A Bilston Mon by Robert Hale


Every morning he’d check, before going to work,
That nothing had been left behind,
And with sandwiches wrapped and a bottle of tea
Say, “Ah berra gerroff a’fower ah change me mind.”

He worked in a foundry, a roll-moulder by trade
And came home at the end of the day,
And looked at my mother and asked with a small laugh
“So tell mi, what cagmag have yo cooked fo’ me tay?”

Once, when an uncooked crumb of a carrot had lodged
In my throat, causing my breath to catch,
He was chuckling as I tried to spit the thing out
And told me, “Cuff it up it might be a gold wahch.”

I was fourteen, and swore as it finally cleared.
With a wave of his finger to chide,
He said, “Yo wahnt to wahsh aht yower mahth wi’ soap,”
And then added, “There’s a woman’s bike parked ahtside.”

Then he rose and he moved to his favourite chair
“Two pence uv ease is wuth tuppence.”
And he started to talk about someone at work
Said “That ticket-o-leave mon’ll gerris comeuppance.”

When it came time for bed, and he saw I was reading,
Said, “That was the book yower granny had,
Purrit dahn, get yowerself up the ode wooden ‘ill.”
So I sighed, put it down, and then obeyed my Dad.

He is gone now, he didn’t say much at the end.
To us he was one of a kind.
But I’d like to believe at the last he was thinking
“Well. ah berra gerroff a’fower ah change me mind.”


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