Short Stories
All Titles

In Association with Amazon.com

Home > Authors Index > Browse all available works of John Castillo > Text of Awd Isaac

A poem by John Castillo

Awd Isaac

Title:     Awd Isaac
Author: John Castillo [More Titles by Castillo]


Yah neeght as Ah went heeame fra’ wark,
A lahtle bit afoore ’twur dark,
Quite blithe an’ cheerful as a lark,
Ah thowght me-sel;
Ah sat me doon, te rist a bit,
At top o’t’ hill.

Fooaks just wur turnin oot ther ky;—
A lahtle plain awd man com by;—
“Cum set ye doon, gud frind,” sez I,
“An’ rist yer legs;”
He’d beean a bit o’ floor te buy,
An’ twea’r three eggs.

Ah fand him varry fain te stop;—
His staff he set up as a prop;—
His hooary heead he lifted up,
An’ thus compleean’d:—
(Sum fragments ov a gud like feeace,
Ther still remeean’d.)

“Yoo see,” sez he, “mah deear young frind,
Mah travel’s ommost at an end;
Wi’ age mah back begins te bend,
An’ white’s mah hair;
Ov this warld’s griefs, yoo may depend,
Ah’v hed mah share.”

His teeal tho’ simple, it wur grand,
An’ varry gud te understand,—
His stick steead up aboon his hand,
T’awd fashion’d way;
His cooat an’ hat wur wether tann’d,
A duffil gray.

“Ah think,” sez Ah, “’at Scriptur sez,
Gray hairs is honorable dress,
If they be fund i’reeghteousness,
By faith obtain’d;
An’ think, by what yer leeaks express,
That praaze yoo’ve gain’d.

Wi’ age it izzen’t gud te jooak,
An’ts ommost ower warm te woak,
Sit doon, an’ hev a bit o’ tawk,
O’ things ’at’s past;
Awd men like yoo, hez seeaf beeath heeard
An’ seen a vast.”

“A vast Ah hev beeath heeard an’ seen,
An’ felt misfotten’s arrows keen,
As yoo remark, whahl Ah hev beean
On this life’s stage;
It’s sike a varry changin scene,
Fra’ yooth te age.

Hoo great, an’ yet hoo feeble’s man,
His life at langest’s bud a span;”
His history be thus began,
Wi’ teears te tell;
An’ if yer ears be owght like maane,
’Twill pleease ye weel.

“Lang sin’ Ah lost mah wife,” sez he,
“Which wur a heavy cross te me;
An’ then mah sun teeak off tot’ sea,
A fine young man,
An’ Ah neea mare his feeace mun see,
It’s ten te yan.

Ah happen’d te be off yah day,
A kind ov sweetheart, as they say,
Com in an’ teeak mah lass away,
Wi’ hoosin stuff;
An’ noo, poor thing, she’s deead, they say,
A lang way off.

It’s noo neen yeear, an’ gaain i’ten,
Sin’ Ah at t’bark wood joined sum men,
’Twur theer Ah fell an’ leeam’d me-sen,
I’ spite o’ care;
Ah wur foorc’d te gie up theer an’ then,
An’ woark ne mare.

Bud t’neeaburs hez beean varry gud,
Or else lang sin’ Ah’d stuck i’t’ mud,
An’ seea throo them an’ t’help o’ God,
Ah gits mah breead;
An’ whooap they’ll be rewarded for’t,
When Ah’s law leead.

Bud seein all mah cumforts gooan,
Ah didden’t knaw what way te ton,
Then Ah began te sigh an’ mooan,
Beeath neeght an’ day;
Ah bowght a Baable, an’ began
Te reead an’ pray.

An’ as Ah reead, an’ as Ah preea’d,
Ah thowght it thunner’d ower mah heead,
An’ offens Ah’ wur sadly flay’d
Wi’ dismal noises,
Sumtaames i’ bed Ah thowght Ah heeard
Some ungkerd voices.

A preeacher chanc’d te cum this way,
Ah’v cause te ivver bless the day,
Kind Providence leead me that way
This man te heear;
Ah, like a sheep, had geean astray
For monny a yeear.

He sed ’twur t’luv o’ Christ cumpell’d him,
Bud seean as ivver Ah beeheld him,
Ah thowght ’at sum kind frind hed tell’d him
All mah heart;
For ivv’ry word, like arrows pointed,
Meead it smart.

Ah thowght, till then, ’at Ah wur reeght,
Bud he set mah sins all i’mah seeght,
At last Ah fell doon at his feet
Wi’ solid grief;
Ah thowght Ah sud ha’ deead afoore
Ah fund relief.

Ah reeally thowght, if yoo’ll beleeave me,
’At hell wur oppen te receeave me,
Sum sed the Lord wad seean releeave me,
He wur mah keeper;
Bud all they sed did nowght but greeave me,
An’ cut me deeper.

