. Learnin’ Letters I wanna learn me letters Ma, I wanna learn ta read. If I can learn me letters Ma, We’ll ‘ave the things we need. An’ when I grows ta be a man, I’ll be a proper gent, Discussin’ trade ‘n’ politics… I’ll knows what all they meant. I wanna education Ma, Ta prosper an’ ta shine. Ta be respected by me peers An’ dress in suits so fine. I’ll buy yer pretty dresses Ma, An’ lip rouge an’ cologne, Yer’ll not be wantin’ through the years, I’ll take care of me own. I wanna ‘ave a future Ma, I wanna decent job. Earnin’ decent wages, Not a slave fer a few bob. Ta see the daylight every day, Ta feel the warm sunshine. Oh please don’t shake yer ‘ead Ma... Don’t send me down the mine. Our Jimmy doesn’t mind Ma, ‘e says its fine wif ‘im. ‘e tells me what it’s like Ma, ‘e says it’s pretty grim. ‘e says ‘e’ll keep things goin’ Until Pa’s back on ‘is feet, Aw, come on Ma, I begs yer… Learnin’ letters would be sweet! . . Naughty Boy Me mammy’s gonna catch yer Clyde And when she does, yer’ll see, She’ll whip yer naughty little hide Across ‘er waitin’ knee. And when she’s done, me pappy’s Gonna make yer work fer nowt, An’ no use fer ta cry ‘n’ whine, No use fer yer ta pout. Yer shouldna’ gone an’ done it Clyde, Yer shouldna’ kicked the ball. Yer knows fer sure yer shouldna’ kicked Against the parlor wall. Yer brains is in yer britches Clyde, Yer ‘ead is filled wi’ rubble, Our Angus double-dared yer Just ta getcha inta trouble. The parlor winda’s ugly now, Me mammy hates the board. But it’ll ‘ave ta do because It’s all’s we can afford. Which means I’ll never get That brand new bike when I turn seven, Yer shouldna’ aughta’ done it Clyde, Yer’ll nae get inta Heaven! . . Norma Pain was born in Liverpool, England and now lives in Parksville, British Columbia, Canada. Thirty of Norma’s poems were published by Dana Literary Society, between 2004 and 2007 and she was twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize by that same on-line poetry site. She self-published a book of rhyme in 2000 called Bulging Assets.