You Can’t Take The Man out of The Street

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Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

Poems about Blantyre

You Can’t Take The Man out of The Street

Logan Street, Blantyre

As long as I live I’ll never forget,
The day we were given a House to Let,
From Dixon’s Rows on a horse and dray,
The Cornfield flittin’ made it’s way,
Turning right at the shop of Annie C. Sweet,
Made it’s way up Logan Street.

The Street wherein the house,
Is named after John Clark Forrest’s spouse,
Janet Logan who died in her sleep,
Is immortalised by Logan Street,
The original families who came here,
Are in memory forever clear,
Their names keep running thru’ my brain,
Let’s see if I can remember them…

Dowdells, Cavanagh, Thomson, McSkimming;
Burt, Kelly, Challels, Duffy;
McManus, McCorkindale, Bonnar, Carrol;
Murray, Neil, McInally, Corrigan;
Stoney, Rae, Wilson, Lynch;
Meechan, Paterson, Bailey, Millar;
Donnelly, Hailes, McGuire, Holmes;
McSorley, Torrance, Aitken, Ward;
Brown, Hill, Fullerton, Rodgers;
Middleton, Gibson, Cunning, Fitzpatrick;
Urbanski, Lennon, Reynolds, McInally;
Meechan, Tonner, Slaven, Cassidy;
Duffy, Marshall, McKenzie, Bordon;
Bailey, Chernouski, Waugh, Cornfield;
Boyd, McKee, Collins, Anderson;
Gibson, McGraw, Starrs, Taggart;
Marshall, Scullion, Rae, Duffy;
Paton, Cleary, Allan, Smith;
Hutcheson, McAlinden, Nicol, Montague;
Hoolahan, Scott, Nevins, Young.

Children with these family names,
Would meet in the street to play at games,
Lassies played Beds, Ropes and Ball,
Boys played Glessies, Headers and Football,
Run-sheep-run and Free the Den,
Nurkey-nurkey and Kick the Can,
Film-Star-Names, a Step for a Hint,
Hop-all-over, and your knees were skint.

If play had started, and you wanted a game,
You always asked for a Cock or a Hen,
The games we played one after another,
Seemed to last forever,
We played all day till we heard the shout,
Come in, come in, your tea is out,
Best of all was a great big slide,
At the top of the Street where nobody styed.

Then we came out when it was night,
And sat below the Lampost’s light,
Telling stories that made us scared,
To go home in the dark, cos we were feart,
We all held hands with one another,
Making sure we went home together,
Then off to bed to dream our dreams,
And rise tomorrow and play our games.

The street was busy in those far off days,
People from all over came our way,
Blin’ Watty, Cheap Johnny, the Old Co-op van,
Alex Kerr the shilling-a-week man,
Wee Don the Tally the Ice Cream man,
Johnny the Darkie with case in hand,
Jenny the Pack, the Provident man,
Mr John Graham the Preacher man.

Wullie Tonner mouthpiece and clappers,
Playing tunes that drove us crackers,
A Blin’ man who sang like a Linnet,
He sent his pal round with the Bunnet,
Strooling Minstrells from all the Airts,
Men selling fruit from open Cairts,
They all sang for their daily bread,
Any song for a Penny could be heard.

Every Saturday at the ‘Doocot’,
For entertainment you couldnae whack it,
Robin of Sherwood was Errol Flynn,
Chief Crazy Horse was Anthony Quinn,
Johnny Mack Brown shot all the bad yins,
Especially if they were Red Indians,
Whatever the picture we all made a din,
A Penny or Jeely Jar got you in.

I went back down there the other day,
Jist to let my memory stray,
Taking some photos here and there,
When all at once I was aware,
Of some wee boys following me,
Jist like the boys of Logan Street dae,
Looking and at the same time saying,
“Haw Mister whit are ye dae in.”

Cheeky wee faces looked up at me,
Among them the boy that once was me,
My pals and I were standing there,
Faces from the past some no longer here,
We asked the same as these wee boys do,
“Haw Mister who ur you?”
Long years may pass, yet still remain,
No change at all, it’s jist the same.

This then was Logan Street,
A magic place where weans could meet,
Go up the Calder or down the Clyde,
Or slide down the Bing on your backside,
It didn’t matter what we done,
We always seemed to have such fun,
Childhood days within the scheme,
Memories Golden and Evergreen…

James Cornfield 2005

~~~

If you have any Poems… Send them to Bill

Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

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