The Gaffer’s View on Punishment


So thou are purtendin’ to be a fool
An’ askin’ me what are stocks?
Well, now, don’t they larn thee nawthin’ at school?
Why, boy, avaryone knows –
Naw, naw, not a kin’ of hose –
What, half stockin’s? Thou mane socks!
Aw, well, have it thee own way,
But I seen plenty thallure in me day;
Any oul vagabone that done wrong
Had to sit on a kin’ of bink or stool
With his legs stuck through two holes,
Out strite lek parallel poles,
In wooden planks
Kep’ shut by a lock,
An’ then come along
All the childer with their pranks
An’ laugh an’ dance
An’ jeer an’ prance
An’ sing an’ mock,
An’ maybe fling a sod or two –
My song, my song!
What a hullabaloo!

Thou’ve been readin’ the papers, I can see,
Wheer someone’s been writin’ this thingummyjee
About how the stocks would be the cure
For all them hooligans. But I’m not so sure.
I’m thinkin’ maybe they’d lek it well,
Settin’ theer so smug an’ swell,
An’ avaryone passin’ an’ takin’ notice,
An’ some (I’ll be boun’) would be taken’ photos.
One time they would throw
Anythin’ that come to theer han’, ye know,
Tomaters an’ kippers an’ rotten eggs,
Muck of all surts,
An’ any kin’ of lump that hurts,
Pull off theer boots an’ pinch theer legs,
An’ stroog a f’ther along theer feet
Till they were druv blebbinagh complete,
But now they’re only throwin’ such missiles
At them that stan’s as politicians.

Still, howsomeavar ye navar can tell
Theer’s some could do with a lil spell
Of settin’ in stocks in the open air
Where people could stan’ an’ hev a good stare,
Or go away an’ come back again
If it was good an’ peltin’ with rain.

Naw, the bes’ thing to do, the bes’,
If they’re axin’ me,
Is to put all the spithags to clear the mess
That anyone with eyes to see
Can obsarve in the Manx countryside,
An’ whether ye walk or whether ye ride
It’s theer, hittin’ thee in the eyes,
Dumps an’ rubbish,
Oul’ cars an’ the like,
With here an’ theer a pram or a bike,
An’ clouds of smook an’ swarms of flies
Theer’s some I could mention as boul’ as brass –
But ya, it’ll navar come to pass,
They’ll hev to build so many to fit
The number of rascals condemned to sit
That the rates’d go up furder an’ furder –
Why boy, it’d be nawthin’ short of murder!

The great word now is Consarvation,
An’ they’re sayin’ this is our only salvation,
So put the mitchoors to work at shiftin’
An’ clanin’ an’ tidyin’ an movin’ an’ liftin’,
So that they’ll be doin’ some good
In the neighbourhood.
If we clap them in stocks an’ pillories
They’d be more untidiness litt’rin’ up the scene.
So let them use up all their calories
In makin’ our islan’ lovely an’ clean,
An’ then we can sing with voice, heart an’ sowl,
This – “Gem of god’s earth” – is fair an’ not foul.
An’ we’ll not be scrayssin’ of stocks, rope or rack,
But how to get Mona on the right thrack;
For the way she is goin’ it’s plain to be seen
She can hardly be called, “Mannin veg villish veen!”

Mona’s Herald 29.12.70