Northumbrian Language Society

Prose and Poetry

There are hundreds of works which could be in this section.  If you have a favourite, or an item you think should be listed, please let us know in the comments panel below.  Thanks.

Prose

You may already have seen items scattered around the website.   Here is another sample

The Hoose on the Hill

Meery, dye mind the owld days afore aal this forestry took ower the place? It wis whyles hard but man wuh hed same gud times. Ah loved yon nights ower it The Hope playing cardes we Matty an Jean, in aalwis sic a nice supper efter. Trudgin ower the hill in aal whethers, but it pit mony alangwinters night in. Dy’e mind the night they wor ower here ind Cissy in Joe landeed. Why it wasn’t lang afore Joe hed the pipes genin ind Matty wasn’t i bad hand wi the fiddle ithor. Aal ah meniged was two or three songs. The Road Tae Dundee wis aalwis yin i me favorits. Things livind up even mare when ye got the whisky bottle oot. Matty wis sittin in the comer yonder, the amount i drink he got through, ah thout he’ll nivor git up agin, but man he still played on. If eh mind right wuh wor aal abit late arood the sheep next morning.

It wis nice seein the bairns growh up here, ind sad te see them leave but ahm pleased they’ve got gud jobs away. Times change Meery. The was nowt left here for them. The hills aal planteed noo, just trees insteed o sheep. Nivor mind wuh’ve still got the use i the hoose ind yin or two acres that the didn’t plant. It wis gud i yon coonsil man tae offer is a hoose in the village, but a div’nt naa if ah cud settle doon yonder, ower much noise. Its peaceful here. Lets hev a cuppa tea.

(c) Terry Common

(In the 50s and 60s the Forestry Commission planted vast areas of North Northumberland changing the hill shepherds way of life, in many cases for ever.)

 

Dialect Poets

Oliver Heslop (writing as Harry Holdane)
Heslop used a pseudonym when producing less ‘learned’ work, but this little work contains not only dialect prose, but also a treatise on the words and their origin as well.
Geordy’s Last, (Newcastle Folk-speech)

Robert Allen
Robbie was born in Bellingham in 1920, and studied Greek and Latin poetry at school.  Whilst his standard English was impeccable, he retained his natural language, and when he turned to writing poetry in the 1970’s it was a return to the language of his upbringing.
He can be heard reading his own work in the CD set available in the shop.

Fred Reed
Fred was the first Vice-President, and a Fellow of the society, known internationally as a dialect poet.  
Cumen and Gannin. New Poems In the Northumbrian Dialect,

The Northumborman: The Dialect Poetry of Fred Reed
Northumbrian miscellany: 80 dialect poems  

One of Freds poems is here.
Whitley Bay – poem by Fred Reed
You can buy a CD here

 

Henry Brewis (1932–2000)
Henry was a Northumberland born farmer, who developed his artistic talents into a successful side-line as a writer of tales, poems, artist, cartoonist and illustrator.  His wide output did much to popularise the dialect.
Chewing the Cud
Clarts and Calamities
Don’t laugh till he’s out of sight
Funnywayt’mekalivin
Last Round-Up
Goodbye Clartiehole
Harvey and the Handy Lads
Night Shift
A Stroll in the Country
Little Bit O’Nonsense About Sheep 

 

Songs

One of the bastions of Northumbrian speech is, of course, songs.  The genre is rich in dialect, and the interconnection between the rhythm of a song and the lilt of a good dialect speaker can be instrumental.  Roly Veitch maintains a list here.