SEAWND O'T SEA -*Sound of the Sea

( Dave Dutton)

 A dialect poem about a man who served on the North Atlantic convoys in the Second World War and the memories brought back to him by his grandson's seaside shell.

Row on row they come in hard.

Angry waves tup promenade;

Snarlin’, smashin’, spittin’, strikin'-

O'erhead a seagull skrikin’.


Each wave dees upon the rocks,

Shattert in a million drops;

Diamonds of the sea so wild,

Each reflects a mon and childt.


'Uddledt gether, stayin' waarm

Grandad keeps the lad from harm;

Salty-soaked an' flecked wi' spray,

Each views t'sea a diff'rent way.


Little boy picks up a shell

Tossed on't promenade bi't swell.

"Sithee grandad war ah've fun!"

"Aye lad, come on-it's tahm't go wom".


Back awom an' far from't sea,

T' childt sits on his grandad's knee.

E taks ‘is little shell so dear

An' presses it ter't th'owd mon's ear.


"Neaw then grandad-what con't hear?"

Th'owd mon's eyes grow wide wi' fear-

An empty shell's awakkent dreams,

Fillt wi' feigher an' dead men's screams.


North Atlantic- Forty Three,

Torpedo makes its way through't sea.

White faced sailors 'owd their breath-

One heartbeat away from death.


A searin’' blast-then't sea's aflame

Fillt wi' men who skrike God's name,

Wi faces brunt, they choke an' gasp

Tossed lahk rag dolls in't th'ocean's grasp.


Desperate men claw one another

An' former comrades feight each other

Fer bits o' wood that float on't sea-

Fer who's fert live, an' who's fert dee.


Suddenly, a voice breyks through.

"Grandad! Grandad! What’s to do?!"

It shatters neetmares in his yed

As th’hungry sea reclaims its dead.


"Nuthin’s wrung lad - aw is well"

"But Grandad - what did’t hear in’t shell?"

"Nothin’ owd love fert bother thee.

It’s seawnd o’t sea. Just seawnd o’t sea..."

When the factory chimney belonging to Howe Bridge Mills at the corner of Mealhouse Lane and Bag Lane, was knocked down, I went to watch.

There were scores of people there including some, I imagine, who had worked at the mill and who came away more than a little heavy-hearted and sad that this familiar landmark had been taken away. It reminded us that the cotton industry which, along with the pits, had been the life-blood of the town was in decline and it was one less link with the past.

It reminded me of a public execution. So I attributed a personality to the old chimney and went home and wrote this poem in memory of it.



Creawds o' folk have come fert watch thi dee,

Owd familiar friend.

Th'art useless and unwanted dosta see.

Thi life mun end.

Preawd tha stonds like one o't th'upper crust.

Soon tha'll be gone.

And of thi memory, there'll be nowt but dust.

Like mortal mon.

For years tha played a leading part on't stage

And played it well.

And saw th'awf-timers through to ripe owd age

Just like thisel.

Whene'er tha breathed, tha breathed life into't place

But that's in't past.

When Progress says "I dunnot like thy face"

Tha's breathed thi last.

Here comes thi executioner deawnt street.

Thi life is dun wi.

I'm sure tha'd try't escape if tha'd but geet

Some legs fert run wi.

Creawds hushed and silent neaw and then comes one

Almighty crack.

Tha topples o'er and then tha's gone

Wi brokken back.

And th'eyes that watched thi faw neaw fill wi tears.

Folk realise.

Theaw were a symbol o' their workin' years.

Neaw dead tha lies.

An epitaph fer thee I've written deawn

I'll say it clear.

Here lies t'body of a forgotten cotton teawn

RIP Lancashire.



by Dave Dutton.

- Lancashire life today?

In eawr teawn, we live on’t dole

We've spun aw't cotton, we’ve brunt awt coal.

We've getten etten up bi a bigger teawn-

If things get any wuss, they'll hafta close the beggar deawn.


In eawr teawn, we think it's nice

Livin in't People's Paradise

To live wheer wur born is what we like

But we're towd we’st aft get on eawr bike.


In eawr teawn, we think it's great

Kids sniff glue an’ stop eawt late;

Muggers deawn each. ginnel lurk,

But they ceawnt steyl eawr wages

Cos noan of us werk.


In eawr teawn, we’re very close

If one gets 'flu, we aw gerra dose.

Wi’ aw't kids names we are acquainted-

Cos they ‘ re sprayed aw oo’er’t waws an’ painted.


In eawr teawn, we aw gut Club

Them as dunt gut Club gut Pub.

Them as dunt gut Pub gut Bed-

But only them who’ve just geet wed.


In eawr teawn, there’s nowt fer't do -

They’ve closed deawn’t flicks and bowing greens too;

There’s only Bingo but that’s reet dull.

Ah’d kill mesel but Cemetery’s full.


In eawr teawn, we spend aw day

Watchin’ telly and suppin’ tay;

Ah’d emigrate, but fer what it’s worth



This was a favourite poem for recitations many years ago. One of the most famous Lancashire poems.

At number one ' Bowton's Yard, mi gronny keeps a skoo,
Hoo hasna' mony scholars yet, hoo's nobbut one or two;
They sen th'owd woman's rayther cross - well, well, it may be so;
Aw know hoo boxed me rarely once, an poo'd me ears an' on.

At number two lives widow Burns, hoo weshes clooas for folk;
Ther Billy, that;s her son, gets jobs at wheelin' coke;
They sen hoo cooarts wi' Sam-o-Neds, 'at lives at number three;
It may be so, aw canno' tell, it matters nowt to me.

