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Larnarkshire & ( Larky) Poems

 BROOMY KNOWE.

Twa Larky lads (twa collier blades)
   Cam’ doon the Gillie Burn,
An; sat them doon on Avon side,
      Ae sunny simmer morn.

The lark was singin’ high o’erhead,
     The mavis on the tree;
Each flow’r was hung wi’ dewy bead,
Or, bendin’ neath the bee.

Young Tam was fu’ o’ hope, he sung,
     A’ Nature seem’d sae bonnie,
An’ sae his rustic harp he strung,
     An’ thus he sang tae Johnny.

“Aul” Broomy Knowe wi’ beauty beams,
     this sunny, simmer mornin,
 As on her rocky seat, she seems      
The clumsy clachan scornin’.

For noble art an’ nature true,
     Hae deck’d her oot sae bonnie;
The bloomin’ thorns her knowes adorn,
An’ roses rare, sae mony.

Man, Jock, tae leeve in sic’ a place,
     ‘Twad be an unco pleasure,
had we the wealth o’ sweet content,
     An’ jist eneuch o’ treasure.

O. man if Broomy Knowe were mine,
     I’d spen’ my happy days, man,
Content tae paint, in rustic rhyme,
The beauties o’ her braes, man.”

“Guid save us, Tam! yer no’ yersel’,
      Yae surely must be ravin’;
Aul’ Broomy Knowe, the very hell
O’ a’ the banks o’ Avon.  

Her beauty; troth I ne’er could see’t,
A weirdly, witch-like biggin’
Her ev’ry neuk is demon-like,
Gae found tae tapmost riggin’.

My faith, I’ll ne’er forget the nicht
I slept wi’ aul’ Nine hunner,
When we wi’ Clooty gat a fricht,
     An’ heard him snore like thunner.

We’d gane tae get the gatherin’ coal,
     Fra side the kitchen door, man,
When jist as twal’ began tae toll,
     We heard his hideous roar, man.

Ye needna lauch, for troth it’s true,
     An’ though till death I’m tauntit,
I’ll swear tae a’ sic chaps as you
     Aul’ Broomy Knowe is hauntit.*

“No lauch—ye superstitious sowl
     d’ye ken, ye bletherin’ body,
the roar ye took for Hornie’s howl,
     Cam’ frae the Captain’s Cuddy.

That nicht wee Andrew op’d the door,
     An’ in the coalhouse put her;
Nae doot she’d gie a devilish roar,
   For faith she gat nae supper.”

Ha, Tam my man, it winna dae,
      Ye needna craw sae crouse, man;
 The Provost met his Majesty;
     Can swear he haunts the hoose, man.

He heard, ae nicht, a fisselen
     When courtin’ in the straehouse,
Que’ he, “some loon’s been listenin’,
     Quo’ Mary, “That was nae mouse.”

“Is onybody here? He says,
     When horrible tae tell man,
he got a whisk across the face,
     Wi’ Satan’s sulph’rous tail, man.

He heard the rattle o’ his chain,
      He felt the hide sae hairy;
Then dartit thro’ the door alane,
     An’ left his bonnie Mary.

Oot o’er the craig, doon by the brig,
     He ran like ane deleerit;
Aul’ Broomy Knowe fae then tae now,
      He never will gae near it.”

“Ha, ha, tha’s guid, I gat the farce
      Fae Jenny Millar’s Johnnie;
By George he catch’t the Captain’s horse,
At least, his ridin’ pony.

Noo, sae nae mair, ye’ve said enough,
     Yon marks upon the stair man,
We’ve bits o’ bodies in Millheugh,
     Can tell wha left them there, man.

Roun’ Broomy Knowe amang the wuds,
     A lady waunners moanin’,
An’ in the ivy-covered lodge,
     Aul’ Francie heard her groanin’.

Nae or’nar sowl wud sleep a nicht,
     Within her hauntit gavel;
But sodger lads are void o’ fricht,
     An’ faith wud face the devil.”

“Man, Jock, the coat the Captain wears,
     That keeps him proof o’ fear, man,
Is manly trust in Providence,
    An’ conscience clean an’ clear, man.

The man wha meditates a wrang,
     On either man or woman,
Kens justice winna let him gang,
     An’ ever dreads her comin’.

Oor sinfu’ superstitious sauls,
     A goblin hears or sees,
In moon made shadow’s o’ oorsel’s
Or moanin’ midnicht breeze.

