December 19, 2008

Robert Allen: End O’ Lambin Day

View of upper North Tyne valley (Don Clegg)

The leet is fadin’ ‘cross the fell as Ah torn hame for lowse,-
Anithor lambin’ day is ower, an’ just a score o’ yowes
Hes yit ti lamb – an’, man, Ah’m croose we’ve gitten this far thro;
Without the troubles that we’ve hed the past springtime or two.

Ah’m glad we gat the yowes erl dipp’d that day the tuthor week,
For nowt Ah’ve handled see far’s shawn the least bit sign o’ teek:
Thore wes some kebbin’ eorly on an’ a billy lamb wes hang’d,
Yin yowe gat roppled i’ some wiore, an’ var’ nigh chowk’d amang’t.

Twa gimmors waddent tak thor lambs, - they hed a mind ti shun them, -
They’d little milk theor at the start, but noo it’s comin’ on them.
Some lossies ‘mang baith yowes an’ lambs ye’ll aye git ivv’ry yeor,
An’awkword bits o’ moth’rin’ tee, but nowt we cudden steor.

Owld Moss is clivvor at yon lark, an’ works away amain,
Just showin’ eye she’ll sharp fetch yowes back ti thor lambs again.
Whey,- just the day we fund a yowe, - an awkward lookin’ bitch,-
He’d wandor’d off an’ left hor lambs cowpt in a muckle ditch.

So while Moss gat hor roonded up, Ah lifted oot the paor,
But she wessent just like takin’ them, an’ didn’t seem ti caor:
We set away ti drive hor then the half mile ower the fell,
An’ for the neet Ah hev the three noo barr’d up I’ the stell.

Ah cowpt the yowe an’ gi’e the lambs some sook, ti keep them ganin’,-
The morra’s morn Ah reckon we can hope ti find hor stannin’.

Noo leanin’ ower the inbye gate Ah gits me pipe aleet,
An, wetch the sweet blue smoke corl up the soft an’ windless neet:
A curloo glides doon ower the slack, - he’s weord bubblin sang
Is like a closin’ ev’nin hymn the quiet hills amang.

A paor o’ yowes hes bedded doon ahint the Rowan Wood,
Ah heor thor anxious bleatin comin’ slavv’rin thro’ thor cud:
Ah see thor lambies playin’ dunch, an’ buttin’ wi’ thor heid,-
It’s aye the same when folk’s bairns’ll no tak onny heed.

Owld Moss’s muzzle at me knee is nudgin’ us the hint
That hungor grips the sharpor when yor bell’s gat nowt in’t.
Me hands gans doon it stroke hor heid, - “Ay, lass, it’s time w’ore hame,-
We’ve baith put in a canny day, - me belly feels the same:
Ah musta trudg’d a score o’ miles, but ye’ve rin ten times mair,-
It’s supper noo for us, then bed, - w’ore achin weory sair!

We cross the pastore ont’ the road, it’s easier gannin’ theor,
An’ me stride gits that bit langor when Ah see the farmstead neor.
The swallie’s back Ah’m glad ti note, he’s swoopin roond the shed
An’ catchin’ suppor on the wing afore he gans ti bed.

Ah wonder what she hes for us,- Ah divvent fancy flees!
It’s mebbies stew an’ tetties, then a muckle hunk of cheese”
Ah waddent mind some hame-fed ham, and steamin’ mug o’ tea,
‘Fact owt ti eat’ll dee for us, the hungor that’s on me.

An’ then it’s int’ the easy cheor, me hands across me belly,
Ti find oot what the world’s bin deein’ accordin’ ti the telly.
But Ah’ll no be spendin’ much time theor, it’s sharp ti bed the neet,
For soon the pilla hads me heid. Ah’ll gan oot like a leet.

Ah find these fancy comfort thowts just rinnin thro’ me heid
As Ah’m standin’ bi the byre door, an’ givin’ Moss hor feed:
Mind, dreams an’ hopes is canny things, but’s ownly facts is real,
So Ah’m for gittin’ int’ the hoose an’ sat doon ti me meal.

Ah lifts the sneck o’ wor back door, an’ then Ah heors hor shoots,-
“Ye needn’t think y’ore comin in heor in them greet clarty boots!”
Man, - when it comes ti females thore’s a lesson ti be leornt, -
Tho’ ye treat them nice an’ canny, divvent look for praise ye’ve eornt;

Ye spend erl day oot on the fell with ten score lambin’ yowes
An’ ye nivvor hit nee trouble ‘til ye git back hame for lowse!
The keb hoose to protect sick sheep - and the shepherd!

From “Canny Bit of Verse”, 1994. ISBN 0-9524649-0-X Published by the author.
Robert Allen's farming and historical poems have been sourced from the Northumberland Language Society. Please contact the NLS as a source ( of more of these brilliant works, and for recordings. The copyright is held by Nigel and Georgina Hall - for enquiries email them on

No comments:

Post a Comment