Doris Darbyshire

Owd Mo

Owd Mo, was known to every one, uz lived ut Lomerra Green,
A’trudgin t’lanes un’t cobbled streets, e offen cud bi seen.

To peart yer frum yer coppers, e’d turn is hond to owt,
From mendin umberallas, to cleanin eawt a spout.

Thumberellas’ wuz is speshulty, ’s mended t’r ibs a treat,
Tho sometimes, opnenin t’brolly, they got stuck on tha got weet.

Lickewise when wantin t’brolly deawn, after t’rain ud gone,
Before th’d worked the oracle, most likely th’d bi whoam.

Mo’s favourite job o’mendin, wuz a ‘Ye Olde Weather Ouse,’
Tha knows, wheer t’chap cums ewat in’t rain, un’t sun brings eawt is spouse.

Owd Mo cud make um week aw reet, bur e’d av is bit o’ fun,
E’d make thowd woman cum in’t the rain, un’t chap cum eawt in’t sun.

Came t’time ’e bowt o’grinding wheel, un stearted shearpnen scithers,
’E stood in’t street un grient un grient, till screechin give yer t’dithers.

Un when ’e thowt um shearp enough, e’d bring um to yer dooer,
But oft they wur only t’thafe ut size they uz ad bin afooer.

Still mooer ambitious ’e become, ’e stearted mendin clocks,
They said ’is front room deafened yer, wi other folks tic-tocks.

Each morn e’d steart upon ’is reawnds, pushin ’is owd bassinette,
Wi clocks un things e’d mended, un’t grindin wheel aw set.

Un when ’e browt a clock back, un yer haxed ow much it wuz,
E’d say, Tuppence if it don’t go reet, but Thrippence if it duz.

Now t’clock ut Mrs Green’s wuz owd, a grandfeyther aw reet,
It ’ad a moon upon it’s face which only showed ut neet.

But when Owd Mo ud mended it, un fiddled abeart wi’t moon,
It didn’t show ut as ut neet, but shone fair breet ut noon.

A cuckoo clock mi mother ad, but Cuckoo ud stopped cuckooin,
So Owd Mo took it whoam to find, wot works inside were dooin.

Ut th’end ut wick ’e browt it back, ’e wuz lookin sort o’moonstruck,
Un so were we, when wi heert Cuckoo, fer whar it sed wuz OO-CUCK.


Notes on this poem

Written in 1954, in Lancs dialect. Translated version here. Owd Mo lived at Lamberhead Green, Pemberton, Wigan.

“Lomerra Green” does not seem to exist. Perhaps Doris invented it to rhyme with “seen.” Indeed, Owd Mo may have been a fixture of Poolstock.

For those of us who have never come across “Ye Olde Weather House,” Wikipedia has a good description!