The marks ye saw upon the stair,
Were left there by the painter;
The lady’s but a “licht” affair,
‘Twas lovely Luna sent her,”*

An’ sae ye may believe me lad,
    Sic superstitious nonsense,
Will melt before a manly heart,
     An’ unencumbered conscience.”

                                               Thomas Stewart.
                                                Larkhall.
                                               Circa 1870’s.
*That a Black Lady” haunted this house was some folks opinion in my young days and how the report affected even rational beings, the following will show you:---A young servant had occasion to go to the laird’s room with some refreshment one evening, and on reaching the landing, raised her eye from the dishes she was carrying to open the room door, when the Black Lady presented herself right between her and the door. To drop what she carried and scream, was natural, and she did so. The master- who was mad at the reports being circulated—at once opened the door inquiring what was the matter, As the young one knew he would be angry if she mentioned the  Black Lady, she evaded his question until she could do so no longer, and admitted having met the Black Lady, who “just melted” when he opened the door. Well, I will let you se her again,” said the laird, shutting the door and revealing the young woman’s shadow extra distinctly thrown on the door by the silent moon shining through a large window at the lassie’s back. That young lass got married, and lived in the village until he was an old woman and her stay no doubt helped to dismiss our “Black Lady o’ Broomy Knowe.

Wilma Bolton. 2005.

 BUMPERS BOTTOMS UP.   (Air—Sheering we will go)

Oor faithers founded aul’ St. Tam.
      Noo fifty years agane;
An’ weel we wat ‘twas this they took,
      Tae consecrate the stane:
Ay jist a drap o’ Thamson’s best,
Frae oot a crystal cup;
An’ aye sin syne her sons incline
      Tae bumpers bottom up.
         Tae aul’ St. tam! tak’ aff yer dram,
             Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!
         Wi’ bosoms leal, we wish her weel,
                  An’ mony a festive day.

Some stranger frien’ may smile, I ween,
An’ swear she couldna thrive,
But lad yer wrang, she’s rich and strang—
      A working, healthy hive;
For ilka year her sons tak’ care
      Tae fill the festal cup,
An’ consecrate her o’er again,
         In bumpers, bottoms up.
             Tae aul’ St. Tam! etc.

Hoo rare tae meet a kindred soul,
      An’ --canty o’er a dram—
Wi’ brethren roun’ the reekin’ bowl,
      Tae sing in aul’ St. Tam.
It fans the flame o’ mutual love---
      The mason’s mystic grup;
But doubly warm we feel the charm,
      Wi’ bumpers bottoms up.
          Tae aul’ St. Tam! &c.

Tae press the kin’ly haun o’ frien’s
      We see but ance a year,
An’ hear them talk o’ brethren gane,
    Whase mem’ry we revere;--
Wi’ wham, when aul’ St. Tam wis young,
      They shared the social cup,
An’ toasted Lav’rickha’ St. Tam,
      In bumpers, bottoms up,
           Tae aul’ St. Tam! &c.

I lo’e tae meet my brethren auld,
     Tae see their silv’ry hair,
Tae hear their tales o’ aulden times,
     Wi’ humour rich an’ rare.
We’ll toast them yet, my youthfu’ frien’s,
      When we hae got the whup;
May we can drive as they hae dune,
      Come, bumpers bottoms up.   
           Tae aul’ St. Tam! &c.

Tae fend a wark sae weel begun,
      Oh! Wha wudna be fain?
An’ brethren, Larky’s laurels won—
      Ye’ll min’ ye maunna stain;
And min’ yer orders frae the east--
      Yer no tae sadly sup,
But “drink” yer wine wi merry heart,”
      In bumpers bottoms up.
             Tae aul’ St. Tam! &c.
 
Thomas Stewart. Larkhall.   Circa. 1870’s.
Wilma Bolton. 2005. 
                                CHILDHOOD.                                        
In memory let me wander back and tae ye a’ reca’
The happy childhood days we spent when oor world was truly sma’
Should you wonder who the de’ll this is , ye’ll realise it a’
When I tell ye I was born and raised in Earnock

Roon the toll alangside the bank, and past mum Paul’s shoap,
Frae Pollock into Earnock Street, ye don’t take time to stoap
Then tae your richt and thro’ the brig ye’ve nae mair need tae mope,
For there jist in front  a’ ye, is Earnock.

