Works in the Herald 1935
Mrs Dibbs, the washerwoman, coming down the street,
Shabby old "elastic-sides" on her funny feet
   As she toddles by the pub, the loungers nudge and smile,
   "Twig the cut of this," they say.  "There's a bit of style."
But Mrs Dibbs is thinking about a wayward son;
Since he went away from home, twenty years have run.
   "Jimmy was a one," says she, "a proper one for rovin';
   But awful good he was to me before he went a-drovin'."

Mrs Dibbs, the washerwoman, standing at a tub,
Washing other people's clothes -- rub, rub, rub,
   "The moleskins is the worst," she says.  "Chafes yer knuckles bare,
   An' well I minds the moleskin ones Jimmy used to wear.
A natty boy about his clothes, oh, quite the fancy touch
Must have this, and won't have that.  Not that I minded much.
   But when his father ups and dies, he gets this craze for rovin',
   An' nothin' else would do him but he had to go a'drovin'."

Mrs Dibbs, Polly Dibbs, shopping at the store.
"Lawks -- a -- mercy me," she says.  "I can't afford no more.
   Times is hard since Jimmy went.  A body has to learn
   To pinch a bit, and save a bit; for money's hard to earn.
When Jimmy was a little lad, he used to say to me,
'Silk dresses, Ma, is what you'll have when I grow up,' sez he.
   My Jimmy was a lovin' lad, for all he took to rovin',
   There's good times comin' yet for me when he comes back from drovin'."

Mrs, Dibbs, Mother Dibbs, clad in rusty black,
Talking ever while she works of Jimmy coming back.
   Poor old shrunken form, warped and out of shape;
   Poor old skinny hand, crinkled up like crepe.
Well folk know where Jimmy is; but hide it without fail;
Seven years for cattle duffing in a northern jail.
   "Cheer up, Mother Dibbs," they say.  "He'll soon be done with rovin'.
   You'll be the Queen of Sheba then, when Jimmy comes from drovin'."

Herald, 4 February 1935, p6

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2003