By Alan Baker
Based on the reminiscences of the poet’s mother, Mary Baker, née Bowman, born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1923, about her father.
When aa was a bairn, aa’d gan to the glassworks
to bring him his bait,
aa’d watch him work, blow the bubbles
of hot glass.
When he had nee job, nee money for drink,
he’d help wi’ the hoosework, scrub the floors.
When he worked, we’d never knaa
what payday would bring.
Me ma would watch the clock; when it struck six,
‘That’s it! He’s not coming hyem.’
We didn’t knaa when we’d see him again,
the morra, or for a canny few days,
till he’d spent aall his pay
on beer and pitch-n-toss.
What would we eat?
A body cannit live on fresh air.
When the women in wor courtyard
hord what happened, they’d send thor bairns roond;
they’d knock on the door wi’ a few coins:
‘me Ma says to give this to Mrs Bowman.’
Aa divint blame me Da, he had a hard life;
he had sixteen brothers and sisters
a faather who beat his mother,
started drinkin as a bairn,
an when he was oot o’ work, nee money
for drink, he was a lovely fella.