Wi’ a motley crowd o’ people mixed in a’ degrees,
English, Irish, Jews and Scots, Protestants and R.C’s.,
Although we’d different points of view, we a’ felt quite at ease,
For we’d a common bond,  we a’ belanged tae Earnock.

The year’s  o’ ‘21 an’ 26, when the strike was at its hicht,
 When as kids we played at fitba’, bools and peever, fae morn tae nicht,
And the auld folks saw that we got fed and mack everything seem a’richt,
We’d nae money, but those were happy days in Earnock.

Wi’ soup simmerin’ in the wash-hoose, an’ boolin’  on the green
An’ the lads aye efter lassies, wi’ a twinkle in their een’
Playin’ haun’ ba’ at the gable-end, and a thing we’d never seen,
Pit  pownies trottin’ aboot the fields at Earnock.

In summer when wi’ gir’n cleek the back roads we could run
Pu’in berries, pitchin’ tents, or sliding doon the bing for fun,
Or pinchin’ turnips oot the plots, then paiddlin’ in the burn,
An the first hay-cairt comin’ thro’ the brig tae Earnock.

On winter nichts we sat an’ sang when gethered roon the fire
An’ listened to the harmony at the back-raw crowds’ desire
The co-operative Kinderspiels, Tammy Russell’s Male Voice Choir,
We learned tae ‘preciate music back in Earnock.

Time the middle-raw went on fire, and we watched the building flare,
Peepin’ Toms, an’ lum-hatted men, that gave us kids a scare,
Coal pails fleein’ fae frightened haunds ‘an’ clattering’ doon the stair,
These really were excitin’ days in Earnock.

Though the place we knew is still on the map, it isn’t quite the same,
And the folks we loved are dead and gone, tho’ in mem’ry they remain
When the sands of time have trickled out we’ll know that we’ve come hame,
When we go to meet the folks that came from Earnock.  
 
Robert (Boab) Prentice.  6.11.1914—17.11.2003.

Robert (Boab) Prentice was born and raised in a pit village in Burnbank known locally as Earnock Rows.
The houses were built by John Watson Coalmaster to house the men he employed at Earnock colliery.
Boab Prentices father also called Robert was a fireman in Earnock Colliery but he would not allow his son to follow him underground. Boab was to serve his time as an engineering turner in Anderson Boyes,
Flemington, Motherwell. His job was to make coal cutting machinery.
This poem written by Boab in 1958 as a keepsake for his sister Molly. In verse eight there is a mention of a lum-hatted man frightening the children. This refers to one night when Boab and Molly went down the stairs to fetch a pail of coal and half-way down the stairs they saw the top of a lum hat in the gloom and their imagination did the rest.  They ran up the stairs screaming and fell through the door. A minute later there was a knock at the door and there stood a downstairs neighbour with a top hat in his hands. He had been to a funeral and had heard the screaming  and he was just wondered if everything was all right. He was reassured it was, but the memory of the incident remained with the children.
Also in this verse there is a mention of the middle row going on fire, an elderly relative has also told me this story. It seems that the occupant of the house where the fire started wanted his chimney swept but did not want to pay the chimney sweep. He stuffed some rags up the lum and put a match to them (a common way then of cleaning the soot away from the chimney). However instead of cleaning his chimney he set fire to the building. Twenty-four houses were involved with most of them severely damaged.  I doubt if he ever told the factor how the fire started.  The fire took place on Saturday 10th August 1918. My elderly relative (Milly Spiers) also told me that many of the occupants were away a bus run to the seaside on the day of the fire and when they came back to the “Raws” many of them found themselves homeless.                  

 WOMEN’S WORRIES. ----------FOR WOMEN ONLY.----------


            “Hoo are ye, Mrs Mackintosh?”
              “I’m fine—an’ hoo’s yersel’?”
            “Weel. Wi’ ae thing an’ anither,
              I’m sure I canna tell.
            I’m feelin’ unco worrit, Jean,
               I wish my life was thro’;
            Oor Tam, ye ken, is idle yet,
              He’s still on the buroo.

            “Oh, aye! He’s been a’ower the place,
              An’ hunted roon an’ roon;
            There’s naethin’ daein’ at the pits,
               They’re nearly a’ shut doon.
            It’s when it comes tae Ne’erday time
               I’m smothered ower wi’ care;
            Then, ither folk can sport aboot—
               I’ve no’ a bean to spare.

