Going ‘Yan Tan Tether Mether Pip’
for Tony Harrison at 80
and remembering Jake Thackray
Two pear-shaped slouching boulders
have been stood at the gate, it looks like, touching
shoulders… piles of peasant-poor clothes
coating them, layer after layer, squeezed as I
remember and strung up round the middle…
They break apart, with semaphore of
beckoning and brisk ‘Coom-in!’s to the yard.
Word in town was that they were
so old, these sisters – well,
medieval at least – they might
weather winters in goose-grease,
as the hoary tale went in The Old Bull,
knickers and vest stitched into under-seal
(but nobody dared to ask),
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