The Gaffer at an Anniversary


The Annicumvarsary? Aw, yis,
I went an’ all, I did.
I wouldn’ miss
Seein’ all the childer on the stages –
Ay man, younges’ to the ouldes’, all ages;
An’ not one of them hid,
But all soncy an’ nate
An’ settin’ theer lek eggs on a plate,
Lookin’ as if they’d drop off any minute;
But ye could see their hearts was in it
As if they were havin’ a trate.

Yis, trate thallure, with their shiny faces
As if they were all boun’ for the bes’ of places.
Aw, ‘deed b’y, ye might think the angels was in.
With the sweet they were singin’,
An’ their v’ices high ringin’
Lek a pale of bells or a nes’ of birds,
With a kin’ of melodious din,
If thou know what I mane.
Tho some of course, as ye might expec’
Were lookin’ all roun’ an cranin’ the neck.
And so forgot the words.
But no mattha, no mattha,
No one could do battha!

Them big ones at the top were all sedate
An’ tryin’ to look as if this was the thing
That they done avary week when they come here to sing.
The girls with their legs all this way an’ that,
An’ the b’ys a-fidget as if they were sat
On a bed of thistles
Or a hedgehog’s bristles.
While the ones at the bottom, the lil sowls
Were lookin’ all big-eyed an’ as solemn as owls
An wavin’ to mother or auntie or dad
An’ some lookin’ p’raps a lil bit sad.
Not knowin’ quite wharrit was all about
Excep’ they were theer to jine in the shout,
A-clutchin’ their papers or suckin’ their thumbs.
An’ a b’y in the middle
With his heels all a-twiddle
As if he was playin’ the drums.

Aw, I navar did see such a sight as that theer,
It was battha till far than Tynwal’ Feer.
For who wants to look at Deemsters an’ Kays
Or the Gov’nor hisself, or even th’ Archd’acon
If they can see childer
With their eyes full of rays
An’ loveliness fit to bewildher
The vary heart of ye, singin’ their praise
An’ such j’y for the takin’?

An’ then when they’d finished an’ said a las’ prayer,
Amen an’ the lek, they were at it again
With a Hymn of Dismissal, but nobody moved
Till the vary las’ word.
An’ then, goy hei, norra soun’ could be h’ard,
Till at las’ with a sigh,
As if wondherin’ why
They had to go, the folks began
To drif’ out slowly as if they loved
Avary minute an’ wanted moore
Lek Oliver Twis’
It was too good to miss.

Goy man alive, ye can be sartin’ sure
I could ha’ sat an’ sat an’ sat
But what would be the good of that?
The Annicumvarsary was over for another year,
An’ all I can hope for
Is that the good Lord will speer
To go yet again
To hear the youngsters’ celestial refrain.

Mona’s Herald 15.8.72