            “As oor Tam says, I’ts no’ sae bad
               Sae lang’s the weans are weel;
            But when ye canna dress them richt,
               Gey wee it mak’ ye feel.
            The laddies’ boots are no’ sae bad,
               Altho’ they’re lettin’ in.
            Of coorse, Tam patched them up a bit
              Wi’ ane o’ ma auld shoon.

            “I’ve knitted jersey’s for them a’---
              I worked at them for weeks;
            An’ oot o’ yon auld coat I made
               Them a pair o’ breeks.
            Oh, aye! It is an unco help
              To hae’ a guid machine!
            Oor Wull—ye ken, my brither, Wull—
               Ca’s it “the poor man’s freen.”

            “The lassies are gey hard to sort;
              I like to see them braw,
            It’s bad enough to dress just ane,
              It’s worse when you ha’e twa.        
            Ye mind that print I keepit in
               The press below the clock?
            I took it oot the ither nicht,
               An’ made then baith a frock.

            “Aye! Just the simple slip-on things;
              No, no! they had nae care.
            I wad hae made them baith like that,
              If I had had a shape.
            It’s won’erfu’ what ye can dae
              When ane sits doon to think!
            The lassies? Oh! as prood as Punch!
              They think they’re nae sma’ drink.”

            “My cleanin? Whisht! It’s no’ near done;
              The hoose is in a muddle,
            Ay! Just aboot a year the noo,
               Oor Tam gaed on the fuddle.
            He hasna got his bottle in,
              He’ll no’ ha’e ane this year,
            Ye canna buy much wi’ the dole
               An’ whisky’s far too dear.

            “That’s true! The shops are awfu’ nice!
              The window’s are gey braw,
            “Twad be more seasonable, ‘gin
               We had a pickle snaw.
            What! Jock comes hame at hauf-past
                four?
              He has a gey long day,
            I see oor Tam ower at the Cross,
               I’ll hurry on---guid
SUB ROSA.

Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 27/12/1930. Page 10.

Wilma Bolton. 2006.

                              WHEN WE WERE GAUN AWA’.

O’ we were laith tae leave them a’,
      My bonnie native clachan!
The cozie cots o’ Lavrockha’,
      The heights an’ howes o’ Machan;
The haughs o’ Clyde, aul’ Avon side;--
     ‘Twas sairest far o’ a’,
When Charlotte grat tae pairt wi’ Mern,
       When we were gaun awa.

Tae leave the hearts that hae the lowe
      O’ love as warmly burnin’,
As when, lang syne, in Harlees howe,
      It lichtit life’s fair mornin’.
The rough anes that we rampit wi’,
      An’ pestered a’ the toon,
Wi’ mischief, when the “Moose” was fou,
      Or Luggie Jock cam’ roun’.

The dour anes, in yon direfu’ fiel’
      That battle fire an’ water,
An’ brawly aye can calmly smile
      At some folk’s silly clatter;
At sumphs, wi’ bitter prejudice
      Against oor miner heroes,---
If we hae honest men’s esteem
      It’s a’ we want tae cheer us.

An’ gratefully, fu’ lang I’ll min’—
      Nae matter whaur I wauner,
The e’e that beamed on “me an’ mine,”
      An’ gloried in oor honour;
The e’en that glowed the ardent love
      O’ gen’rous souls revealin’!
An’ need na tongue o’ praise, tae prove
      The kin’ly kindred feelin’.

Aye, we were laith tae lea’ ye a’!
      But hopes o’ fairin better,
‘S taen mony as warm a heart awa’
      Oot o’er the western water;
An’ I hae little cause tae write
     A yaum’rin rhyme ava;
But Charlotte grat tae pairt we’ Mern,
     When we were gaun awa’
Thomas Stewart.   larkhall  Circa 1870’s.
Wilma Bolton. 2005,                        
 THE WEE LARKIE BIRD
RETURNS FROM CALIFORNIA

