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THE TOY RED CRANE ©

Tom Barker
Joondalup, Australia

I was born in Lincolnshire,
but not of royal blood.
And when me Dad first saw me,
he said, "Ah'd push 'im back if ah could.

But I survived all his hassles,
and managed to grow to be six.
But he was always grumbling.
"What ah put down, he nicks."

Then Mum went off to see her Mum,
at Newcastle on Tyne.
I got a thick ear from Daddy dear,
because I began to whine.

"Ah want me Mum, me dear old Mum!"
and tears would fall galore.
But Dad went off in a huff
I don't think he could take any more.

A letter came and Sunday went,
but me Mum did not come home.
I thought about packing sandwiches
then like a Gypsy roam.

Another week of misery,
and then the Postman knocked.
I was out in the cornfield
but I had the Postie clocked.

Dad shouted, waving a letter,
"An' it's from yer Mum.
She's comin' 'ome on Sunday!"
I was off like a shot from a gun.

I waltzed around the garden,
pulling up all the weeds.
I could not let me Mum down,
when she had set all those seeds.

Dad said, "Silly begger!
Don't act so bloomin' daft!"
But my Mum had shown me
a little o' gardening craft.

I would hate her to be disappointed,
to come home to no flowers.
When we had had such happy times,
underneath the shady bowers.

Saturday was such a long day,
I thought it would never end.
Dad said, "F'Gawd's sake shut y'whinin'!
Yu drivin' me round the bend!"

The night was long and dreary,
as on my pillow I wept.
"Mum, come home! I miss you!"
Then I finally slept.

I dreamt I was in Heaven,
and such a beautiful sight.
There was my Mum with her Mum,
suddenly I woke in fright.

Over me, my Mum was leaning,
and kissed me on the cheek
"Hello sweetheart. Nice to see you."
but I could hardly speak.

"I thought you were gone forever.
Please don't do it again.
If you do, take me with you."
And the tears fell like rain.

Later there was some unpacking,
and a big cardboard box appeared.
Mum with a grin said, "Guess what's in."
But Dad just stood there and leered.

Mum cut the top off the cardboard,
and pulled back every flap.
Then gently removed lots of hankies
and some cards to play some snap.

I could see the toy getting smaller,
as more clothes were pulled out
But at last something gleaming red I could see,
and I gave a great shout.

It's a crane like they have on the dockside!
There's one on New Holland pier.
"Little begger will 'ave it stripped in five minutes!"
Said my Dad wi' a lopsided leer.

But I took good care of that red crane,
polished it and cleaned out the cab.
Where the little man sat at the levers,
in his cap and overalls drab.

But one night I forgot and left it,
out near the front garden gate.
Some Gypsies went by and took it.
But I don't hold a grudge or hate.

For some lad, even a Gypsy,
like me perhaps would play,
With a red toy crane in a sandpit,
near a caravan on a sunny day.

But clouds drifted in wi' bad tidings,
and Mum read a letter wi' dread.
Then she turned, and with tears, said softly,
"I'm so sorry, but your Grandma is dead."

I always remembered that dream I had,
when I was a little lad.
Of my Mum holding hands with her Mum,
they are together now and I'm glad.

I bet that toy crane got around,
'cos Gypsies always travel.
Now perhaps another small Gypsy lad
is trying the string o' life to unravel.


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