The Secondhand Shop
Sent to us all the way from Florida, this poem was written by Blackburnian Francis Riding. Many thanks to his cousin Rita Houldsworth for giving us this gem.
Thur was owd black coats and dirndl skirts,
'Andbags, clogs an' frayed owd shirts,
Ties bi t' duzen an' cracked owd dishes,
An' a big glass bowl as were meant fer fishes,
Mouse e'ten candles and socks bi t' score,
Books fer gardnin' and books ont' War,
Books wi' bare women as were meant fer Art,
An' a dirty owd gas stove as were droppin' apart.
Thur was corsets and stays, all strong and pink,
An' a fox's tail as were startin' to stink,
A few broken clocks wi'out finger or tick, Oh, an' a paintin' o'
Flanders as fer made me sick!
Thur was rolls of owd lino as tight as a drum,
An' a cracked white chamber pot as 'd nip yer bum,
Thur was brown shoes an' black, and sum as were white,
No tellin' int' gasleet fer a left or a right.
Thur were a 'oly picture 'angin' on t' wall Just over t' top of a brown lino roll.
It said in big printing that GOD IS NOW HERE.
I couldn't see 'im and it filled me wi' fear.
I mean, if you'd gone uup theer to get sum noo gloves,
Yu'd 'ave met up yonder wi' angels 'n' duvs.
Thur was pans an' basins an' loaf tins an' such,
An' pieces o' velvet as were greasy tu tuch,
Walking sticks, umberellas and a baby's big duummy,
Oh, an' a box of false teeth all grinnin' an' guummy.
Thur was medals and badges and a tiger's stuffed 'ed,
An' a box o' tin sodjers as were made outa lead.
In t' corner o't' window were a gray stuuffed owl,
An' underneath it were a washin' up bowl,
Not to cotch droppin's or owt like that
But to stop th'attentions o't' nextdoor cat.
Braces and galoshes was piled uup bi t' duzen,
An' an owd Convent gymslip as belonged ta mi cuzen.
A pile of owd records as was all black an' scratched,
Wi' an owd melton topcoat as were luvin'ly patched.
If mi mem'ry's aw rieght, thur were a three foot stuffed snake
An' a big silver solver fer a three-tiered cake.
Plates wi' Queen Mury smilin' though t' dust,
An' sum Northrop-med pokers all cuvered in dust.
Thur were a fish wi' skennin' eyes in a fusty glass case.
'Ee were reight short a water an' 'ee looked outa place.
A photo o' t' Rovers' Week Cup from 1928.
They looked full o' muscle and ready to feight.
Thur were raggy owd carpet and tatty owd rugs,
An' a moth-etten paliasse as were paradise fer bugs.
Jubilee cuups and a bag of 'oss brasses,
An', if tha didn't mind squintin', some bent Woolworth's glasses
Oh, aye, thur were strange things and curios, but strangest o't' lot
Were t' woman oo owned this dirty owd shop.
Oo lurked thur int' back like a reight fat black spider,
An' as t' munths went past, oo kept gettin' wider.
I were frightened of 'er living thur in yon web,
Then one day Owd Crew towd me that she were dead.
And very relieved I was!
by Francis Riding