‘Mammy’s Mucky Pool’ © Joe Canning 2017. All Rights Reserved

‘Mammy’s Mucky Pool’
© Joe Canning 2017. All Rights Reserved

Joe Canning ‘A look at Ireland in verse’

The muck pool in our garden was our playground.
We wallowed, splashed and skidded after school.
Ma would scold us for not wearing wellies,
And spoiling shoes we wore to National school
Da would mutter– “Stop yer scowling, woman;
Cant ye see they’re young and happy growing weans?
A bit of dirt that’s clean will never harm them,
Leave them be to play their childish games”.

The clothes line in our yard was never empty,
There was washing hanging from the kitchen door,
Another clothes line hung down from the ceiling,
It went up and down when mammy pulled the rope.
Secured it was by a long screw in the door frame,
The hot range in the corner dried them all,
And if the weather became too inclement,
We had another clothes line hanging in the hall.

That old tin bath of Ma’s had many uses,
She steeped our mucky jumpers, shirts and ‘breeks’
Washed nine of us in it on Saturday evenings,
So we could go to church on Sunday’s clean.
Me folks would take their turns when we’d been seen to,
There was always fresh clean water on the boil,
Ma sent us all to bed as we protested,
We had bread and jam and butter to enjoy.

If we were good on Sundays, we’d get sixpence,
We’d walk three miles to see a picture show,
Kicking tins and pebbles on the roadway,
We got clipped around the ears for throwing stones,
When Da got steady work he built a bathroom,
We were posh we thought, he built a scullery too,
And for years me Mammy treasured that old tin bath,
As we wallowed, splashed and skidded after school.

Eventually Da got Ma a twin tub washer,
Her days of drudgery were somewhat relieved,
Her labouring hands no longer used the washboard
That hung behind our scullery door for years.
This photograph I found brought back old memories,
Thoughts of happy times – and hard times too,
And mammy’s life of course got so much better,
When we stayed away from Mammy’s mucky pool.

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