Copyright 1975, S Smith

I originally wrote this when I was 11 years old. School lost the poem, but I can remember some of it from reading it out at assembly and I've rehashed the rest. That term we studied the Victorian age and child labour. School and my parents thought it was brilliant, because it portrayed an accent.

Me name is Tom, me mum is dead,
On the sacks I 'ave me bed,
Up the chimneys I must go,
The fire is lit if I'm too slow,
The smoke will make me
Climb the chimney quick,
But it's hard to breathe
And it makes me sick.

So up the chimney I must climb,
Breathin' smoke an' tastin' grime,
Wearing rags, I climb barefoot,
My eyes and nose are full of soot,
It's in my hair,
it's in my face,
My mouth is full
Of a sooty taste.

A ha'penny coin is all I earn,
To make your household fires burn,
A dish of gruel a crust of bread,
Sometimes I think I'm better dead,
While I'm small
I climb the flue
When I get bigger
What'll I do?

People treat me like a fool,
Cos I never been to school,
I get beaten when I'm bad,
Master calls me "stupid lad"
Don't know me numbers
Nor read nor write
Spare a coin
For the poor sweep's mite?

The master made me climb too quick,
My bare feet couldn't keep a grip,
Down I fell, a broken toy,
Who cares about a chimney boy?
A pauper's grave
While a poor-house lad
Will quickly get
The job I had.

Copyright 1979, S Smith

All of the below were British wrestlers from the days before American glamour wrestling edged out the traditional Lancashire wrestling. It was televised on ITV World of Sport on Saturdays at 16:15 and wrestling enthusiasts called themselves "grapple fans". I far preferred the grit and sweat (and brolly-wielding grannies) of the British grapple scene to the theater and razzamatazz of the American variety.

I hear the groans and cracks of bones
And the crowd are madly shouting
And in the ring are men wrestling
And I'm on my wrestling outing.

Tony StClair is wrestling there,
Against the Giant Haystacks,
Then Dynamite will have to fight
To get his British title back.

Then Big Daddy - he's no baddie,
Must fight Mal "Kojak" Kirk,
The last today is Breaks v. Gray,
"Breaks' Specials" really hurt!

There were 2 versions of the last verse:

Then Big Daddy - he's no baddie,
Must fight Mal "Kojak" Kirk,
The last today is Breaks v. Gray,
Poor Gray must really work.

Some Village Verse

When the wind blows cold in Stow-on-the-Wold
And the rain don't falter in Bourton-on-the-Water
And the weather's harsh in Moreton-in-Marsh
You can pick a flower in Shipston-on-Stour

(Shipston-on-Stour is in a valley and relatively sheltered)

You might go ravin' in Stratford-upon-Avon
But it's a bit of a loss when you get to the Fosse


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