tha may ask thee sen/At the Finish

1) tha may ask thee sen

what happened
to Deceiver an Screamer
an this mead

well, ‘nother day
they teks giant Gilling art to sea
drahn him fo’ sport.
Gilling’s wife weep galls them
so much as she passes
under doorway
o’ their house they drop
a millstone on her.

Gilling’s son, called ‘Eavy wi Sup
learns o’ his father’s murder,
he seizes Screamer an Deceiver
at low tide, teks ’em art to a reef
soon t’ be covered by wet wash
o’ waves. Two lads say “Don’t let
us die ‘Eavy. Please don’t.”
‘Eavy wi Sup says “al let thee go
if tha gis me tha mead”

he hides mead
in a cave unna a mountain
called Throbbin’ Rock
an asks his daughter
called ‘Tha wanna scrap’
who agrees to look atta it.

****

Nar One Eye, chief of big lads,
fidgets an is not bakkards
at coming forard
in his want o’ wisdom,
is reight naffed off
wi rich mead hoarded
away unna a mountain.

He wants it fo’ himsen
an other’s as is worth it.

One Eye disguises himsen as a refugee
farmhand an goes to farm
of ‘Eavy wi Sup’s brother, Baugi,

an finds nine servants mowing hay.
He teks art a whetstone
from unna his cloak,
offers to sharpen their scythes.

They eagerly agree and attawards
marvel how well their scythes
cut hay. They all say
“That’s finest whetstone
I’ve ever seen.
‘ow much tha want for it?”

One Eye answers “Aye, I’ll
part wi it,
but,” he warns them,
“you must pay a high price.”

He throws stone into the air
an in their scramble
keen blades an scuffle
kill each other.

One Eye then goes to Baugi’s door
says “Me names Worker o’ Misfortune
an as yon nine farmhands
a yourn av sought
to so basely kill
each other over
a dispute in field
am offerin’ to do
work on all nine.”

“As reward, I’ll Av
a sip of ‘Eavy wi Sup’s mead.”

Baugi says ” I’ve no control of mead
and me bro guards it jealously,
but if tha can perform work o’ nine
men reight
I’ll help thee get some sup on it.”

Come end o’ growin’ season,
One Eye has done work ont nine
an goes wi Baugi to see
Eavy wi Drink abaht sup o’ mead.

‘Eavy wi Drink says “Tha
offered what’s mine, Baugi
wi art a word to me.
No, he cannot av a sup.
The bleeding gall o’ ye!”

One Eye, says ‘Abaht r bargain?
“If he won’t agree to yourn
bargain wi me then
you’ve got to gi us leg up t’
get inta Tha Wanna Scrap’s cave
int Throbbin’ Rock.”
“I’m ashamed o’ ma bloody bro.
Aye, I’ll help thee. It’s least…”

Baugi leads way to nearest part
o’ t’ cave.  One Eye teks an auger
from unna his cloak, hands it
to Baugi for him to drill

through t’ rock. Baugi does so,
and after much towin’ announces
“T ‘ oyle’s finished.”

One Eye blows inta t’oyle
an rock-dust blows back
inta his kite,
he knows Baugi lies.

One Eye says “Tha should finish
what tha start.”  So giant drills agin.
Baugi proclaims ” T’oyle’s done”

One Eye blows into t’ oyle.
There’s no blowback. One Eye
says “Cheers mate.” changes
inta a snake an slithers through t’oyle.

Baugi stabs auger atta him
but One Eye meks it through
Once inside, he changes agin
inta a young man an meks his way

to where Tha Wanna Scrap  guards
mead. He wins her favour an she says

“If tha’ll sleep with us fo’ three neets
in Throbbin’ Rock
I’ll  gi ye three sips o’ us mead. “
Atta’d third night, One Eye goes
t’ mead, which is in three vats, drinks contents on all in single sup.

He changes into an eagle,
flies off toward big lads oam
with his prize in his throat.