            May flowers decked the sunny land
            As with the Larkie bird in hand,
            We sailed from California’s shore
            To sail eight thousand miles or more
            To dear old Scotland, far away,
            We left Los Angeles that day
            On the S.S. Manchuria,
            For far New York by Panama,
            And soon were passing Mexico,
            But only saw the sunset glow
            On mountain peaks, high in the sky,
            Then we passed Costa Rica by;
            And Nicaragua, so green,
            Off to the East could well be seen,
            The sun had now waxed warm and bright,
            And lightening storms raged every night;
            At last, when nine days sail was done,
            We passed Cape Hale, near Canal Zone,
            And reached Balboa, where night was spent.
            The Southern Cross we could descry---
            The stars, like jewels, blazed in the sky;
            Through Panama, next day, we strolled,
            Where, pirates buccaneers untold,
            In olden times had each his day,
            By noon our ship was on it’s way
            Through Panama Canal; past rocks,
            Jungles, through Miraflores Locks,
            Across the Lake, waters yellow green,
            To Gatum Locks; a lovely scene.
            As we the Atlantic Level gain,
            The deluge came with Tropic rain;
            At Christobal we bide a wee,
            Then sail across Carribean Sea.
            In three days we saw Cuba fair
            And in Havana’s Plaza square
            We viewed the people gathered there
            Then off again to colder seas
            Past Florida and all its Keys;
            Past other southern states we go,
            And saw a whale come up to blow,
            And anchor, after sixteen days,
            In New York harbour’s busy maze.
            A few days in New York were spent,
            And then on board the Cedric went;
            We sailed to Boston all that day,
            And set off then for Queenstown Bay,
            Where we arrived on Sabbath night,
            And viewed the green hills with delight
            We soon passed Wales, and Liverpool
            Was reached that day; our hearts were full
            To see our land, and in the train,
            Were soon in old Scotland again,
            Old Scotland dear, land of my dreams,
            Old Tinto tap in sunset gleams;
            And just as darkness settled down
            We landed in old Glasgow town.
            The next morn to Larkhall we went, then
            Took that wee bird to Avon Glen,
            The wee bird flew down by The Linn,
            And joined in song with all its kin.
            The Avon flowed adown the glen,
            Abloom with flowers each ferny den;
            Tall, trees looked down, all robed in green,
            Stirred by the wind, a lovely scene,
            And songs were sung so sweet and gay,
            By that wee bird returned that day;
            No place so sweet, within my ken,
            As that dear, lovely Avon Glen.

ALEXANDER CRICHTON. Coronado,California.
Ref. Hamilton Advertiser 8/9/1928. Page 9.                            

Wilma Bolton. 2005.
 
THE VALE OF OLD MILLHEUGH.

Where the river Avon murmurs as it
      winds down to the sea,
And nature shows her splendour on
      every bush and tree,
My footsteps oftimes wander with
       this purpose to pursue,
The beauty that abounds around the
      Vale of Old Millheugh.

The old worlds buildings nestling
      close, so peaceful and serene,
The happy cries of children at play
       Upon the green,
And feathery clouds that drift on high
      ‘gainst sky of azure blue—
Yes, there’s beauty in abundance
       round the Vale of Old Millheugh.

The many pathways of the “Park”,
      With grass so verdant green,
Where myriad flowers and rose-
        twined bowers are just an
        artist’s dream;
While on the perfumed laden breeze
        is wafted clear and true---
The thought of all the beauty round
        The Vale of Old Millheugh.

The gold expanse of ripening corn
      as far as eye can see.
The browsing herds that graze at
      ease upon the grassy lea,
  And the blood red sun just sinking
       in a sky of lovely hue,
Adding lustre to the beauty round
      The Vale of Old Millheugh.

And if by fate or fortune’s wheel
      My steps should ever veer,
And lead me to some distant spot,
    one wish I would hold dear—
To return once more, with pride and
     joy, and pay my homage to
The beauty that’s eternal; round the
     Vale of Old Millheugh.
                                                
  Pat Watters.          26/8/1944. Page 7.
   Wilma Bolton. 2005.                                                                               

 THE LAIRDS O’ LARKIE.

Wa’ back in auchteen seventeen
When working folks were no’ sae bien,
A wheen o’ weavers a’ were fain
Tae own a wee hoose o’ their ain,
Sae gathered thegither ower a crack
Decided they wad ne’er look back
Till ilka wabster, ane an’ a’
Were a’ wee Lairds o’ Laverockha’.

