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The 'Backie' Singers ©

Josephine Duthie
Aberdeen, Scotland

Sittin' at the windie
Listnin' tae the soon,
Fae Bizet's opera music
Tae thirties' harvest moon,
Aroon the Cliffs o' Dover
An' up the River Clyde,
Ye'd sail the michty oceans
Aroon yer ane ferside.

They didna come o'er often
They didna bide o'er lang
Ye didna ken their origin
Or far they micht belang
An' only roon the backies
Far tenements wir seen
Wid backie singers gither
Aroon the dryin' greens,
They widna ging tae semi's
Far pickin's wir gye bare,
But fower fleers o' femilies
Paid oot a guid sicht mair.

Mony loons wir hameless
Since fichtin' in the war
Couldna han'le civvy street
Or sae cauld peace at a'.
Some hid lost their marbles
Wi' minds still foo o' cries
Amang the sands o' Normandy
Or in the bleezin' skies.

Sometimes they looked gye hungry
In need o' washin' doon,
Peer lookin' specimens
Nae laces in their shoon.
Ye kent the men wir decent
Jist singin' fer their meat,
Their quality o' livin'
Wid mak ye wint tae greet,
Ye dare nae show them pity
Or they widnae sing at a'
Sae ye opened up yer windie
An' threw doon a bob or twa.

Noo a' days wir modern
Oor times are a' oor ane
We dinna seem tae bither
Wi folks that hiv nae hame,
An' if those wanderin' laddies
Came once again oor way,
Wid we listen tae their singin'
Roon the backies o' today?

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