‘Eavy Wi Drink discovers One Eyes’
trick changes to an eagle an all an giz chase

When the big lads see boss
ont way wi ‘Eavy Wi Drink close
behind they set art several
vessels at edge o’ t’ oam.

One Eye reaches oam
afore ‘Eavy can catch him,
and ‘Eavy backs off.

As One Eye comes to t’ vessels
he throws up mead into them
like a bird to its bairns.

Few drops fall from his beak to us
here. These drops are t’ source on all
skills a bad an mediocre poets an scholars.

True poets and scholars
One Eye giz his mead
hissen and wi care.

And as you sup
last dregs o’ this small sun
and raise your jar
to yon honey full moon
may your dreams be stirred
by Moil’s blood of nous
the sacrifice of innocents
and guile o’ One Eye

Raise thee jars nar, a final
as tha needs a kip.
Time t’ get some
shuteye an fast on.

******

[Received English version]

2) At the finish 

of the growing season,
One Eye has done the work of nine farmhands
and accompanies Baugi the fieldowner to see
‘Eavy wi Drink’ Baugi’s brother about the sup of mead he was promised for doing the work.

‘Eavy wi Drink says to Baugi “You
offered what’s mine, Baugi
without a word with me.
No, he cannot have what you promised.
You have some gall coming here!”

One Eye, says to Baugi “About our bargain?
If he won’t agree to your
bargain with then
you’ve got to give us some help
get into Tha Wanna Scrap’s cave in Throbbing Rock.”
“I’m ashamed of my bloody brother.
Yes I’ll help you. It’s least…”

Baugi leads the way to the nearest part
of the cave. One Eye removes an auger
from under his cloak, and hands it
to Baugi for him to drill

through the rock. Baugi does so,
and after much drilling announces
“The holes finished.”

One Eye blows into the hole
and rock-dust blows back
into his face, and so
he knows Baugi lies.

One Eye says “You should finish
what you start.” So Baugi drills again
until he proclaims “The holes done”

One Eye blows into the hole.
There’s no blowback. One Eye
says “Cheers mate.” changes
into a snake and slithers through the hole.

Baugi stabs the auger after him
but One Eye makes it through.
Once inside, he changes again
into a young man an makes his way

to where Tha Wanna Scrap  guards
her mead. He wins her favour and she says

“If you will sleep with me for three nights
in Throbbing Rock
I’ll give yoy three sips of my mead. “
After the third night, One Eye goes
to the mead, which is in three vats,
and drinks the contents in one gulp.

He changes into an eagle,
flies off toward big lads home
with his prize in his throat.

‘Eavy Wi Drink discovers One Eyes’
trick changes to an eagle as well and gives chase

When the big lads see their boss
on the way with ‘Eavy Wi Drink close
behind they set out several
vessels at edge of their home.

One Eye reaches home
before ‘Eavy can catch him,
and ‘Eavy backs off.

As One Eye comes to the vessels
he throws up mead into them
like a mother bird to its chicks

A few drops fall from his beak to us
here. These drops are the source of all
the abilities of bad an mediocre poets
and scholars.

True poets and scholars
One Eye hives his mead
himself and with care.

And as you sup
last dregs of this small sun
and raise your jar
to the honey full moon
may your dreams be stirred
by Moil’s blood of knowledge
the sacrifice of innocents
and guile of One Eye

Raise thee glass now, one
final time before we sleep
Time to close our eyes
and wander in darkness.

[Paul Brookes was shop assistant, security guard, postman, administrative assistant, lecturer, poetry performer, with “Rats for Love”, his work included in Rats for Love: The Book (Bristol Broadsides, 1990). First chapbook was The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley (Dearne Community Arts, 1993). Read his work on BBC Radio Bristol, had a creative writing workshop for sixth formers broadcast on BBC Radio Five Live. Recently published in Clear Poetry, Nixes Mate, Live Nude Poems, The Bezine, The Bees Are Dead, and others. Forthcoming this summer illustrated chapbook The Spermbot Blues published by OpPRESS, and tentatively in autumn The Headpoke illustrated chapbook published by Alien Buddha Press.]

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