Frederic William Moorman

Our Beck

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I niver heerd its name; we call it just "Our beck."
Mebbe, there's bigger streams down Ripon way;
But if thou wants clean watter, by my neck!
Thou'll travel far for cleaner, ony day.

Clear watter! Why, when t' sun is up i' t' sky,
I've seen yon flickerin' shadows o' lile trout
Glidin' ower t' shingly boddom. Step thou nigh,
An' gloor at t' minnows dartin' in an' out.

Our beck flows straight frae slacks o' moorland peat,
An' gethers sweetness out o' t' ling an' gorse;
At first its voice sounds weantly saft an' leet,
But graws i' strength wi' lowpin ower yon force.

Then thou sud see the birds alang its banks -
Grey heronsews, that coom to fish at dawn;
Dippers, that under t' watter play sike pranks,
An' lang-nebbed curlews, swaimish as a fawn.

Soomtimes I've seen young otters leave their holes,
An' laik like kitlins ower the silver dew;
An' I've watched squirrels climmin' up the boles
O' beech trees, lowpin' leet frae beugh to beugh.

Fowers! Why, thou'd fill thy skep, lass, in an hour,
Wi' gowlands, paigles, blobs, an' sike-like things;
We've daffydills to deck a bridal bower,
Pansies, wheer lady-cows can dry their wings.

Young childer often bathe, when t'weather's fine,
Up yonder, wheer t' owd miller's bigged his weir;
I like to see their lish, nakt bodies shine,
An' watch 'em dive i' t' watter widoot fear.

Ay, yon's our brig, bent like an archer's bow,
It's t' meetin' place o' folk frae near an' far;
Young 'uns coom theer wi' lasses laughin' low,
Owd 'uns to talk o' politics an' t' war.

It's daft when chaps that sit i' Parliament
Weant tak advice frae lads that talk farm-twang;
If t' coontry goes to t' dogs, it's 'cause they've sent
Ower mony city folk to mend what's wrang.

They've taen our day-tale men to feight for t' land,
Then tell us we mun keep our staggarths full.
What's lasses, gauvies, greybeards stark) i' t' hand,
To strip wer kye, an' ploo, an' tew wi' t' shool?

But theer, I'll nurse my threapin' while it rains,
An' while my rheumatiz is bad to bide;
I mun step heamwards now, through t' yatts an' lanes,
Wheer t' owd lass waits for me by t' fireside.

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Frederic William Moorman