Friday, June 19, 2009

English Poetry: Brahn Boots

It's been a while since we had some poetry on here. This choice was inspired by a programme I listened to on Radio 4 during the week about the early 20th century songwriters, Weston & Lee (worth listening to on iPlayer if you can find it - I don't know what it was called, though).

Weston & Lee wrote many songs which are familiar to most of us - including the Great War classic "Goodbye-ee" and the East End pub favourite, "Knees Up Mother Brown", but also wrote a number of delightfully working class monologues for the actor Stanley Holloway. My personal favourite was "My word you do look queer" and I wanted to post a version on here from You Tube, but, for some reason, I can't get video to embed on my blog (if anyone knows why, please tell me!).

Anyway, this is Brahn Boots - written in the vernacular so bear in mind the cockney accent when you read it. Hope you enjoy.

Brahn Boots

Our Aunt Hanna's passed away,
We 'ad her funeral today,
And it was a posh affair,
Had to have two p'licemen there!

The 'earse was luv'ly, all plate glass,
And wot a corfin!... oak and brass!
We'd fah-sands weepin', flahers galore,
But Jim, our cousin... what d'yer fink 'e wore?

Why, brahn boots!
I ask yer... brahn boots!
Fancy coming to a funeral
In brahn boots!

I will admit 'e 'ad a nice black tie,
Black fingernails and a nice black eye;
But yer can't see people orf when they die,
In brahn boots!

And Aunt 'ad been so very good to 'im,
Done all that any muvver could for 'im,
And Jim, her son, to show his clars...
Rolls up to make it all a farce,

In brahn boots...
I ask yer... brahn boots!
While all the rest,
Wore decent black and mourning suits.

I'll own he didn't seem so gay,
In fact he cried most part the way,
But straight, he reg'lar spoilt our day,
Wiv 'is brahn boots.

In the graveyard we left Jim,
None of us said much to him,
Yus, we all gave 'im the bird,
Then by accident we 'eard ...

'E'd given 'is black boots to Jim Small,
A bloke wot 'ad no boots at all,
So p'raps Aunt Hanna doesn't mind;
She did like people who was good and kind.

But brahn boots!
I ask yer... brahn boots!
Fancy coming to a funeral,
In brahn boots!

And we could 'ear the neighbours all remark
"What, 'im chief mourner? Wot a blooming lark!
Why 'e looks more like a Bookmaker's clerk...
In brahn boots!"

That's why we 'ad to be so rude to 'im,
That's why we never said "Ow do!" to 'im,
We didn't know... he didn't say,
He'd give 'is other boots away.

But brahn boots!
I ask yer... brahn boots!
While all the rest,
Wore decent black and mourning suits!

But some day up at Heavens gate,
Poor Jim, all nerves, will stand and wait,
'Til an angel whispers...
"Come in, Mate! Where's yer brahn boots?"


Sue said...

Shame about London, my dad was a proper cockney. He'll be turning in his grave right now at what his home has become!

I Albion said...

Stanley Hollaway,
The Lion and Albert.and Sam pick up tha Musket.