Officials ap’inted a’ without fee,
A weavers shop hoosed the comytee,
A modest loan at twa per cent
Tae pay all along wi’ rent,
Twas thus the ba’ wis set  a rowin’
Till this day its still agrowin’
Frae this bit seedlin’, gey an’ sma
Sprang up the Lairdies Lavrockha’.

At the Pleasance ower the mair
A site was foun’ that promised fair,
An’ there in due coorse o’ time,
Araise that thing o’ stane an’ lime,
It marks the first gairden city plot,
A monument tae a thrifty lot,
Letchworth, Port Sunlight, in fae’ them a’
Jist follow the lead o’ Lavrockha’.

Langsyne a humble but an’ ben.
Sufficed even kings and men,
But noo a cot wi’ roomies twa
Is considered no’ the thing ava.
A self-contained, gairden front and back,
A scullery an’ bathroom they manna lack,
Bedrooms an’ parlour it tak’s  them a’
Tae please the new Lairds o’ Laverockha’
 R. Bulloch. Glasgow.   Ref/ 8/7/1916. Page 6.

 Wilma Bolton 2005.

LARKHALL THE PIONEER OF BUILDING SOCIETIES.
Sir. As a native of the usually far-seeing and assertive “Larkie,” I am surprised that no effort is apparently being made to celebrate an event, not only of interest only, but of national importance. A Larkhall poet is a song depicting some of the characteristics of his townsmen says “Jist like a Larkie man, gey kin’ o’ thrawn.  However obstinate dour, or determined the present day Larkie man may be, he is evidently not prepared to lay himself open to be accused and self-conceit or an exaggerated  idea of his importance.
Had the building society movement originated in Glasgow, Birmingham, or London, I venture the opinion that considerable preparations would have been made to commemorate the centenary, even in war time, of such a social revolution. Letchworth, Port Sunlight, Bourneville and nearer home, Westerton, Cardonald and elsewhere, have been duly accredited the honour of initiating or developing sound housing reforms, while the modest and unassuming Larkie has even today, after ninety-nine years of building society activities, a larger proportion of house-holders who own their own dwellings than any of the above mentioned ambitious townships.
The memory of its pioneers who instituted the first building society in 1817 deserves to be commemorated, not only by their own descendents in Larkie but in every place where the benefits of building societies and town planning schemes are in operation. There is no doubt that the modest little effort in the Gorbals in 1917 was the forerunner of the present popular and much belauded improvements in the housing conditions of the people. It is to be hoped therefore, that something will be done to celebrate such a unique, and uncommon occurrences.   Yours in anticipation.
R. Bullock.   11 Grace Drive.       South Govan.  

Wilma Bolton 2005                                                      

 OOR COSY CLACHAN.
                Here I wait for my mither cryin’
                  Frae the laigh end o’ the toun—
                “Tam! Haw, Tam! Nae mair high-spyin’!
                  Come on in an’ cuddle doon.

                For she wrocht my first beginnin’
                  In that neuk ablow Braeheid,
                Whaur the Machan burn comes rinnin’
                  Avonward wi’ speed.

                Fine I min’ whan first I staggert
                  Up oor lang. stony, stony brae,
                Wi’ her han’ tae guide the laggert
                  Laddie that aye lo’ed tae stray.
    
                But the day cam’ whan I clear’t it,
                   Young an’ soople, stench an’ strang,
                Nocht opposin’ that I feart it,
                  Whether I gaed richt or wrang.

                An’ the times I had! The frolics!
                  W’alth o’ fun!--- Aye, w’alth o’ strife!
                    Het tae reekin’ war the rowlocks
                   As I raced my boat through life.

                But I’, auld noo and contentit
                  To be sittin; here my lane,
                Nocht I’ve dune that I repent it
                   For I haud my life’s my ain.

                And peace dwalls amang the simple
                  Beauties o’ this bonnie place,
                Fair Millheugh, that, like a dimple,
                  Mak’s the smile on Scotland’s face.

                But oor life is like the Avon;
                     As its waters rise an’ fa’;
                Whiles it’s still; and wiles it’s ravin’;
                  Yet it’s slippin aye awa’.

                So I bude tae hear her cryin’
                   Sune ye’d say—frae ‘yont the toun;
                Whan her ca’ nae mair defyin’,
                   I’ll be fain tae coorie doon—
                In Milheugh, the cosiest clachan
                  Kent in Scotland roon and roon;
                Whaur the burnie frae high Machan
                   Wimples cheery by the toun;
                Whaur the wastlan’ wins are lauchin’
                   Saft as ony cradle-croon;
                Whaur this grey auld tyke, forfochen,
                   Seeks his corner tae lie doon,              
                 R.D. Hamilton Advertiser28/2/1931. Page 10

Wilma Bolton 2006.  