At number three, reet facin' th'pump, Ned Grimshaw keeps a shop;
He's Eccles-cakes an' gingerbread an' traycle beer an' pop;
He sells oat cakes an' o does Ned, he 'as boath soft an' hard,
An, everybody buys off him 'at lives i' Bowton's Yard.

At number four, Jack Blunderick lives; he goes to th'mill an' wayves;
An' then, at th'week-end, when he's time, he pows a bit an' shaves;
He's badly off is Jack, poor lad! he's rayther lawm, they sen,
An' his childer keep him down a bit, aw think they'n nine or ten.

At number five aw live misel', wi' owd Susannah Grimes,
But dunno like so very weel, hoo turns me eawt sometimes;
An' when aw'm in ther's ne'er no leet, aw have to ceawer in't dark;
Aw conno pay mi lodgin' brass becose aw'm eawt o' wark.

At number six, next door to us, and close to th'side o'th speawt,
Owd Susie Collins sells smo' drink, but hoo's welly allus beawt;
An heaw it is, ut that is so, aw'm sure aw conno' tell,
Hoo happen mak's it very sweet, an' sups it o hersel'.

At number seven ther's nob'dy lives, they laft it yesterday,
Th' bum-baylis coom an' marked the'r things, an' took 'em o away;
They took 'em in a donkey cart - aw know nowt wheer they went-
Aw reckon they've bin ta'en an' sowd becose they owed some rent.

At number eight - they're Yawshur folk - ther's only th'mon an' th'woife,
Aw think aw ne'er seed nicer folk nor these in aw mi loife!
Yo'll never see 'em foin' eawt, loike lots o' married folk,
They allus seemgood-temper't like, an' ready wi' a joke.

At number nine,th'owd cobbler lives, th'owd chap ut mends mi shoon,
He's gettin' very wake an' done, he'll ha' to leeov us soon;
He reads his Bible every day, an' sings just loike a lark,
He says he's practisin' for heaven - he's welly done his wark.

At number ten James Bowton lives, he's th'noicest heawse in't row;
He's allus plenty o' summat t'ate, an' lots o' brass an' o;
An' when he rides or walks abeawt he's dressed up very fine,
But he isn't hawve as near to heaven as him at number nine.

At number ten, mi uncle lives, aw co him Uncle Tum,
He goes to concerts up an' deawn an' plays a kettle-drum;
I' bands o' music, an' sich things, he seems to tak' a pride,
An' allus mak's as big a noise as o i'th' place beside.

At number twelve at th'eend o't row, Joe Stiggins deols i' ale;
He's sixpenny an' fourpenny, dark-colour't an' he's pale;
But aw ne'er touch it, for I know it's ruin't mony a bard,
Aw'm th'only chap as doesn't drink 'at lives i' Bowton's Yard.

An' neaw aw've done, aw'll say goodbye, an' leov yo' for a while;
Aw know aw haven't towd mi take i' sich a fust-rate style;
But iv yo're pleas't aw'm satisfied, an' ax for no reward
For tellin' who mi neighbours are ut live in Bowton's Yard.


by Sam Laycock.

Th'art welcome, little bonny brid,
But shouldn't ha' come just when tha did;
Toimes are bad.
We're short o' pobbies for eawr Joe,
But that, of course, tha didn't know,
Did ta, lad?

Aw've often yeard mi feyther tell,
'At when aw coom i' th' world misel'
Trade wur slack;
An' neaw it's hard wark pooin' throo
But aw munno fear thee, iv aw do
Tha'll go back.

Cheer up! these toimes'll awter soon;
Aw'm beawn to beigh another spoon  
One for thee;
An', as tha's sich a pratty face
Aw'll let thee have eawr Charley's place
On mi knee.

God bless thee, love, aw'm fain tha'rt come,
Just try an' mak' thisel awhoam:
Here's thi nest;
Tha'rt loike thi mother to a tee,
But tha's thi feyther's nose, aw see,
Well, aw'm blest! 

Come, come tha needn't look so shy,
Aw am no' blamin' thee, not I;
Settle deawn,
An' tak' this haupney for thisel,
There's lots o' sugar-sticks to sell
Deawn i' th' teawn. 

Aw know when furst aw coom to th' leet,
Aw're fond o' owt' at tasted sweet;
Tha'll be th' same.
But come, tha's never towd thi dad
What he's to co thee yet, mi lad  
What's thi name? 

Hush! hush! tha mustn't cry this way,
But get this sope o' cinder tay
While it's warm;
Mi mother used to give it me,
When aw wur sich a lad as thee,
In her arm. 

Hush-a-babby, hush-a-bee, 
Oh, what a temper! dear-a-me
Heaw tha skrikes!
Here's a bit o' sugar, sithee;
Howd thi noise, an' then aw'll gie thee
Owt tha likes. 

We've nobbut getten coarsish fare,
But, eawt o' this tha'll get thi share,
Never fear.
Aw hope tha'll never want a meal,
But allis fill thi bally weel
While tha'rt here. 

Thi feyther's noan been wed so long,
An'yet tha sees he's middlin' throng
Wi' yo' o.
Besides thi little brother Ted,
We've one upsteers, asleep i' bed,
Wi' eawr Joe. 

But tho' we've childer two or three,
We'll mak' a bit o' reawm for thee,
Bless thee, lad!
Tha'rt th' prattiest brid we have i' th' nest,
So hutch up closer to mi breast;
Aw'm thi dad.