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Feather's Miscellany: Tom And Jerry

John Waddington-Feather's poem tells a cat and mouse story - in Yorkshire dialect.

Owd yellow Tom were a brewery cat,
As good as ivver there was;
He copped onny mahse what strayed on his patch
An’ took it straight back to his boss.

Reight pleased were his keeper, t’head brewery-man,
Jack Brewer bi name an’ bi trade;
He bragged abaht Tom an’ his catchin’ o’ mice
In t’place weer town’s ale were all made.

“Champion o’ champions” he called his smart cat,
Which made Yellow Tommy purr long;
‘cos he were a prahd cat an’ thowt mich of hissen –
Yet one little mahse proved him wrong.

Young Jerry his name was; as wick as a flick
O’ breet leet were that mahse;
He could nivver be copped by wily owd Tom
‘Cos Jerry had so mich good nahse.

Tom were thwarted bi Jerry ageean and ageean
In t’brewery weer he hed his hoil;
Just agin t’vat which were nearest main door
Weer t’beer were brewed best upon t’boil.

Nah, one day young Jerry he fell into t’vat
An’ couldn’t get aht how he tried;
He swam rahnd and rahnd shoutin’ loudly for help;
My words! How that little mahse cried.

Tom pricked up his ears an’ rushed to the vat,
Peering ower to lewk into t’beer;
His een opened wide, an’ he licked his fat lips
When he saw little Jerry in theer.

“What will tha gi’ me if Ah pull thee aht?”
He asked, gurning all ower his face.
“Tha can eit me all up once tha’s pulled me clear,”
Said Jerry still swimming apace.

So Tom hung his tail ower t’edge o’ that vat
An’ Jerry clung on like a boil,
An’ were flicked ower t’edge onto t’brewery floor,
weer he scuttered like hell for his hoil.

Tom raced reet behind till he reached Jerry’s hoil,
An’ theer he raised up quite a stink;
“Tha said Ah could eit thee if Ah got thee aht!”
Said Jerry, “Nivver believe fowk i’ drink!”

John Waddington-Feather ©

Dialect words: Owd = old; ivver = ever; copped = caught; onny = any; mahse = mouse; reight = right; abaht = about; weer = where; prahd = proud; thowt = thought; mich = much; hissen = himself; breet = bright; leet = light; nahse = nous; ageean = again; hoil = hole; rahnd = round; lewk = look; theer = there; gurning = grinning; ower = over; fowk = folk.


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