December 19, 2008

Robert Allen: The Owld Farmor’s Advice

Just two things kills a yowe, Ah’m towld,
An’t’s no see vary wrang,-
She’s eethor gittin some bit cowld,
Or else she’s lain ower lang.

For if she’s ta’en in’ int’ hor heid,
(An’ whee’s ti stand an’ blame hor?)
That’s time she laid hor doon an’ deid
Thor’s nowt’ll stop the flamor!

Thore’s sic a yin ahint yon tree,
What’s gittenn a touch o’ fluke
Just wetch hor theor, she’s gannn dee.
She hes that middlin’ look.

Away inti the keb hoose, man,
An’ git yor spaud an’ sho’el,
Afore the morra’s morn y’ore gan
Ti hev ti howk a hoel.

A canny howk’s no hard te find
Keep cleor o’ muckle stauns,
But divvn’t mak your diggin’, mind,
On toppy onny drauns.

Noo handy ti yin side ye lay
The sods ye’ve cutten oot
An’ keep the tap-soil fra’ the clay,-
Put bac, they’ll bettor root.

An’ when ye’ve howd’d a good shank deep,
The sides git kinda streight;
Then fetch an’ drag yor stinkin’ sheep,
The hintlegs ta’in the weight.

Pull aff the woo’ reet tiv hor neck,-
Comes bettor when she’s green,-
When ye git hame wi’t you seck,
They’ll erl ken wheor ye’ve been.

Noo int’ the hoel heave-ho the lass,
The borst hor wi yor gully!
Nee sense ti burry erl that gas
What’s blaan oot hor belly!

As ye fill in keep possin’ hor doon
Wi baith your hobnail feet
An’ what sticks up git kinda roon’
An mak the job look neat.

Clag on the sods as they come oot,
An’ lay them green side up!
An’ no like yon greet paddy cloot
Was sent ti burry the tup!

But divvn’t bray them doon ower hard,
Ye’ll brek the aad spaud shank!
Them cost a fortune bi the yard,
Nee money at the bank!

A canny job weel done, Ah’ll doot
The foxies winnit find hor:
Deep howk’d, poss’d doon, nee stick gets oot,
An’ so they’ll nivvor wind hor.

Ah mind the worst yowe’s grave Ah seen
Wes shalla, ower a draun:
Next morn we fund the fox hed been,
An’ howk’d hor up agaun.

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

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