The Gaffer an’ the Lil Injins


Wha’s that ye say?
Only five of them lef’ today?
Five? An’ wan time theer were sixteen!
Sixteen of the fines’ lil injins
That anywan could wish to see,
All jesh an’ soncy in their red an’ green,
An’ yalla brass an’ fringin’s;
An’ now theer’s only five –
Why, man alive,
The times I used to watch them puff an’ puff
Up to Port Soderick pas’ the Nunnery,
Through the long cuttin’ an’ with jus’ enough
To reach the high bit over the bay.

I used to see Sutherlan’, number one a lot,
Comin’ in from Peel all smoking hot.
But number two, oul’ Derby,
Might hev been kep’ up at Surby
For all we seen of her.
But number three, she was the Pender,
She was a study lil sowl
An’ didn’ hesitate to hev a go
At chargin’ into banks of drifted snow.

While poor oul’ Lock, that’s number four,
Could only creep an’ lurch an’ growl,
An’ not do nawthin’ more.
Now Mona, the fifth wan, is still at han’,
An’ ready so they tell me, to begin
Another lot of journeys out an’ in,
Through Union Mills an’ Crosby an’ St John’s,
Wes’ward to Peel,
With many a squeal
For every laval crossin’.

Peveril, the sixth wan, looked so gran’
I thought she’d be wan of the lucky wans
To be kep on;
But not it seems
An’ numbers seven, eight an’ nine,
Tynwal’, Fenella, Douglas, are all gone
Into the worl’ of boyhood dreams,
An’ now I’ll only see them haul
The wan coach up to Foxdale Waterfall
Inside me min’,
Along a crumblin’ railway line.
Theer’s Wood an’ Maintlan’, Hutchinson,
Ten an’ eleven an’ twelve – I seen them run
On pas’ the Laval, whistlin’ loud,
An’ flying’ banners of white steam
Lek a great rollin’ tumblin’ cloud,
An’ Kissack too, the number thirteen,
I often seen,
But not so much of Thornhill – she
Was used a lot up north; Ramsey
Saw her the mos’, Fourteen she was;
An’ wharrabout oul’ Caledonia,
The wan they called the German, then?
I used to see her on her six wheels, red
Lek a thremenjus square begonia,
Bloomin’ around’ the injin shed.
Fifteen she was.

Then las’ of all, the wan they built
In nineteen twenty six, she was the bes’
The Mannin, number sixteen, bate the res’.
An’ rumbled on the rails,
An’ sometimes squealed lek she was bein’ killt,
They tell me now her b’iler’s bus’,
So I’m thinkin’ now she’s jus’
A heap of nails
An’ rus’.
Aw, well, the lek will navar be at us again,
Unless we all decide to go by train,
An’ sell up avary motor-car an’ bus –
I cannot see that happenin’ to us.

Mona’s Herald, 3.5.67