The Gaffer at the Cattle Show


‘Deed yis though, that’s the place
To see many a half-forgotten face –
Wheer? Why, at the cattle-show:
An’ I don’t mean the face of a pig,
Or a sheep, or a hoss,
Though theer’s no saying’ but they can be jus’ as strig
As the face of a person,
Aspecially if they’re nursin’
A grudge or a grievance.
But goy hen, yessir, the go
Tha’s at them, an’ the cross
Some of them animals is, an’ no wonder.
How’d you feel if you were put in a pen
Lek the sheep an’ the pigs yonder,
For all to gape at? What then?
Or lef’ lek somebody else’s leavin’s?

Well, well now, if it’s a Show
They’re callin’ it it’s raisonable to suppose
Theer must’ be a show, although
The b’ases themselves would rather be
Away in the fiel’s instead of in rows
To be gawped at by humanity.
I seen one tremenjus bull
That give me such a look
I was altogether shook;
It was jus’ as if he meant to say
“I’d lek to meet you in the open fiel’
An’ then we’d see
Who’d stan’ an’ stare
With time to spare!
It was wonderful
To see the calm an’ nochralagh way
The boys could hou’ him on a bit of rope,
An him all shinin’ an’ smellin’ of toilet soap.

Then theer’s the flowers,
An’ the vegetables,
An the honey
An’ the wine –
Aw, mighty fine, now mighty fine,
An’ bringin’ the money:
Jus’ think of all the hours
Purrin by the exhibitors,
Arrangin’ an’ tittivatin’,
Brushin’ up this an’ twistin’ that
Lek an’ oul’ fusseybreeches with a new hat –
Not jus’ plonkin’ the stuff on tables,
Aw no, boy, theer’s more to it;
If ye’ve got anythin’ to show
Ye’ve got to know how to show it,
Or yee’re in for a b’atin’.

An’ wharrabout the women for all?
Them tha’s in the Institoot,
Settin’ out cakes an’ scones an’ jelly an’ sweets on a stall,
An’ seein’ who’s bes’ to plaze the eye –
Aw my, aw my!
I seen plenty thallure to catch the sight,
An’ some of it mean’t an’ some not intended;
But as th’oul fella said the other night,
Lease’ said soonest mended.
But I might jus’ venture a small remark,
I was warm goin’ in, theer’s no doubt,
I was a lot warmer still by the time I got out!

Now before I finish this lil meditation
Let me mention the jodpurs an’ boots,
The bowler hats an’ the suits
The jumps an’ the airs
An’ the hoity blank stares.
Now what in the name of the whole of Creation
Is the likes of them ones doin’ at a cattle show?
Wharra sight it ‘ud be now
To see one of them astride a cow,
An’ tryin’ to get over a hedge or a fence
An’ coaxin’ a heifer, udder, horns an’ all
To jump a wall
It wouldn’ make sense.
I’ve seen them jumpin’ walls an’ such
But only for themselves, without a touch
Of whip or spur in their flanks.
Well, well, it’s only bein’ Manx
To say, “Thraa dy liooar, time enough
For such capers an’ the lek of that stuff!’
But jus’ the once,
No more, no more,
I’d lek to see The Phynoderee
Swingin’ up in a tree,
An’ the snowy Tarroo Ushtey an’ the Glashtyn as well,
An’ to feel the groun’ shake when the Buggane ud roar;
An’ if the Moddhy Dhoo let out a howl –
Why, bless me sowl,
That would be a show, boy, truth to tell! 12.8.69