Ode to the brogue- the ginnel of love.

When I grew up in days of old

And the sun set over yonder

Old folks spoke in northern brogue

It made me stop and ponder.


In the backstreets of old Rossendale

Where buxom lasses were bonny

We spoke with a local dialect

And people say we talked funny.


In claggy weather we had council pop

Winter woollies when feeling nesh

Mam put our mittens on a string

It made us kids look gormless


If we mithered we were clattered

Told to keep our cakeholes shut

They chided us umpteen times

To keep the back door shut.


We played hide and seek in ginnels

Cleared snow from neighbours paths

Skriked our way through family traumas

Sweated cobs when’t’sun were’t crackin flags.


We spoke a different language

Didn’t give tuppence for what you thought

We’d go t’foot of our stairs

If anyone sold us short.


Fresh air and love we lived off,

With Church socials on a Saturday night

We might have not talked proper

But we treated each other right.


© Alison Jean Hankinson

Image Eden Methodist Walking Day- C 1972

Image Eden Methodist Walking Day- C 1979

I am linking this for the last OLN at d’Verse.
















Brogue: a way of speaking Englishespecially that of Irish or Scottishspeakers:

Author: alisonhankinson

Walking tall whenever I can.

37 thoughts on “Ode to the brogue- the ginnel of love.”

  1. I loved your poem, and I have a request. I am a sixth grade English teacher in Colorado in the US, when I start working on poetry, may I share your poem with them? They would love it. Plus, it would be so much fun to study your word choices. Looking forward to your reponse.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What a thorough joy was your poem! I loved the colloquialisms and the sort of sassiness of it. Blessings on you and yours this holiday season!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Brassy, sassy and oh so colloquial; and yet it is technically in English and not Greek. The poem was thick as porridge, nostalgic as a stack of yearbooks–both fun to read aloud and silently; smile.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Those were important lessons of our past days ~ Everyone should be treated right ~ Love how your poem sounds when read aloud ~ Happy Holidays to you and your family!!!! Thanks for being part of our community ~

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Such a beautiful glimpse into your childhood. I love all the details which made your poem very visible for me. And yes, the most important thing is to treat others in a good way

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this poem, Alison! Linguistics was one of my subjects at university and I love dialect words. I love those bonny, buxom lasses, the claggy weather and remember mittens on string 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Love this Alison – it brought back memories…
    Yorkshire born but moved darn sarf aged five, then up to Newcastle aged eleven, but with Yorkshire parents, dialect entered my speech and caused confusion in my schooldays. Also the Yorkshire abbreviation of couldn’t caused problems…
    Merry Christmas!
    Anna :o]

    Liked by 1 person

      1. t’int’in’tin made me chortle – a lot!
        The then – maybe still now – Yorkshire term of endearment ‘luv’ was much part of my dads speech. When we moved to Newcastle he made an honest mistake of calling the milkman ‘luv’ who looked ready to take a swing at him!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Some enjoyable phrases that stood out for me of the local dialect: “buxom lasses were bonny” and “Didn’t give tuppence for what you thought” and “Told to keep our cakeholes shut”.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love this poem. It’s so relatable. Lots of life lessons..family, respect, kindness to neighbors. And when you were told to ” keep your cakehole shut” , you did!! Merry Christmas to you.😖

    Liked by 1 person

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