Last month I dressed up prettily
While I was staying by the sea
A big blonde wig
Full o' curls
Was all I needed
To be one of the girls
We danced and sung
a song or two
I got a gift:
"Just for you!"
I unwrapped it very carefully
Saying, "Now, could this be just for me?"
And people wished me all the best
Because it was my birthday
And when the dancing night was done
My niece and I, we had some fun
We had a laugh
We had a joke
And with my fag
She took a smoke
Her boyfriend said
He loved me best
I think he's queer
I do not jest
I heard the clock chime twelve o'clock
"Oh, Chris!" I said, with her in shock
"Now it's time to wish you well!"
Because it was her birthday.
I'm no poet, and although I once had the accent, I cannot now master the Dorset dialect, but the above was a tribute to my favourite poet, William Barnes.
My sister's birthday is the day after mine, we always used to celebrate together or at least have a follow on celebration. It was always like a forty eight hour birthday. I wanted to express this, somehow, in a poem. I've been trying for years. Although I've not mastered it yet, I just wanted to share.
I'll know when I've done it, I'll know when it's right. And when I do, I'll tell you, dear reader.
When I was growing up, everyone I knew spoke like Worzel Gummidge. Everyone. But as I passed through senior school, I heard it ebbing away. It's very sad. When I go back to Darzet now, most people seem to speak with a very generic south-of-England accent, which is quite sad. It seemed to me that in the early to mid eighties, people became ashamed of their accent and/or dialect and seemed to drop it in favour of the bizarre mockney. I've never understood why one would choose to amend one's accent with something commonly perceived as working class or hard, when one could have chosen to speak with a more refined accent. It all boils down to shame, again, I should think, that having money or status is to be frowned upon, whereas having a criminal record or being poor is to be lauded.
A brief lesson in west-country:
Aright my bird? - How are you, madam?
Where be ye, little maid? - Where are you, young lady?
Izzu allus gunner av it bard, cock? - Will you always sport facial hair, Sir?
Git aff my traacter! - Kindly leave my farm machinery alone!
If you're interested in reading some of William Barnes' poetry, just google him. You're bound to find some, dear reader.