July 18, 2015

Northumbrian poetry - Meeting at the Mart

By Donald Clegg and Clive Dalton
Where livestock are sold at a market or 'mart' anywhere in the world, it's not just a venue for the trading of livestock.  A major function of the mart is for farmers to meet and discuss the problems of the day - even if they are not buying or selling stock themselves. 

Their reason (or excuse) for going to the mart is to 'check on the trade' - and to complain if prices are low, but make sure they are not heard to be too positive if they are high in case some great natural disaster is waiting to fall upon them! 

The mart is a legitimate opportunity to get off the farm, and is regularly viewed by farmers' wives and partners as a  'male creche', to leave the men folk while the ladies go shopping. The women know that the males will not have strayed far from the mart on their return.  If they are not at the mart, they are guaranteed to be in one of the local pubs!
 Lawrence Dagg (Hott farm, left) and Brian Anderson (Brieredge)
Photo by Helen Brown 2004
The above photo was snapped at the last sheep sales at Bellingham mart on 10th October 2004 and it stimulated the authors into a bit of Northumbrian dialect verse from memories of their past days working on North Tyne and Rede farms.

Noo Wattie, what’s yor fettle, Aa’m keepin’ weel mesell
Apart from pains an’ belly wark Aa’m sorvivin’, truth to tell.
What think ye of the stock in heor, thor’s sum Aa wadn’t touch,
Wi’ shot mooth an’ wi brocky fyace, five pund is ower much.

Aye Jock thor bad, there is nee doot,  Aa’ve nivvor seen yowes warse.
Lean as craas wi’ pooky jaas an’ aal wi’ daggy arse.
In this pen heor, just tek a keek, thor’s not yen meks the grade.
Aa’m sorry if Aa upset folk, but Aa'll caal a spade a spade.

Whey nivvor heed man Wattie, yor entitled to yor say,
But howld a bit and think on, afore we gan away.
Hev a look and just stand back, an’ give yorsell a minute
Afore ye oppen up yor gob an’ plant yor big foot in it.
Te find fault and te criticise is often varry fine
But check thor lug marks an’ thor bust
An ye’ll see them yowes is mine!

The lambin'

Clive Dalton

Huw’s the lambin ganin Jack
Mine’s nowt grate see far,
Deed lambs, kebbed yowes and gay few twins
An the inbye’s a foot deep in glaur.

And that tup Aa got frae Lanark
Was just a gud lookin nowt,
His lambs gye-necked and undershot
An Aa paid enuff for him Aa thowt.

Thor’s nee decent growth on the in-bye haughs
And the Northern’s bagged feed’s ower deor,
Aa’m feared that the milk’ll gan off the yowes
We snaa forecast Aa heaor.

An the best o’ the hoggs are gay middlin te poor
Aa’ll flookeed with big pokey jaas,
Sair skittad an’all with dags right ower thor backs
An te the feel thor aall lean as craas.

An the lambin man’s dun a quick flit by the moon
Taen off wi the byre-man’s dowta,
She’s a canny lass an’all and just left the school
Wi  some brains in hor heed ye’d of thowta.

Me owld collie bitch just laid doon an’ deid
So am hevin te work the young pup,
Mind Aa keep him at hand on a gay short hemp rope
Till Norman’s bus has gone up.

Nuw Av ruined the nebs on me Simonside beuts
Burying yowes in holes of hard clay,
So Aa’ll need te catch Norman’s bus the morn’s morn
And a new pair‘ll tek a month’s pay.

But Aa knaa that Am gitten ower owld te farm
And Aa need te spend mare time in the hoose,
But te leave the farm to the eldest son
Am teld is the warst kind of child abuse!


No comments:

Post a Comment