A Mother’s Lament

A Mother’s Lament

They’ve took me li’l boy – me li’l Johnny –
What for did they take a li’l chile?
When the sun gives a glint through the winders
I’m thinkin’ I’m seein’ him smile.
Then the win’ roun’ the dhure gives a clatter
An’ I’m thinkin’ it’s Johnny for all
Comin’ runnin’ home from the haggard,
Or scrapin’ his feet ‘gin the wall.


They say that he’s up theer in Heaven
In a wunnerful, bright shinin’ worl’.
But what would a chile be wantin’
With gates o’ mother o’ pearl?
He’ll be friken of all that grandeur
An’ wantin’ home to his tay;
An’ be runnin’ an’ cryin’ for Mammy,
An’ he wunt be for findin’ his way.


They say that I’m “quare” since he lef’ me;
That the ways o’ the Lord is the bes’.
It’s not “quare” that I am – but longin’
With me heart like lead in me breas’.
An’ me arms fair achin’ to grip him
An’ howl him close – the veg veen!
Aw Johnny! Aw Johnny! they’re empty! –
An’ it’s only the longin’ tha’s in.


I wouldn’ be feelin’ so badly
If I thought ’twas to Jesus he’d gone,
An’ be playin’ roun’ the flowers in some garden,
Or sailin’ his boat on a pon’.
D’you think that p’raps the Lord Jesus
Would be havin’ a kitten or so?
An’ mebbe a li’l pup for to play with
Or a meg lamb to feed. – Would He though?


I’m thinkin’ I wouldn’ be frettin’
If I knew there was animals theer,
For Johnny was fon’ o’ them awful
An’ with him the li’l things had no fear.
If I thry to get thinkin’ he’s happy
P’raps me heart wunt be feelin’ so sore;
An’ me feet wunt be trampin’ so heavy
Roun’ them fiel’s wheer he’ll scamper no more.

dhure = door
friken = frightened
veg veen = little dear

(source: ‘This Purple-Misted Isle‘, Manx Poems by Kathleen Faragher; artwork is ‘Portrait of a Boy in a Top Hat‘ by John Opie)

Bernadette Weyde

Bernadette Weyde

I'm a web designer, amateur historian and keen gardener and I enjoy bringing Manx history, folklore and poetry to a modern audience.

Tags assigned to this article:
kathleen faragherpoetry

Related Articles

In the Owl Days

“It’s a long time ago now,” says Kirry; “Aw ay, chile – a long time ago, When I wasn’ much

On William Cashen

This poem is about Manx Folklorist William Cashen who was custodian/guardian of Peel Castle and who died whilst on duty

From the Cregneish Poet

Time will change the fairest flower, Time will change the gayest bower, Time will waste the giant oak, Time will

No comments

Write a comment
No Comments Yet! You can be first to comment this post!

Write a Comment

Your e-mail address will not be published.
Required fields are marked*