The Rabbit of St Mary’s in’t Baum.
Just over a hunnert year ago,
a site were sought fer a church.
T one as they ad weren’t up ter scratch,
they wanted one as they could match
Agen t cathedral i Manchester,
or at least agen St Chads.
So, they chose a site i Rochda town,
twixt river ant Lordburn stream,
on a spare bit o green by ‘t’ graveyard
and ‘t’other owd church in between.
They thowt as this were a gradely idea,
an set to wi’t diggers and shovels,
till they cum ter southern side’o’ t church
and boss said ‘lads, we’re in trouble.
Auld reverend Shone, he’s bin round ere,
and e sez, we’re disturbin th graves.
E sez we.re disturbin t childer
who’ve slept here for mony a year.
E sez we’ve to stop. Put an end ter’t job,
Or, for our souls we will fear.
So they put down their shovels, they put down the spades,
an went off ter’t pub for a pint,
And the reverend rubbed his ot little ands
and did a quick dance of delight.
Cos he knew a secret, that no one else knew
of a mysterious, wonderful herb.
That grew on’t graves of the childer there
That cured all th’ ills that man had to bear
And whats more, it cleaned up yer soul.
An he thought, if they budge church up a bit,
as they must, if threatened with hell.
I’ll get the new church, and I’ll keep the balm,
serve God and mammon as well.
But no-body ever knows everything
Some- times we may think that we might.
He didn’t know of the rabbit
That wandered the green in the night
He’d belonged to one of t childer
And when ‘t’ child had been laid to his rest,
He swore he would alers protect ‘im
And the green where his playmates slept.
With the aid of the magic mysterious balm
He had served them for mony a year
but when he heard of the reverends plans,
he was filled wi a terrible fear.
An his fur went white, his teeth grew strong,
he was filled with resolution,
and as the moon rose cold and clear,
sed taa raa ter’t sun till ‘t morning.
He started to eat the mysterious herb
and carried on till dawning.
Though his belly ached, and his teeth wore down,
he chewed and chewed right through to the ground
and the balm was all gone in the morning.
Well, the Reverend Shone he swore and he cursed.
He shook his fists and ranted,
his heart was filled with unholy rage till
it burst with a terrible mighty pain
and his life on this earth it was ended.
So, church wer built and ‘t’ graves were saved,
it goes under name of St Mary’s
and if you’re about on a moonlight night,
you might see a rabbit that pauses in flight,
behind him a man in a long black cloak
oo’ sounds just like he’s choking.
They run through the wall and the market stalls
passed where they used to sell fish,
left to the place, where the theatre stood
then right again back to St Mary’s.
© Eileen Earnshaw 21st April 2020