The Wund an’ the Wetter (Excerpt)

Aah can mind the time when the men wad stand
On the top a the bank lookin’ oot for’ the land,
An’ the soond a theer crack was as good as a sang
As th’ reeled off the marks th’ had lorned for sae lang:
For’ Langoth an’ Collith t’ Comely Carr,
For’ the Bus a’ the Born t’ the Shad an’ the Bar,
Faggot, the Styenny Hyels, Fiddler’s Fyace,
The Cock Craa’ Stoene an’ thon hob-hard place
At Herrod’s Hoose Plantin on Aa’d Weir’s hut;
The Chorch on the Black Rock, wheer ye shoot
Sooth for’ the smooth at the Benty Gut:
T’ the Cundy Rock an’ the trink i’ the sand
Reight ablow Featherblaa’ – by, she was grand.
Ye could listen aa’ neet. Th’ wore spells, them words –
The map an’ the key tae the treasure hoard.
Noo gi’ us the marks for t’ find ’em ageyn;
Howway doon t’ the chorchyard an’ ask the aa’d men,
For it’s come wi’ the wund an’ gan wi’ the wetter –
We’ll noe be wantin’ ’em noo…
But t’ heor ’em gollerin’ ower a boat
Wi’ the soonds a the Norsemen still thick i’ theer throat –
For’ carlin t’ fishroom, inwaver t’ crook,
Ye’ll nivvor finnd these i’ the page on a beuk –
Ah, but they’re bonny, the pairts on a cowble –
Dip a’ the forefoot, lang i’ the scorbel,
For’ tack heuk an’ gripe t’ the horns a’ hor scut,
For hor thofts t’ hor thowelds – th’ had nyems for the lot
That unlocked a hyel world…
                                      – Which is no t’ forgit
The fagarrashin foond in a fisherman’s hut –
(Ye’d say it could dae wi’ a reight reed up!) –
Wi’ pellets an’ dookas an’ pickets an’ poys,
Swulls an’ sweels an’ bows for buoys,
Rowells an’ bowelts an’ barky sneyds,
The tyeble aa’ claed wi’ perrins a’ threed,
Wi’ hoppin’s an’ hingin’s tha’s toozled like tows,
An’ pokes for the whullicks, an’ bundles a skowbs,
An’ cloots for’ a dopper the caaldies ha’ chowed.
But hey – look oot! – divvin’t gan in theer:
Ye’ll nivvor git lowsed, ‘cos she’s wizenbank fair!
It aa’ tummels oot in a roosty shoower;
The nets unraffle wi’ cloods a stoor.
Ye’re varnigh scumfished afore ye can caal
For the becket, the brailor, the ripper an’ aa’
The whuppin’s an’ leashin’s aback a the waa’ –
By, lad, she’s a reight Taggarine-man’s haal!
An’ it’s nae bother – it’s naen
T’ shut the door on yon.
Put oot the light. Forgit the nyems,
We’ll nivvor be wantin’ them things ageyn –
It’s come wi’ the wund an’ gan wi’ the wetter –
We’ll no be needin’ ’em noo…

The Wund an’ the Wetter: A Northumbrian Poem (Iron Press 1999), © Katrina Porteous 1999, used by permission of the author.

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