Poems about West Barns
Of Cobs and Pugs
by Ruth Gilchrist
If I were a boy
Id ride up there on the foot plate
all day getting covered in soot.
I`d pester the driver
let us fill the fire box
shine the maker’s plate
keep an eye on the pressure guage
I`d don a cap , carry an oily rag in ma pocket,
stink o grease ,wrap black
hands round whitest of sandwiches
ma mam would moan at state of ma nails
girls ud giggle at ma blacked up face
an I`d wink at jelous school boys
dream of letting that whistle holler.
An before the days over I`d go up by the shoulder
place ma hand on that great saddle
an feel the life of the Pug
regard the beast that keeps my world mooving.
I`m a girl
and I`ve to bide in school
learnin arithmetic until the harvest time.
Then I`m allowed to
neglect the school work
tek ma eye of the wee ones
to dig ma hands into the soil
Rub off the muddy plugs
chuk the tatties in ma basket
whipe ma eyes an blacken the apron
Ma mam ul moan for me castin off the uglie bonnet
an tut at the tan aroun ma neck
but weel have a laugh an follow the cart
pause while the horse has a snicker
An before the days over I`ll go up by the shoulder
put ma ear to that great barrelled chest
feelin the life of the Cob
regard the beast that keeps me dreaming.
by LesleyMay Miller
My mother, Sarah, never forgot that day;
when she was nineteen years old;
the squealing of rats escaping the fire,
the choking smoke and the men shouting,
the Paper Mill burned down.
Black snow of ashes blew as far as Dunbar
and over the fields, the bulb fields where I work now.
In spring and summer tulips, daffodils, crocus, lilies
and dahlias colour the land.
She told me about my grandpa,
he was groom up at the House.
She showed me old photos;
school girls in their plain dresses
the boys with stiff white collars.
She felt sorry for her pal, Sandy,
wondered why they dressed him up so fancy,
sat him on Grandpa’s knee on a flowery chair
outside the house in the sun.
Why did he wear a feather in his bonnet,
have buttoned leggings, fur trim
on his coat, well polished shoes?
She was allowed to play
with Sandy from the Big House
He had a racquet for games.
Sometimes they took his sister’s dolls
for a ride in his toy barrow.
They even played dominoes
in the nursery, watched over by his Nanny.
Later they could go out by themselves
away from the clatter and roar
of the mills and brickworks.
They would run over the fields to the estuary,
the beach and hear lark-song.
My Grandma wanted her to pick samphire
but they ran into the woods to climb trees
and make up stories.
Sandy took over the Mills and needed servants
for the House. So until she married my Dad,
Mum was Sandy’s housemaid.