“Dainty footwear turns a young lady into an altogether more beautiful creature…”

(Etiquette for Ladies - Eliza Sell)


Trottering down the oss road in me new hooves

I’m farmyardy sweet, fresh from the filth

of straw an' swill, the trembly-leg sniff

of the slaughter wagon. A guzzler, gilt.

Trollopy an' canting. Root yer tongue beneath

me frock an' gulp the brute stench of the sty.


I’ve stopped denying meself: nibbling

grateful as a pet on baby-leaves, afeared

of the glutton of belly an' rump. I’ve sunk

an when lads howd out opples on soft city palms

I guttle an' spit, for I need a mon

wi’ a body like a trough of tumbly slop

to bury me snout in.


All them saft years of hiding at ‘ome

then prancing like a pony for some sod to bridle

an' shove down the pit, shying away

from ‘is dirty fists. All them nights,

me eyes rolling white in the dark when the sow I am

was squailin an' biting to gerrout.


Now no mon dare scupper me,

nor fancy-arse bints, for I’ve kicked the fence

an' I’m riling on me back in the muck,

out of me mind wi’ grunting pleasure,

trotters pointing to the heavens like chimdey pots,

sticking V to the cockerel

prissy an' crowing on ‘is high church spire.



Black Country/Standard

oss road  / street

gilt /sow

canting  / cheeky or saucy                     




squalin/squealing or crying

bints/derogatory slang for girls

© Liz Berry