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JOE'S PICTURE
by
Mike Rhodes

The rain had just passed and the ground had a sheen,
All t' traders perked up now the shoppers were keen,
Tha could buy all and sundry in this market place,
Since t' middle ages by Mayoral good grace.

Pot Joe were the king, his patter were droll,
He pranced on the stage for his big starring role,
A right dapper dresser, white quiffed on t' top
Raked his locks careful and oft patted his mop.

A right vain stall trader of uncertain age,
With a big picture poster of Joe on the stage,
He sold 'seconds' crockery as everyone knew,
Tea pots and cake stands to mention but few.

"How much for these Minton?" he gave crowd a wink,
Tha darn't put tha hand up tha darn't even blink.
"Come on you lot they'll all be gone quick,
Tha'll have to get weavin' an' take tha own pick.

Who'll offer a fiver, who'll make a bid
I'm in a good mood so give us two quid...
Half a nicker should do, it's me that tha l rob,
First three wit t' hands up it's thine for a four bob!"

"How much the picture?" a voice heard to hail,
Pot Joe quick retorted, "Now that's not for sale,
I've here a posh tea set, solid and sound,
Just right for when t'vicar decides to call round."

"How much the picture?... just give me a price!"
"Not you again mate, I'll give some advice...
I'm selling all t' crockery that here tha can see,
But picture I'm keeping... that picture of me."

Joe looks at a lass quite middling in age,
He smiles at her sweetly from up on his stage.
"Lancashire lass?" he enquires of t' owd girl,
She blushes and nods, her mind in a whirl.

"Two things from t' county that I think are swimmin,
Rugby leagues one... t' others beauty o' women!"
Deeper t' lass blushed, her day up was made...
Then fell back to Earth when asked position she played.

"Sell me the picture!" a strong voice was heard,
"Not you again, mester, this is getting absurd."
It was very off putting this voice of a crank,
Then it clicked with Joe's brain it was the voice of a Yank.

Joe shouted out loud, "You from t'state side?"
"Damn right there, fella!" the Yank answered with pride
"Three problems with Yanks..." Joe called out clear
"Over paid, over sexed..." then loudly, "OVER HERE!"

The Yank stood there smiling, its all he could do.
Joe commenced selling as the crowd quickly grew.
"Ten bob for these dishes they'll never stain..."
"The picture... the picture..." the Yank called again.

Joe tried to ignore t' Yank and seemed in a flap,
"Five bob did I say?" but it were only a trap.
Six hands shot up quickly, missing Joe's play,
"The picture... the picture, what do you say?"

Now Joe were right vexed at this constant tirade
The voice calling picture causing missed trade
Joe chucked down t dishes and stormed close to t crowd
Stared at the Yank with the voice that were loud

"I'm not one for bother but if scrappin need be,
I'Il tan thee hide smartly for all t' folk here to see...
Yon pictures been with me sin' starting this trade,
And with me it stays... till they chuck o'er last spade.

Tha can swank to t' market and demand owt with tha dosh,
For sale it isn't... no matter how posh.
So tek they sen 'ome get beck o'er pond,
Tha came t' war late, so we've never been fond."

"Not sure what your saying sounds friendly to me,
Your accents real cute but is a mystery you see.
I just want the picture, I'll pay any price,
I'll take it back home... and fill it with ice."

Joe's gob dropped open in fly catching mode,
Yank pointed directly at a choice piece of Spode.
Joe then knew t' problem... he'd been a right mug,
So it wasn't the poster... as t' Yank wanted t' jug

Joe gave Yank jug, "Tha can have it for nowt!"
"How mutch is that then?" the Yank started to spout.
"Call it good will, to a far distant shore.
After all t' Yanks helped us win war!"

Two different items that seemed quite familiar,
Each different spellings, yet so very similar,
Two different countries each without shame,
Bonded by t' language but divided by t' same.

 
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