Sunday Poem

“Dainty footwear turns a young lady into an
altogether more beautiful creature . . .”

………………… Etiquette for Ladies – Eliza Sell


Trottering down the oss road in me new hooves
I’m farmyardy sweet, fresh from the filth
of straw an’ swill, the trembly-leg sniff
of the slaughter wagon. A guzzler, gilt.
Trollopy an’ canting. Root yer tongue beneath
me frock an’ gulp the brute stench of the sty.

I’ve stopped denying meself: nibbling
grateful as a pet on baby-leaves, afeared
of the glutton of belly an’ rump. I’ve sunk
an when lads howd out opples on soft city palms
I guttle an’ spit, for I need a mon
wi’ a body like a trough of tumbly slop
to bury me snout in.

All them saft years of hiding at ’ome
then prancing like a pony for some sod to bridle
an’ shove down the pit, shying away
from ’is dirty fists. All them nights,
me eyes rolling white in the dark when the sow I am
was squailin an’ biting to gerrout.

Now no mon dare scupper me,
nor fancy-arse bints, for I’ve kicked the fence
an’ I’m riling on me back in the muck,
out of me mind wi’ grunting pleasure,
trotters pointing to the heavens like chimdey pots,
sticking V to the cockerel
prissy an’ crowing on ’is high church spire.

by Liz Berry
from Black Country
Publisher: Chatto & Windus, London, 2014


Black Country : Standard
oss road : street
gilt : sow
canting : cheeky or saucy
guttle : chew
mon : man
saft : foolish
squailin : squealing or crying
bints : derogatory slang for girls