 LARKHALL—TOWN OR VILLAGE

                Cornsilloch, weel a min’ ye,
                   Dear aul’ village hame o’ mine,
                Whaur a roamed amang yer bonnie glens
                      In the year o’ ninety nine:
                An’ the “low road” an’ the “high road,”
                    Tae the busy Larkie toon,
                Thro’ the big dark wud of Millburn,
                   Mang the oak an’ fir an’ broom,
                Or when the sun had gaen tae rest,
                   A’hd view frae oor auld stair
                The mile or two o’ caravans,
                   En route for Larkie Fair.
                We ran doon tae the aul’ road en’
                   An’ heard the showmen rage,
                An’ gee up the big elephants
                      Whas strength they did engage.
                An’ the roarin’ o’ the lions
                   Could be heard at Glesga toon,
                Alarmin’ a’ the wee skule weans
                   In the villages a’ roon.
                Larkie Fair, can a forget ye?
                   Twenty-seventh day o’ June,
                When the skule had scaled for summer,
                   An’ oor heart was beat in tune.
                An the dancing o’ the kilty lass,
                    Wae pink boots tae her knees,
                An’ braw frills o’ lace an’ ribbons
                   That aye fascinated me!
                The clowns wi’ nose red pentit,
                   Hoo he tumbled ower an’ ower,
                For ‘oors A stood admirin’
                   In sunshine or in shower.
                An’ the waltzin’ dolls, the bride and groom,
                   Gaed roon in dizzy whirl,
                An’ he sang a catchy love song
                   Tae his ain an’ “Just One Girl!”
                The big man wi’ the serpents
                   A’ coiled aroon his neck,
                A liked him at the distance
                   An kept weel oot his trek!
                An’ the awfu,’ awfu horrors
                   O’ the dreadfu’ Chinese war,
                On the glarin’ outer surface
                    O’ yon show among the glaur!
                An’ the “ghost show” in the corner,
                      E’en yet A get a fricht
                Contemplatin’ a’ his capers
                    In that faur distant nicht!
                An’ the bangin’ an’ the hummin’
                   An the yellin’ an’ the drummin’
                An’ the screechin’ an’ the preachin’
                   O’ the showmen on the stairs!
                The rumlin an’ the tumlin’.
                   An the roarin’ an’ the jumlin’
                O’ the switchback an’ the swings,
                    At Larkie Fair!’
                A’ trains now stop at Ferniegair,
                   Nae need for lang oration,
                Noo growin’ Larkie built itsel’
                   A grand new Central Station!
                The Trinity stauns jist like St. Paul’s,
                   What can A say to you,
                Last week yer wayside pulpit quo’
                   “Hae faith an’ ye’el win through!”
                Frae the Academy skule in Union Street
                   Hae passed sic learned men,
                That govern noo affairs o’ state,
                   An’ wisely wield the pen.
                Frae Larkie cross tae Charing,
                   When there wisna nae sic care,
                Ne’er commotion an’ variety
                    Was kent in Leister Square!
                Millheugh doon by the watter-side
                   Wis jist the Thames embankment
                They wander airm in airm wae love,
                   In perfect quiet contentment.
                An’ London Street was jist the Strand,
                   Richt up tae the Vic.,
                Tae parade oor tartan tammies,
                   An; walk aboot oor click!
                A village! Ye hae sair misca’ed
                   A’ hae for ye nae pity!
                For Larkie then was wondrous great,
                   An’ without a doot—a city!

                        PEGGY PATERSON.
                        17/9/1932.
                        Hamilton Advertiser/ Page 12.
Wilma Bolton. 2006.
                 LARKHALL’S POETIC HUMOUR.


                                      FUN IN THE “HOMESTEAD.”

In Larkhall there is a hostelry known as the “Homestead Bar,” and here genial souls gather on occasion for a crack, a song, or a good story.
The audience is said to be more that an ordinary mixed one on a Saturday night, and a frequent patron supplies the following lines expressive of the situation: ---

Every Saturday night, just about seven,
There is a crowd, ten or eleven
In the Homestead Bar down London Street,
Frae different places we always meet;
An’ a working chaps free at the week-end
An’ hae an hoor or two tae spend,*
Wha keeps things gaun fair and square.

