It’s Hard To Ceawr I’ Th’ Chimney Nook Samuel Laycock
Title:It's Hard to Ceawr i' th' Chimney Nook
Publication:Manchester University Press
This poem of eight octet stanzas is written in the traditional ballad metre with alternating iambic lines of broadly eight and six syllables. Apart from the odd strictly dialect term (‘welly’ [nearly], ‘twothry’ [two or three]) the spelling is quite easy to follow and the flow of the piece is smooth. The poem is written from an interesting perspective in that it is in the voice of one of the children of the family, but we are given no real indication of the gender or age of the speaker.
One of the notable social details is how this piece reveals the extent to which all elements of the neighbourhood are affected by the Distress. The mother reports being given disapproving looks at the local shop because she cannot pay her bills but the speaker suggests that the shopkeepers cannot be blamed for this attitude as they also need to pay their own bills. This is a useful context for the poem ‘A Droylsden Shopkeeper’s Lament’. This is one of eleven Cotton Famine poems which feature in Brian Hollingworth’s Songs of the People: Lancashire dialect poetry of the industrial revolution (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1977), the most significant anthology of such works during the twentieth century.