The Strike

Naw the owners decided ti change the shifts at the pit
Ti lay doon new wark-patterns, en' it caused a stoppage.

For the maistors wad hae thor pits wark faster en' harder
En' the men wad hae sed, Ax us, ax us what's siafe en' proper.

Seea the men they struck, the maistors stoppt wages en' coal,
En' for that the pitmen hed little brass i' hand, thor fam'lies wor siun ahunger'd.

Us that wor shop-keepers thowt hard what credit we cud give
En' fowk i' the skiuls set up soup-kitchens ti feed the bairns.

The men wor bitter an' fierce ti see thor fam'lies tret seea;
The maistors browt in poliss frev Ireland ti deal wi' them.

The men marched wi' a banner: it wor three vests on a line
Which telled o' the shifts disputed; aal wor set fer confrontation.

The wives forbye set oot ti show thor anger:
Wi' thor sho'els they gat buckets o'coal frae the Pea Heap.

That woz the small coal nae gud for a price.
But the women thowt it splendid ti hoy at the poliss.

The under-manager, Mr Bell, read them the law.
But he ran for his life as the women cam upů.

Then the poliss with truncheons made a firm blue line
En' aal the showers o' coal cud not budge them.

En' as the wives flacker'd, the poliss charged,
Braying' them aal wi' thor sticks, bangin' en' yellin'.

The crowd tiuk off ti Johnnie Bell's house, jis' nigh,
En' used the coal left on his greenhoos, iv'ry pane was brokken.

But the bairns en' ithers warked aal day at the spoil-tips
Ti scrabble tegither some bit coal fer thor ahn heatin' en' cookin'.

Thor woz heaps o' stiane en' shale, gert as moontins,
Weird rocks o' reds en' broons, wi' rose-bay grawin' on't.

Sometimes it burned in-bye, en' brust inti low a' top,
A mannish volcano o' stithes en' gases.

Thor they wad sieve the weany bits they grov up,
Or mak drifts o' thor ahn fer ti howk oot better coal.

En' seea the strike gann'd on en' on;
Ended Aa knaw, but Aa cannot mak it clear, naw, frae the nex' un.

For ye mind, Aa grew owd, still steppin', but slaw,
Tiward the day, Mary en' me, we stoppt tegither.

 

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