He caws on Sam tae gae’s a bit sang,
And start the harmony alang,
Then Sam gets up and squares his shoulder
Sings—“Darling, I am growing older.”
The next he ca’s is Tammy Orr,
Who keeps the fun gaun wi’ a roar;
At telling stories he’s an expert,
Then drives to Glesga’ in a soor milk cairt

Noo Geordie Tamson, next on the list,
Gets a sang sheet in his fist
And sings, “Jane, my Jane, my pretty Jane,”
Or “Maggie, if you and I were young again.”
The next we hear is Geordie Queen,
O’ auld Scotch sangs he has a wheen,
“The Maid of Longollan,” there far awa,
And its no the clean tattie ava.







The Hughie McWhinnie, the next ane he cries
Sings “I wish I were where Helen lies,”
Can gaes that sang “Drinking,” too
And then he sings “Were no sae foo.”
Then Jimmy Boag caed on tae dae his pairt,
He gets up and sings, “For a’ the airts.”
And Freddy, gin whom we all know,
He sings, “We’ve got a long way to go.”

Then Dougald Fleming, comes in frae the bar,
And gives us, “Dark Lochnagar,”
Then Tommy Stirrat, yae a’ ken him weel,
Stands up and sings “Teddy O’Neil,”
Then time is called, wae hae Andrew Reid,
At community singing he tak’s the leed,
Starts wi’ “Banks and braes o’ bonnie Doon,”
Then sings on to the Carolina Moon.

In the evening by the moonlight he goes,
To the booze that makes you wear bad clothes,
And when I’m dead don’t bury us at all, he’ll say,
 And this is the end of a perfect day.  
 Anonymous.  Ref. The Lanarkshire. 30/1/1930. Page 11.
                                                                              
* There appears to be a line missing here.
 Wilma Bolton. 2005.
 EPISTLE TO D R. JOHN ROGERSON, DALSERF. ON THE OCCASION OF HIS MARRIAGE.

            Here, Jeannie, rax me owre my pen,
            Ho! Jamie, lad, bring that desk ben,
            The flow o’ rhyme, I canna stem,
                  Sae come awa’;
            Come heist ye quick, I’m gaun tae sen’
               A line or twa.

            Tae a blithe an’ weel-faured chiel,
            A lad I’m shair you a’ ken weel,
                  A lad a’ loe;
            A man whase he’rt is kind an’ leal,
                 An’ guid, an true.

            The desk was placed my knee upon,
            I took the auld pen in my haun,
            An’ as the shades o’ nicht were fa’n’
                 Owre lea an’ hill,
            I seized my pen as’ set it gaun
                  Wi’ richt guid will.

            Guid luck tae you my canty chiel,
            May you live lang an’ aye dae weel;
            May want or grim care never steal
                Your door within;
            May you success’ ladder speil,
                 An’ that gey sune;

            An’ may your braw an’ sonsy wife
            Aye be as dear to you as life;
            May you gang thro’ this warld o’ strife
                  Aye blithe an’ free;
            May joy an’ money aye’ be rife
                  Whaur’eer you be.

            An’ may you leeve a life o’ joy,
            Lov’d by your wife, fair young, an’ coy,
            An’ nought, I pray, will e’er annoy
                  You or your wife,
            May you your leisure ‘oors employ
                  Far frae a’ strife.

            May sorrows never clood your broo,
            Nor care e’er come to her you loe,
            An’ Johnny, lad, may you ne’er rue
                  The step you’ve taen,
            An’ may you journey this warld thro’
            Your duty daein’.

            But should e’er care come in your way
            (Which in this weary warld hauds sway)
            By silent night as well as day,
                  On your knees kneel
            An’ pray tae God, wha’ll prove thy stay,
              An’ thy wounds heal.

            But noo I think I’ll close my rhyme,
            An’ l think, sir, it’s gey neat time,
            As I can scarcely see a styme
                  As day is o’er;
            Sae I’ll conclude this screed o’ mine
                  An’ say no more.

            A. McLean. Ayr Road. Larkhall.   
            Ref. Hamilton Herald.  
            31/8/1894. Page 3. Wilam Bolton 2005