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13 May 2024

Posted by Tabby Hayward

Tinklebobs and Bedraggled Angles

This week, we were inspired by poems written in dialect. We started by coming up with poetic definitions for old Dorset dialect words - from tinklebobs (real definition - icicles) to bedraggled angels (real definition - wet sheep!) The group came up with even more inventive and fitting definitions, including these from Lawrence...

Auverlook - Take someone, or something, for granted.

Bedraggled angels - the truth of a story, or the truth about a person, being revealed, with all

hyperbole and falsehood stripped away.

Chawly-whist - A dancer or performer in a pub or other venues selling food and drink.

Crousty - Someone set in their ways, unwilling to compromise or change.

And these from Aurora (which she even developed into a passage of prose!)

 Auverlook: A Cliff, especially over one’s farm.

 Bedraggled Angels: Scarecrows.

 Chawly-Whist: An exclamation of surprise.

 Crousty: Dirty, unclean.

 Drawlacheten: Continuous monologue with no chance for

 Drisk: A windmill’s grinding wheel.

 Ether-Hunger: Lusting, seeking sexual gratification.

 Farterous: Old and dim-witted.

 Fleeceful: Nave.

 Lamploo: Encircle, trap by a rope or similar object.

 Mazzerdy: An exclamation of happiness.

 Tinklebobs: Breasts.

 Torrididdle: Nothing, squat.

 Undercreepen: To sneak, especially away from someone.

 Vlittermouse: Someone that is scared.

Example: Chawly-Whist! My neighbour ’as a crousty number of
bedraggled angels on ’is auverlook, and it’s a drawlacheten when ’e talks about
them and ’is drisk. I came down with a terrible ether-hunger after ’e let me go
and saw a set of farterous crones, an’ with ’em were a set of fleeceful maids,
so lamploo ’em I did. Mazzerdy! Their tinklebobs were bleedin’ sparklin’, but I
came away with torrididdle. Their daddies and brothers came along and I ’ad to
undercreepen my way out of there, an’ I spent the night like a vlittermouse.

Next, we read some poems by P J Harvey from her book 'Orlam' (which uses the Dorset dialect so richly and beautifully) and from Liz Berry's collection 'The Home Child' which uses the Black Country dialect to build its gorgeous, deeply emotional narrative. Both books of poems follow the stories of young girls growing up and their changing relationships to very different places and homes.

Inspired by this, the writers crafted poems in dialects of their choosing - some Dorset, some Black Country, and others too - like Tess' 'Spanglish' below...


“I can say jonestli very well”, 

They all can. 

We hear esliperi eseals eslide down eslides all day Every day, it’s nothing especial 

They teach me to take litel esteps tu the bol I will remember for years to come. 

Miiiss I finish! 

A chorus of Spanglish thunders round the class We play pilla pilla in patio

Fútbol or pibote 

English hackles through these loud mouthed students A little more fluent every year. 

This language that develops 

A culture hung between two worlds, 

It is mines 

It is his (never hers, always his) 

In my eschool, it is ours.

Here is Lawrence's brilliant Dorset poem...

Chalky Views:

Across my scene all is Drisk

Drisk seeping through bone

as I watch Bedraggled Angles

their tinklebob-community hovers

just out of reach, impressions etched

across ayer, and avor Time, 

who whistles on by regardless.

Her cold hand A-stout behind my eyes,

lingering still, a reminder I may only barry,

that I, stood here, backside of the road

am only a guest, even as I bibber

Time, she will have her bit-an'-crimp in the end. 

(Definitions of all dialect words can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_Dorset_dialect_words )

And Christopher's very atmospheric Dorset dialect poem:


by C.S.Thomson

Avore the sun fell inneath elder and aish,
A darkling tuen fluttered through the archet.
A twanketen sound, as tree-tears vall,
I miss one as thick as inkleweavers,
A hustle thik cuts me as a reaphook, a biver
Of a rum sweven, bewitched by Thieves
That draws evemen near.



Before the sun fell behind elder and ash trees,
A blackbird’s tune fluttered through the orchard,
A sad, melancholic sound, as leaves fall,
I miss a dear, close friend,
Wind’s moan that cuts me as a sickle, a shiver,
Of a queer dream, bewitched by Fairies,
That draws evening near.

And Aurora's beautifully crafted and emotive poem:

Among the Milk Flowers

- by Aurora

I tremble in amongst the frog-hoppers,

green like the stalks of kings’ giltcups;

too thin to wade through the milk flowers

while the chirruping gets me zet up.


These fields are yoller, stringed with wevvets

spun by their wevvet queens, asses bloated,

and my steps are ash candles. I shouted, I spet

like my father taught me, and I waited.


He thinks I’m ramshacklum, I can’t rale

cause I’m a-feared of these mingdoms where

strings are strung in concert, proper veäry tale

like. But no Prince Charming. I’m a soonere.


Pale as one, anyway. I want him to come

and pick me up, in his arms like a chilver,

deliver me away past these mothers from
their snapping hwomes. I am oone. I shiver.


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