care, an' aw wish tha'd niver left her, for aw'st get mi deeath o' cold wi' paddlin' abaat wi' nowt on; but does ta think tha's catched 'em all?" "Aw think soa, an' if tha's a mind we'll get to bed agean." "Nay, tha can goa to thi mother as tha freats soa," shoo sed. "Tak noa noatice o' what aw sed," sed Sammy, "tha knows aw wor put abaat a bit, an' it war all for th' sake o' thee." "Tha'll tell me owt," shoo sed, "put th' leet aat, an' let's see if we con get a bit o' gradely sleep." They gate into bed once more, an' shoo wor off to sleep in a minit, but Sammy wor rubbin' an' scrattin' hissen. "Wen, aw've heeard tell abaat things bein' ball proof and bomb proof, but aw niver knew 'at anybody wor bug proof befoor." Wi' him knockin' abaat soa mich shoo wakken'd agean. "Nay, Sammy," shoo sed, "aw'm reight fair stawld, it's all consait, aw'm sure it is." "Consait be hanged!" he bawled aat, "just feel at that blister an' then tell me if it's all consait." Nowt could keep awther on 'em 'i bed after that, an' they paraded abaat all th' neet like two gooasts, wait in' for th' cock crow. Mornin' did come at last, an' Sammy worn't long befoor' he had th' bed aatside. "What are ta baan to do wi' it nah?" ax'd his wife. "Aw'm baan to leave it wheal' it is wol neet," he sed, "an' if they havn't forgetten which road they coom, aw think ther's as monny as'll be able to tak it back to Halifax." Next neet they made a bed o'th' floor, an' slept like tops, an' next mornin' when they gate up, th' bed wor off. Whether th' cumpny 'at wor in it had taen it or net, Sammy couldn't tell, but he niver went to seek it. Fowk 'at buy second-hand beds, tak warnin."

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