Adele C. Geraghty
|Adele is a Sheffield based writer who works in
collaboration with archaeologist Dr. Phil C. Sidebottom. She is
the winner of the US National Women's History Award for Excellence in
Women's Related Poetry & Essay. Phil is Archaeology Lecturer at The Institute for Lifelong Learning, University of Sheffield. Adele and Phil
have combined their fields of interest to form an interdisciplinary
approach to exploring humanity through time; they pair her contemporary
literature with his photographs of prehistorc and Medieval art and
landscapes. Their work may be seen at
Her poem, 'One Came Back', written in Yorkshire dialect for South
Yorkshire Annual Archaeology Day, is based on the discovery of the long
forgotten training area of The Sheffield City Battalion at Redmires. It is
told from the perspective of a surviving soldier, returning from Sierre,
using Phil's grandfather, John Goodwin, as inspiration. Adele looks
forward to writing more dialect verse and would be very happy to receive
comments and suggestions from her readers.
Adele and Phil are available for presentational speaking and poetic
delivery to any interested groups. They can be contacted at
One Came Back by Adele C. Geraghty
(The Sheffield City Battalion)
Aye! Once t' word wen' out it wur n’ long;
England declared war upon t' Hun.
Nair a month ‘ad passed before wi knew it,
T' Berlin via Corn Exchange', wuz sung.
T' War Office called fur a Battalion
England needed us, wuz all wi 'eard.
Fight, wi would, til t' battle's won,
'n fur England's glory wi volunteered.
Linin' up t' broadcloth n' t' wovens,
a' t' Corn Exchange wi pledged us lives;
five ‘undred from Sheffield in just ‘ours,
packed us things n' lef' t' kids n' wives.
Wur sunday mornin, a rate good day,
'n t' missis wuz quiet a' t' stove;
dint say much as Ar put down us duffel,
give 'er an 'ug 'n showed 'er shi were luved.
A great mam shi wur, 'n blessed,
t' put up wi' t' likes o' me;
a thousand 'n more just like ‘er,
smilin’ fur their men the' knew might dee.
Wi lef' Redmires in t'early mornin’,
'n it rained an 'ard rain, cold 'n bleak.
No posh parade t' mark us goin',
jus' a fas' look back at 'ome between t’ sleet.
Sum wur sure we'd arl be 'ome nex' Chris'mas,
while others furr'ed brows in discontent;
but arl but none knew sum o' us wud dee there,
left under t' sod wur wi'd bin sent.
Ar nivver tho't A'd ivver tread on French sod,
but orders wur that wi would tek Serre.
T' trenches wur a rubble from t' Hun shot
and Ar don’t pretend Ar nivver felt n' fear.
The’ marched us forth at mornin'all in good time,
wi rolled on lark waves before a beach;
fast ‘s one took foothold on t' front line,
t' fire spread a blanket in t' breach.
Ar dunno whar ‘appened a' t' wire,
but no way through lef' most o' rus t' bleed,
marched us straight to ‘ell in only minutes,
downed ‘alf 'o rus before wi did t' deed.
T' Germans picked us uniforms lark feathers,
their bullets robbed t' fledgelin’s o' their flight.
Like a cat ‘ho won't give up t' plaything,
Hun shot t' dead like targets, just fur spite.
Wi left us brothers ‘ung like rags, in tatters,
fell into a trench t' moan n' bleed,
slep' like whelps wi' legs n' arms a tangled;
them that wur still livin' give us 'eat.
Sum ‘ad t' shock and nivver knew no choices,
but wi drew comfort through t' blood n' stench;
’eathered moors n' sweet-skinned women's voices;
Aye! Wi wove dreams o' Sheffield in that trench!
Wi went back t' wives'n Sund'y dinner,
met agin at t' Olde Queen's 'Ead, an age;
more quiet than Ar knew a crowd could mutter,
drank us best and swall'ed down t' rage.
Ar set about us funkshun, as if A'd nivver left,
t' baker, tinker, cutler arl did as rate.
Nowt left t' dee fur, just an 'onest day o' work,
a tad o' soup, spuds 'n sum meat.
Life guz on and so it mus' be tekken,
Gentry forgot t' fodder ge'en t' French,
But Ar came 'ome and dun't furget thur story;
and there i’nt nah glory in a trench.
Ar dun't say much, unless I's asked, but call a spade a spade,
if asked t' speak us mind, t' truth be much!
A'd say t' only wasted were t' Sheffield souls wi laid.
Aye! There nivver wur nah glory in a trench.