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Poetry Magnum Opus

A Time to Remember


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Old Man Harper's Tanner Rush

There were forty tanners to a quid: two hundred coming through.

He'd take one from each little kid a-waiting in the queue.

Then drop 'em in his money sack to give a little 'plink',

wave you into the cinema and in your seat you'd sink.


Smudge and Peewee, Jim 'n' me, thought it was bloomin' grand,

'cos every Saturday was free (we dropped washers in his hand).

He didn't speak but I'm sure he knew and never caused a fuss;

I reckon he'd been poor once too and took a shine to us.


Peashooters, bands and pellets came out when lights went down.

"Ouch!" and "oohs!" As some scored hits on a weekly battleground.

Flash Gordon was our hero: there was nowt he couldn't do.

Battling Ming on Mungo, while we were fighting too.


No place for the faint of heart in that raging wall of sound;

as Goodies took their foes apart with Baddies booed all round.

Each week old scores of girls and boys, were settled like a bet

under a cloak of darkness--- far from the usherette.


Then--like a train-- into the light-- streaming with its funnel;

two hundred monsters in full flight came screaming from the tunnel.

Smudge and Peewee, Jim 'n' me, a laughing all the way.

Never had such fun for free, it really made our day.

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Books and classes warn of "sentimentality".....To hell with that! I loved the second stanza; the whole piece, too.


Oh, brilliant use of usherette! :)


Write more memories like this PLEASE!

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It's one of around a score of pieces that I wrote in Yorkshire dialect over a decade ago, loosely based on childhood friends and memories. I'd intended to sell them at folk music festivals but the small publisher who was interested retired. I've tried to keep an "Our Gang" flavour and dropped the dialect here as it doesn't travel well. Your comments and interest are much appreciated. G.

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Strange how even small details stay in our memories. I read the aura of "Huckleberry Finn" in this one, even through the colloquialisms of the times. Enjoyed the journey.

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Frightening to look back at the currency. We then had 240 pennies to the pound (quid) the tanners were small silver sixpenny pieces and we referred to the large silver half-crown coins (worth 5 tanners) as half-dollars (8 half-crowns to a pound). A dollar at that time was worth around 2 half-crowns..... Everything changed much later in 1971 when we change to a decimal currency that helped to create 28% inflation in the mid 70's. Never was a saying more apt than, "the past is a foreign country etc:."

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