Ay! theer’s me on me way to the churchyard
With the daffodils gripped in me han’;
An’ me cough had all gone, an’ me ailments,
Now the sunshine had come; it was gran’!
An’ I thought as I passed the owl farmhouse,
“I’ll purra sight on the Quilliams, the sowls,
An’ see how they’ve been all the winter,
An’ how they’re doin’ with theer pigs an’ theer fowls.”
So I went down the path through the gateway
An’ I gave a rat-tat on the dhure,
An’ I stood lookin’ out at the hills theer,
An’ the waves breakin’ white on the shore.
Then I see a li’l twis’ on the curtain
An’ herself give a skeet through the lace;
Then into the porch she come burstin’
With eyes poppin’ an that red in the face!
“Git you gone Nellie-Jane!” she was shoutin’,
“An’ dunt you dar put yer fut here again!
All them goslin’s’ll be dead by the mornin’!
An’ they’re the bes’ we’ve had yit! Wheer’s yer brain?
Them daffodils o’ yours’ll a done it!
Yer should a known they do jeel! Aw! my! my!
It’s fair butched that we’ve been since our qualtagh
Was red-headed, with wan kithag eye!
Firs’ the sow los’ six pigs from the litter,
Then the lambs didn’ do like they should;
An’ the cow was took sick Sunday everin’,
An’ the calf isn’ any too good;
An’ the li’l bits o’ plants in me garden
Is al et at Bill-Neddy’s owl goat!
An’ the couth sthruck me chis’ at the Mart down,
An’ left this spinyeag I’ve got in me throat!
I’d set the dawg on yerself an’ yer daffodils,
Onny his fut was hurt bad by the bus!
Aw! I should a swep’ up the dus’ from that redhead,
An’ cleared the curse tha’s brought all this here fuss!”
An’ her big hans was wavin’ like flags theer,
An’ her nostrils was fair breathin’ fire!
Wil’ awful she looked comin’ towards me
With her hair standin’ out like barb wire!
My lawse! I took off I can tell yer!
Ay! me feet fairly skipped down that lane;
While me daffodils flew all directions,
But I was too friken to go back again!
But I peeped through the hedge from the roadway,
An’ theer she was with the shuffle an’ brush
Busy pitchin’ me daffs like hot cinders
On the midden as hard as she could rush!
Well, I sat for a quile in the churchyard,
For I thought I would navar come toe;
Thirty years we’d been frien’s me an them wans,
But all that now had went in wan blow;
An’ I felt ’twas meself that was butched theer,
For I navar meant no harm, that I didn’;
But all hopes o’ me nex’ Chris’mas dinner,
Is buried deep in the Quilliam’s midden!
qualtagh = first foot
kithag = crossed
spinyeag = frog
butched = evil eye/betwitched
couth = cold
It’s unlucky to bring daffodils into the house until the geese were done hatching. The manx name for daffodils is ‘lus-ny-guiy’, goose-herb.
(source: Where Curlews Call, Manx Poems by Kathleen Faragher (1959); photograph of Crebbin’s Cottage, Cregneish by Peter Killey Manxscenes Photography and www.manxscenes.com)