A page to help those new to William's poetry to get a feel for his work....

 
This page is an experiment in the use of an extended form of annotation, initially, followed by an unannotated version of the poem to allow for an an appreciation of the uninterrupted flow of the rhythm of the work. (When you have read the page, please respond to the user poll at the bottom of the left hand menu). 
 
Abuba Bide (from the book Lammas Alanna) 

12 vacanas of childhood for the Goddess

 (Mount Abu in Rhajistan, Northern India was climbed by William whilst on leave from the R.A.F. at the end of WW2. Visiting the temples there had a profound and lasting effect upon him, which began a lifelong interest in goddess imagery. 'Vacana'- is an Indian word for religious free verse) 

 

William (far left) descending Mt Abu 1945

 

 

 

1.

Her ground heaves farewell

Heaps of love-fire sent

 

 Bleezer encourager      (bleezer - a metal plate to 'draw' the fire)

Drawn over black lead     (black lead - used to polish the range)

 

Sunday cracks the word to us

 

Crackle-cone on the mantel     (crackle-cone - 'cats whisker' radio)

Rakes pew-less hymns

In memory ash

 

Blaze flickers in corners

Shadow-arms gather us

We are counted

 

2.

Her dene calls out to us

From nettle beds

And young sycamore shrubs

 

She calls us from the no-go

Trespass land

Over the sharp fence division

 

Gray beech boles either side

 

Sixpences a secret treasure

The sod hides

 

To run across meadow slope

To get the breath back

At her well 

 

3.

Maggi light lit briefly all night      (Jack Shine the Maggi-children's game)

As they move around in darkness

 

The mysterious dene

Has lovers abide there

 

Till eastern blue

Brings distant bell across fields

 

To slate roof of Aline Street

Where children all fall down

 

Their ring-a-ring broken

To her bell sounding

 

For she's the only one

 

Wallflowers growing up     (Wallflower - a childrens singing/choosing game)

All the precious time away

 

 

 

 

4.

We walk the colliery line

To a canyon quarry

High on the edge of her breast     (Maidens 'paps' (breasts)-Tunstal Hills, S/land)

 

 

 

(The 'Rocky' hill of Tunstall hills, taken from the more easterly 'smooth' hill. The 'Hope Woods' lie beyond.)

 

 

Glimpses of masturbation

In Hope Wood    (The Hope - land to the west of hills)

Pitch and toss

By Gambler's Rock

As we pass

 

Girls and boys going on

To nothing much

 

Scrambling up loose limestone

 

Just a fumble among

Orchids and cowslips

Then home

 

5.

The engine steams it's way

With a long train of empties

 

Bairns on battery sides

Watch brake van tailing off

 

Their fathers are

In Mothergate     (at work in the the 'pit')

Down under

 

The buzzer has called out

A click click of heelplate reply

 

Baccy, cigarettes and matches

Are hidden in hedge holes

Edging the black path

Leading down

 

6.

There is a hill not far away   

Where love divine is given

 

Where tender mercies come to fix

In this our humble dwelling

 

It is a song of rising bread laid out

Like the word fresh baked to eat

 

But when is the day

That the fish man comes,

When is the day of the fish?

 

Callerherrin! Callerherrin!

Street by street he cries

 

How a' yer the day missis?

How a' yer me hinny?

 

Come buy my Callerherrin

You'll thrive

 

7.

Cockerooso!Cockerooso!     (children's street game)

Cockerooso! my side he cries

 

Then they all hop across

With much dunching of shoulders

 

And many a foot put down

 

They join the caller

In the middle-ground

 

Where the'll call out another

(If he crosses right over)

 

To cry with a loud

Cockerooso! come on!

 

 

William c1932

 

 

 

8.

"Tid Mid Miseray

Carlin Palm

Paste Egg Day."

 

We sing out our rhyme

Counting the weeks

To Easter-Morn rising

 

Some say it is not

Christ we sing about

 

But the Old Earth

Which gave us birth

 

We roll nonetheless     (rolling the onion-dyed 'paste' eggs down the hill)

And all shout

As they go leaping

 

Then we jarp     (strike the pointed ends of the eggs against each other)

 

9.

Her hill-breast flesh

Glows above corn ripening

 

She oversees the harvest

Coming soon

 

We play around

Climbing the 'Rocky'   (the most westerly of Tunstall Hills with a cliff face)

Or rolling down

Tender grass slopes

To a strip of strong blue sea

Smudged with chimney smoke

 

Colliers sailing off

Leaving her emptying mines behind

 

10.

A bouncy tram     

Takes us to the beach

After walking down lovers lane

 

The stream yellow

With colliery waste

 

Her lovers embracing

In bough shade

Bring whispers underhand

As fresh blood begins to rise

 

But we are soon off on the top deck

To eat gritty sandwiches

In a circle and to

Chill our scrotum in the sea

 

11.

