Ammon Wrigley - "Mat o' Jamie's"

The following is a transcription of a work by Saddleworth poet Ammon Wrigley (1861-1946).

Mat o’ Jamie’s

Mi fayther’s gone to bunt his piece,
He’s bin a week to-day,
“Owd Threddle” ses he’s op o’ th’ drink
Un throwin’ th’ brass away;
He’s wi’ “Joe o’ Brawsen Hannah’s”
Un o sich scum as that,
Thi’re fratchin’ un thi’re feightin’
Wur nur ony dog un cat.
Ther’s a wrastle on ut “Baggin’s,”
A cock-feight un sich wark,
Un mi fayther tarries drinkin’ theer
Fro’ mornin’ op toh dark;
When th’ brass is done he’ll come, Aw know,
Un if ther’s nowt i’ th’ oon—
He'll mack a gradely row i’ th’ heause
Un let mi feel his shoon.
Fur he awlus wants a savver
When he gets off a spree,
Un if Aw connot find him one—
Ther’s a hidin’ in fur me;
Un mi mother’s nobbut poorly,
Hoo connot weighve nur spin,
Un Aw’m th’owdest chilt o’ five,
Un win nowt comin’ in.
Eaur Mary’s gan o’er crying neaw,
Eaur Jack's asleep o’th’ floor,
Yond childer winnot play wi’ um
Becose wi’ are soh poor;
Eaur Sally’s bin o’th’ midden—
Hoo’s fund sum apple skin,
Hoo’s gan eaur little Joe a bit
He is soh white un thin.
Aw bin throo th’ fowd agen fur meyl
Un other bits o’ stuff,
But Aw shivered like a leaf,
Aw knew wid had enuff;
“Yoh’r strap’s run eaut,” owd Benny sed,
“Yoh’ll never pay, Aw know,”
Un mi heart coom i’ mi meauth,
Aw could’nt speyk ut o.
Un as Aw crope back whom agen
Aw wished ut it wur neet,
Fur mi face, it brunt like fire,
Aw thowt Aw’d noan dun reet!
But wi’ had’nt a bite i’ th’ heause,
Nur nowt toh buy noan wi’,
Un Aw would’nt goh to th’ naybors—
Fur Aw want nowt thi’ll gi’e.
The summer lies o’ th’ hills agen,
Un foak ur?’ ther hay,
The naybor lads amung the coils
Ur whistlin’ o’ the day;
Un mi playmates o ur singin’
Throo yond green hollows deep,
Wol mi mother lies a-moanin’
O’er her childer in her sleep.
“When Aw’m noan here,” hoo frettin’ ses,
Wot win yond childer do?
Whoa’ll wesh um o i’ th’ mornin’ then,
Un send um off to th’ schoo’?—
Eaur Sally wi’ it red toppin’,
Eaur Mary un eaur Joe!
Eaur Jack, he’ll oppen yond blue een
Un ax fur me, Aw know.”
Un lyin’ here, hoo ses, “Aw look
Across yond bonny glen
Un see th’ owd naybor heauses,—
Awst ne’er goh past agen!
Un eaut across yond hill above
Aw con see a spire peep,
Un afore they’n finished haytime
Aw’st bi lyin’ theer asleep.
Theau’ll noan forget me then, Mat,
Theau’ll come to th’ end o’th’ lone,
Un bring a twothri fleawers, too,
Un lay um op o’ th’ stone;
Aw could leave this owd brooside, Mat,
Aw could leave it happy neaw,
But it’s leavin’ o yoh childer
Ut poos mi heart i’ teaw.
Thi’ life’s bin groon i’ sorrow, Mat,
Thir’s bin rough days fur thee,
But Aw hope theau’ll ha’ some sunshine
When Aw’m noan here toh see!
Aw’ve looked ut that white face o’ thine
Un ceawnted every bone,
Un prayed theau’d ha’ a better lot
Nur thi’ mother’s ever known.
Just poo that curtain on a bit,
Yond meadows look soh sweet,
Aw want toh smell o’ th’ hay agen,
For Aw met bi gone ut neet;
Ther’s mi Sunday geawn un bonnet.
Mi weddin’ shawl un bow,
Thiy’ll come in fur thee sum day,
Theau’ll care um weel, Aw know.
Ther’s thi’ greyt gronfayther’s Bible
Ut alarnt thi’ heaw toh read,
Wi’ its worn owd leather back
Petched op wi’ bits o’ threed;
Theau’ll gi’e it toh eaur Joe—
He’ll mack o daycent lad,
Tell him his mother left it soh,
Un it wur o hoo had.”
Thi’ sen wi’re o God’s childer,
It met bi soh, Aw know,
But Aw wunder heaw it is
Ut He doesn’t like us o!
Ther’s sum He dons i’ bonny cloas,
Wi’ howt thi’ want toh heyt,
Un sum He hardly thoils um rags—
Un hardly a bite o’ meyt.