by Kevin Collier (1999 ) We all lived wi' me Granma dahn in Filth Street, twenty-nine, A scruffy little back-to-back, at t'side o' t' railway line. T'canal were at one end o' t' street, at t'other, fact'ry wall In fact it's t'biggest wonder we gor aht o' theer at all. Me Granma were a character, y'nivver see 'em now; All t'fam'ly used to worship her, a proper sacred cow; She were full of old-world values, she were full o' Yorkshire grit, She were allus full o' love, an' she were allus full, o' wit. She brought up fot'teen kids, an' seven grandkids, ah recall; An' once she supped a case o' stahtt, and brought that up an'all. Me Grandad nivver went wi'aht, through all t'domestic dramas, Till she fahnd aht what were causin t'kids, an' sewed up 'is pyjamas. Wi'd seven 'ad ter share a bed, an' wi wuz lucky then, 'Cos when our Eileen started courtin', it were sometimes up ter ten. Ah nivver 'ad a dummy, ah'd ter suck our Arthur's feet An' if we'd mushy peas fer supper, then wi'd wek up in t'next street. I still recall all t'fun we'd 'ave, at 'ome on Christmas Day, Sittin' rahnd us old pianner, wishin' one of us could play; Our George played tunes on knocked-off spoons, and sang wi' our Veronica; An' our Eileen played on t'mouth organ, or it might a' bin our Monica. Me Granma used to send us iv'ry Sat'der wi'aht fail To t'boozer dahn on Wo'khouse Street, to fetch 'er back some ale. We'd carry aht some 'emingways, or Dutton's in a can, An' sometimes, after Christenin's, we'd carry aht me Gran Yer car't tell t'young uns nowadays of t'hardships that wi've known; We dint 'ave passive smokin' then, we 'ad to buy us own. Our Jack smoked sixty iv'ry day, wi' twenty pints between An' despite what t'Doctor said to 'im, he lived ter be eighteen. Me Grandad 'ad 'is little ways, 'e weren't at t'back o' t' do-or; He'd tek all t'string off parcels and collect it in a drawer. It meant we never 'ad to pay fer t'stuff we 'ad to send, But t'GPO got nasty and they finished 'im in t'end. Us do-ors wor allus oppen, 'cos us neighbours wuz us friends; A shillin' or a cup o' sugar, allus theer ter lend; And if th'y wuz as poo-or as us, wi'naht, as we could borrer, We'd all gerrahnd an'd wreck their 'ouse, an' try agen tomorrer. If we gev me Grandad any cheek, e'd tan us bloody hide; And it nivver did us kids no 'arm (apart from t'two as died). In them days, y'could walk the streets, and needn't feel afraid; Our Eileen did it reg'lar, that's how us rent got paid. We used to foller t'milkman's 'orse, wheerever t'milkman took it And when it did its doin's we'd collect 'em in a bucket. Me Grandad used to put 'em on 'is rhubarb fer to force it But we all stuck to custard - who wants pie as tastes of horse shit? Aye, Frider neet wor bath neet, when me Grandad sat in t'tub While me Granma knelt in front o't range and gev 'is back a scrub; 'Cos bathin' were a luxury, each penny 'ad ter matter, An' sometimes, as a special treat, she'd fill it up wi' watter. We well knew t'taste o' poverty, each year we gorrin deeper; And t'dog we 'ad were black 'n' white 'cos t'licence wo'ked aht cheaper. We'd nuthin' left ter pay fer food (norafter t'booze 'n' t'fags) An' when us refuse waggon called, we ordered seven bags. Well, me Grandad isn't wi' us nah, he's left this life o'pain; (He got eight draws on t'treble chance and buggered off to Spain.) But me Granma's lookin' dahn on us, of that ah' can be certain; She lives in t'igh-rise ovver t'road and watches us through t'curtain. Well, they pulled down all us houses, and they pulled down twenty-nine; They pulled down our Eileen's knickers (they were hanging out on t'line); Our home is on'y rubble now, no plaque to mark the spot, But if they'd left it up to me - I'D BOMB THE CHUFFIN LOT.
The end