A song comes into the ear

From somewhere about

 

It is marra music that gets louder

Brass voices tenor and bass

Fill the morning

 

And its beat bloods the heart

Of many following

 

She is singing in long streets

Calling all like the piper

 

But not to be lost

 

It is a way of arms linking

A dance of life

 

12.

I didn't know her then

As I went to the front

To be saved

 

The preacher had called         (from a travelling evangelical preaching group)

To us all to come forward

 

My mother and grandmother

Treated me like a saint

At suppertime

 

But she calls in a different way

Just look at her Lammas breasts      (Lammas-harvest feast)

And vulva dene

Bairns playthere often

It is a different passion

 

I still have the certificate    

 

 

         

 

 

 Now the unannotated version:

 

 Abubu Bide

12 vacanas of chilhood for the Goddess

 

1.

Her ground heaves farewell

Heaps of love-fire sent

 

 Bleezer encourager     

Drawn over black lead      

Sunday cracks the word to us

 

Crackle-cone on the mantel    

Rakes pew-less hymns

In memory ash

 

Blaze flickers in corners

Shadow-arms gather us

We are counted

 

2.

Her dene calls out to us

From nettle beds

And young sycamore shrubs

 

She calls us from the no-go

Trespass land

Over the sharp fence division

 

Gray beech boles either side

 

Sixpences a secret treasure

The sod hides

 

To run across meadow slope

To get the breath back

At her well 

 

3.

Maggi light lit briefly all night     

As they move around in darkness

 

The mysterious dene

Has lovers abide there

 

Till eastern blue

Brings distant bell across fields

 

To slate roof of Aline Street

Where children all fall down

 

Their ring-a-ring broken

To her bell sounding

 

For she's the only one

 

Wallflowers growing up     

All the precious time away

 

 

 

 

4.

We walk the colliery line

To a canyon quarry

High on the edge of her breast      

 

 Glimpses of masturbation

In Hope Wood   

Pitch and toss

By Gambler's Rock

As we pass

 

Girls and boys going on

To nothing much

 

Scrambling up loose limestone

 

Just a fumble among

Orchids and cowslips

Then home

 

5.

The engine steams it's way

With a long train of empties

 

Bairns on battery sides

Watch brake van tailing off

 

Their fathers are

     In Mothergate     

Down under

 

The buzzer has called out

A click click of heelplate reply

 

Baccy, cigarettes and matches

Are hidden in hedge holes

Edging the black path

Leading down

 

6.

There is a hill not far away   

Where love divine is given

 

Where tender mercies come to fix

In this our humble dwelling

 

It is a song of rising bread laid out

Like the word fresh baked to eat

 

But when is the day

That the fish man comes,

When is the day of the fish?

 

Callerherrin! Callerherrin!

Street by street he cries

 

How a' yer the day missis?

How a' yer me hinny?

 

Come buy my Callerherrin

You'll thrive

 

7.

Cockerooso!Cockerooso!     

Cockerooso! my side he cries

 

Then they all hop across

With much dunching of shoulders

 

And many a foot put down

 

They join the caller

In the middle-ground

 

Where the'll call out another

(If he crosses right over)

 

To cry with a loud

Cockerooso! come on!

 

 

 

8.

"Tid Mid Miseray

Carlin Palm

Paste Egg Day."

 

We sing out our rhyme

Counting the weeks

To Easter-Morn rising

 

Some say it is not

Christ we sing about

 

But the Old Earth

Which gave us birth

 

We roll nonetheless 

And all shout

As they go leaping

 

Then we jarp 

9.

Her hill-breast flesh

Glows above corn ripening

 

She oversees the harvest

Coming soon

 

We play around

Climbing the 'Rocky' 

Or rolling down

Tender grass slopes

To a strip of strong blue sea

Smudged with chimney smoke

 

Colliers sailing off

Leaving her emptying mines behind

 

10.

A bouncy tram     

Takes us to the beach

After walking down lovers lane

 

The stream yellow

With colliery waste

 

Her lovers embracing

In bough shade

Bring whispers underhand

As fresh blood begins to rise

 

But we are soon off on the top deck

To eat gritty sandwiches

In a circle and to

Chill our scrotum in the sea

 

11.

A song comes into the ear

From somewhere about

 

It is marra music that gets louder

Brass voices tenor and bass

Fill the morning

 

And its beat bloods the heart

Of many following

 

She is singing in long streets

Calling all like the piper

 

But not to be lost

 

It is a way of arms linking

A dance of life

 

12.

I didn't know her then

As I went to the front

To be saved

 

The preacher had called 

To us all to come forward

 

My mother and grandmother

Treated me like a saint

At suppertime

 

But she calls in a different way

Just look at her Lammas breasts

And vulva dene

Bairns playthere often

It is a different passion

 

I still have the certificate