A sad tale of a striker's bride (June 1984)

Submitted by R Totale on May 1, 2020


It wor gunna be a Church weddin’
They said ah could ‘ave owt ah liked
We’d chosen the bridesmaids, the flowers, the wine
Then what ‘appened — they all went on strike.

Ah reckon we could’ve just waited -
To ‘ave Christenin’ first’s no disgrace -
But ah’d set me ‘eart on bein’ married in white
An it wor gerrin’ tight at the waist.

So we went to the Registry Office
With only us dads and us mams
But it does tek the shine off a weddin when t' talk
‘s about price of second-hand prams.

We’d ‘oped we’d be gettin’ a mortgage
We’d practically settled the sum,
But when the’ fund ‘art ‘e weren’t getting a wage
We ‘as ter go live with ‘is mum.

It isn’t that ah’m not really grateful -
She’s really a generous soul -
But when we’re all sittin an’ watchin’ TV
She’ll be soakin’ ‘er feet in a bowl.

‘Is dad lies on t’ sofa, just snorin’
When ‘e gets back ‘ome from th’ pub,
‘e teks out ‘is teeth, an’ leaves ‘em on t’ sink -
Eee, it fair puts yer right off yer grub.

We couldn’t afford gallivantin’
On t' money from t' DHSS,
An’ soon a fun aht ah’d got nowt that’d fit -
God! ‘Ow I ‘ate lookin’ a mess.

Ah wish that ah could’ve afforded
To ‘ave me ‘air properly done,
But when we’ve paid out, well, there’s just nothin’ left -
This strikin’ lark isn’t much fun.

For ‘im, life’s not that much different -
‘E pickets, instead of ‘is job,
‘E goes out ter t’ meetin’ at t’ workin’ men’s club
On Satdi, ‘e draws a few bob.

For me, ah was really quite ‘omesick,
Ah ‘ad mornin’ sickness as well,
An’ as ‘is mam only knew ‘ow to cook chips
Ah kept passin’ out at the smell.

There’s only one thing that keeps me on the rails -
When ah go ter mi mam’s at weekend
If ah couldn’t rummage through my bottom drawer
Ah think ah would go round the bend.

‘Cos ‘onest, ah luv ‘im, an’ if - ah mean ‘when’ -
Them up there find a road to agree
We could work out us problems, before its too late,
We might ‘ave a chance, ‘im an me.

It ain’t much of a start, with a feller that’s scared
That ‘e might finish up on the dole,
And God knows, there must be an easier way
Than goin’ down that mucky ‘ole.

So ah’ll wait for me dream ‘ome till later,
Give ‘im all the support that ah can,
‘Cause when this lot’s ower, ah’m glad ah can say
Well, leastways ah married a man.

June 1984

This poem is one that I nearly always get asked to recite. Better heard, than read.