Free Boots /Author Douglas Barber

Nowadays, poor children are marked out by receiving free school meals. In former times, second-hand clothes were the give-away. But often the poor kids made their way in the world, as this poem by Douglas Barber shows.


Free Boots
-
Oft time I view my childhood days
Through years that bridge the gap
An' see my parish boots
Wi' the twa holes at the tap.
-
The parish mannie o' that time
Wid lang be deid an' gone,
But swear I will that pair o' boots
Could still be hangin' on.
-
For weel I mind he says to me
'They'll last ye a' yer life
An' serve ye good an' be tae you
As faithful as a wife.'
-
They gave me a lift that day
An' took me aff the grun
W' near three hunner tackets
An' they felt like half a ton.
-
But oh! boy they were beezers
An' I'd wait 'til it wis dark
Ta skite them on the causie steens
An' thrill tae see the spark.
-
Ye can speak o' faithful servants
Wha wid come tae your defence.
Well those that felt the force o' them
Wid nae hae sat doon since.
-
The toffs' kids had a swagger
Wi' their cricket bat an' cap
An' they'd snub me' cause I'd parish boots
Wi' twa holes at the tap.
-
But nae doot there's some amongst them
Finished up much worse than me
An' would gladly trade their high horse
For a pair o' boots that's free.
-
Meaning of unusual words:
parish=poor law district
grun=ground
hunner tackets=hundred metal shoe studs
beezers=bigger than usual
skite=slither, slide
causie steens=paving stones

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Poetry Invitation.