THE FALTERING KNIGHT
It knocks me can in, this ere game uv life, A bloke gets born, grows up, looks round fer fun, Dreams dilly dreams, then wakes to find a wife An' fambly round 'im -- all 'is young days done. An', gazin' back, sees in 'is youth a man Scarce reckernised. It fair knocks in me can! Ther's me. I never seemed to mark no change As I mooched on through life frum year to year; An' yet, at times it seems to me dead strange That me, uv old, is me, 'oo's sittin' 'ere. Per'aps it ain't. 'E was a crook young coot, While I'm a sturdy farmer, growin' froot. But, all the same, 'e wouldn't back an' fill, An' argue with 'imself, an' 'esitate, Once 'e 'ad seen the way. 'E'd find the will To go an' do the thing 'e 'ad to, straight. That's 'ow I was; an' now -- Ar, strike a light! Life gits so mixed I can't git nothin' right. But wot's the use? A bloke 'as got to own, When once 'e 'as responsibility, Ther's certin games is better left alone Wot might be done if 'e was only free. Ther's certin things -- Oh, wot's the flamin' good? A 'usband alwiz gits misun'erstood! It's no use hintin'. If yeh want it straight, Me an' me wife ain't seenin' eye to eye: All ain't been peace an' 'armony uv late, An' clouds is comin' up in our clear sky. I ain't to blame, an' yet, no more's Doreen. It's jist 'ard Fate 'as shoved 'is oar between. All marrid blokes will understand me well. I ain't addressin' no remarks to those '0o've learnt but 'arf uv life. The things I tell Is fer the ears uv fellermen that knows: Them symperthetic 'usbands 'oo 'ave 'eard The fog-'orn soundin' in the wifely word. Fer when stern jooty grips a 'usband's 'eart (That's me) an' eggs 'im on to start a scene That's like to tear two 'appy lives apart, In spite uv all 'er carin' (That's Doreen) Why, there you 'ave a story that would make A bonzer movie -- with a bit uv fake. But 'ere's the plot. When my pal, Ginger Mick, Chucked in 'is alley in this war we won, 'E left things tangled; fer 'e went too quick Fer makin' last requests uv anyone. 'E jist sez to the world, when last 'e spoke, "Look after Rose!" . . . 'E was a trustful bloke. Rose lives in Spadgers Lane. She lived, them days, Fer Mick's returnin'. When 'e never came, If she lost 'old, an' took to careless ways, Well, I ain't sayin' she was much to blame. An' I don't worry, till I 'ear she's took, Or thinks uv takin' on to ways that's crook. Although I'm vegetatin' on a farm, I gets a city whisper now an' then. An' when I 'ear she's like to come to 'arm Amongst a push uv naughty spieler men, I gets the wind up. This is all I see: Mick was my cobber; so it's up to me. That's all I see, quite clear, with my two eyes. But marrid blokes will understand once more, When I remarks that marrid blokes is wise 'Oo 'ave the sense to take a squint through four. Four eyes is needed in reviewin' plans -- Their vision's broader than a single man's. But when them four eyes sees two ways at once -- Gets crossed -- Ar, well, ther's things in marrid life For which a hint's enough fer any dunce. Ther's certin things between a man an' wife That can't be quite -- But take this fer a fack: Don't start things uv a mornin'. It ain't tack. That was me first bad break. I should 'ave seen The supper things washed up, an' 'elped a bit, An' then 'ave broke it gently to Doreen, Promiscus, like I jist 'ad thought uv it. But I done worse. I blurts wot I'd to say Upon the mornin' uv a washin' day! There's gumption fer yeh. Eight years I been hitched -- Eight years uv trainin', an' I fall down flat! Like some poor, love-sick softy 'oo gets switched Fer tellin' "sweetie" 'e don't like 'er 'at, When she's jist come frum 'avin' rows no end About it's trimmin' with 'er dearest friend. I owns me ta'tic's crook. But, all the same, Ther' weren't no need fer certin things she said. Wantin' to do good acts don't call fer blame, Even on tackless 'usban's, eight years wed. A bloke 'oo jist suggests a 'armless plan Don't need remindin' 'e's a marrid man. 'Struth! Don't I know it? Can I well ferget While I still 'ave two 'ealthy ears to 'ark? Not that she torks an' mags a lot; but yet Ther's somethin' in 'er choice uv a remark That gets there, worse than yappin' all day long, An' makes me pure intentions look dead wrong. It seems it ain't right fer a marrid bloke To rescue maids. I starts to answer back; But got took up before I 'ardly spoke, An' innercent designs is painted black. I calls attention to the knights uv old; But tin knights an' romance iist leaves 'er cold. I read 'er meanin' plain in 'er cool eye. Aw, strike! I ain't admirin' Rose! ... Wot? ... Me! But when 'er look sez "Rats!" where's the reply A man can give, an' keep 'is dignity? It can't be done. When they git on that lay, Wise coves adjourns the meet, an' fades away. That's wot I done. I gits out uv the 'ouse All dignified. An', jist to show 'er 'ow Reel unconcerned I am, I starts to rouse Me neighbour, Wally Free, about 'is cow Wot's got in to me cabbages, an' et Close on a row uv 'em. I'll shoot 'er yet! (A batchelor 'e is, this Wally Free -- A soljer bloke that come this way last year An' took the little farm nex' door to me.) When I gets mad, 'e grins frum ear to ear, An' sez, "Cool orf," 'e sez. "It's plain your wool 'As been pulled 'ard this mornin'." 'E's a fool! If 'e don't mend that fence . . . Ar, wot's the good? I lets 'im go, an' sneaks be'ind the shed, An' sits there broodin' on a pile uv wood ... Ther's certin things she might 'ave left unsaid. Ther' wasn't nothin' fer to make 'er go An' dig up chance remarks uv years ago. Me problem's this: Either I 'urts Doreen, By doin' things with which she don't agree, Or lets Rose slide, an' treats me cobber mean -- Ole Ginger Mick, 'oo 'ad no friend but me. I ain't a ringtail; but, by gum, it's tough. I loves me wife too much to treat 'er rough. If I was single . . . 'Struth! 'Oo wants to be? Fool batchelors can larf their silly larf, An' kid theirselves they got a pull on me. I'm out uv sorts, that's all; an' more than 'arf Inclined to give some coot a crack, right now Fer pref'rince, some insultin' single cow!
|Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002-06|