Saturday, 20 February 2016

Talking Funny

Some coincidence, given this week's theme of dialects, that we have just been paying our last respects to Stanley Holgate, local Lancashire dialect poet, who died earlier in February in his eightieth year.

Affectionately known as Stan the Man (or 'Stanza Man' if you read the Blackpool Gazette), Stanley Holgate only began writing poetry in 2011 after the death of his wife Marlene. They had been together for over fifty years. Although he had a large extended family and was never on his own, he said there was a profound sense of loneliness in the aftermath of Marlene's passing and he just took to writing as a solace. "A poem appeared and then another and it progressed from there."

Stan joined a number of local writers' groups and found himself attending four poetry classes a month. "I can have a poem rattling around in my head and it just keeps me sharp. I just enjoy it so much." In a little over four years he amassed a body of 700 poems, a good number of which were written - and performed - in Lancashire dialect; fascinating for a southerner like me to hear for the first time after my arrival in Blackpool.

He built up a deserved reputation for his poems in local dialect and was invited to join the Lancashire Authors' Association - a whole group of people talking funny and working creatively to keep the unique dialect and idioms of Lancashire's oral tradition alive (much of which, to these outside ears, sounds to be derived from French - not implausible given that the Poultons, local dynasts, arrived with the Norman conquest).

The poem below, which is best read out loud if you can manage it, won Stan the Lancashire Authors' Association Writer of the Year award in 2015.

The lad fared grand as owt. Go Stan!

Somebody What's Special
What sooart a thing is looanliness?
It's not summat tha con touch.
It 'ovvers aw rewnd th'eawse at neet,
Ah wound'd mind so much
If that's weer id ended,
Bud id follas thi like a gooast
An' comes an' sits beside thi
When tha least expects id mooast.

Like when tha'r in a busy street,
Er ridin' on a bus,
Er in a café full a fooak
Id still comes after us.
It's geet nowt to do wi' creawded shops
Aw't faces tha con see.
It's when somebody what's special
Is  no longer theer wi thee.

                                   Stanley Holgate 2014

Thanks for reading. Have a brisk one, S ;-)


Annie Walton said...

A heartfelt thank you Steve for posting this for our dear friend local Poet Stan. I think you said it all.

He will be missed more than he will ever know ..... looking forward to you being part of the night at The Ashley on April 26th to celebrate his life and wordsmithery .... xxxx

Adele said...

I was so happy that Stan's funeral was a celebration of his life. How can you mourn a man who wrote three funny poems about his own demise. A wry wit and a lovely man. The poem won an award. It is beautiful.

Anonymous said...

My uncle Graham happened upon this page and shared it amongst the family. It is lovely and touching to see my Grandpa memorialised in this way.
We all knew how much he loved each and every poetry and writing group he attended, but I don't think any of us realised how loved he was by those that attended alongside him. It became apparent to us at the funeral, with the number of people attending, but also with the true and pure emotion that was evident in every face I saw that day.
I was moved by this outpouring of grief, but also the love and celebration for a man that clearly touched many, many lives.
A man I will forever be grateful to have known.
A man I will forever be proud to call my Grandpa.
Thank you to you all for everything.
Much love