Ah dreeaded th’ Almighty’s froon,
An’ wander’d greeatin up an’ doon,
Nowther i’t’ coontry nor i’t’ toon
Neea rist Ah fand;
Mah sins, like stars, did me surroon’,
Or heeaps o’ sand.

Then varry seean t’repoort wur rais’d,
An’ all roond t’village it wur blaz’d,
Awd Isaac, he wur gangin craz’d
An’ nowght seea seer;
Mah cottage then for days an’ days
Neea sowl com near.

At thowghts ov ivverlastin pains,
An’ bein bund iv endless chains,
Mah bleead, like ice, ran thruff mah veins
Wi’ shivrin dreead;
Ah cudden’t sleep, an’ Ah forgat
Te eat mah breead.

At last this gud man com ageean,
For which mah heart wur glad an’ fain,
Just like a thorsty land for rain,
Ah sat quite neear him;
Whahl ivv’ry organ ov mah sowl,
Wur bent te heear him.

Bud seean as Ah his sarmon heeard,
A still small voice mah sperits cheear’d,
An’ Ah, that varry neeght wur meeade,
A happy man;
Te praaze the Lord wi’ all mah heart,
Ah then began.

Ah knew He hed mah sins forgeean,
Whahl Ah hed in His prisance beean,
An’ that His bleead cud wesh me cleean,
An’ white as snaw,
An’ mack me fit wi’ Him te reen
Whahl heer belaw.

Sin’ then, i’ all mah conflicts heer,
Ah flees te Him wi’ faith an’ preear,
An’ He, in marsey, lends an eear.
Thruff his deear Son;
An’ this is t’way, wi’ whooap an’ feear,
Ah travels on.

Oft, when Ah thus draws neear te Him,
He macks mah een wi’ teears te swim,
Then fills mah heart quite up te t’ brim
Wi’ t’luv o’ God;
An’ when Ah gets mare faith i’ Him,
Ah hods mah hod.

Sumtaames Ah’v hed yon beck te swim,
An’ monny a time this hill te clim,
Wi’ heavy heart an’ weeary lim’
An’ sweeaty broo;
Bud all ’at ah can trist Him in,
He helps me throo.

In all the straits ov life, sez he,
Hooivver bare mah cubburt be,
Wi’ broon breead crust, an’ woormwood tea,
Or even gall,
Whereivver Ah finnds Christ te be,
He sweet’ns all.

Mah neeaburs all, Ah deearly luv ’em,
An’ oft Ah’s foorc’d for t’repruv ’em
Te seek the Lord Ah tries te muv ’em,
Wi’ heart sincere,
Bud t’answers oft ’at Ah gets frev em,
’S quite severe.

Ah’v oft felt sorry te me-sel,
Beeath greeav’d an’ sham’d the truth te tell,
When Ah hev heeard oor awd kirk bell
Ring in te preear;
Ah’s flay’d ’at sum ’ll hear’t i’ hell
Upbreead ’em theer.

They’ll sit or lig upon ther deead,
An’ tawk aboot all kinds o’ treead,
An’ laff, an’ lee, quite undismay’d,
Till they’ve rung in;
Sike fooaks te t’ warld thay’re owther wed,
Or neear akin.

Sum sez ther priest’s a stumlin block,
He nivver leeads ’em on te t’ rock,
Like thooase ’at mends a threead-bare frock
Wi’ a new piece,
He cares bud lahtle for his flock,
If he gets t’fleece.

Bud oors, he is a Christian breeght,
He preeaches Christ wiv all his meeght,
Fills each beleeaver wiv deleeght,
’At gangs te heear him;
An’ therefoore ov his people’s bleead
The truth ’ll clear him.

Ah’v heeard him tell ’em pat an’ plain,
’At they mun all be boorn again,
Or suffer ivverlastin pain,
I’ t’warld te cum;
Bud if they’ll flee te Christ i’ time,
For all ther’s rum.

I’th’ pulpit or i’ conversation,
He’s awlus on for t’sowl’s salvation,
Wi’ kind reproof or exhoortation.
Or coonsel sweet;
An’ thooase ’at follows his persuasion,
They’ll be reeght.

Ther’s sum ’at sez, bud they’re misteean,
When they’re babtized they’re boorne ageean;
Just heer they miss t’ fundation steean,
An’ beelds o’t’ sand;
An’ they’ve neea dreead, till t’hoose is doon
Bud it ’ll stand.

Ah’s flay’d,” sez he, “ift’ truth wur knawn,
Ther’s monny a precious soul o’erthrawn,
For that gud seed ’at he hez sawn
Wi’oot effect;
Bud bleeam for ivver is ther awn,
Thruff sad neglect.

Ah’v seen yoong men, an’ women too,
An’ men wi’ hair all off ther broo,
Afoore he’s reead his lesson throo,
’S beean fast asleep;
Whahl others ’at far better knew
'S beean seen te weep.

They’ll rock an’ riggle like a ship,
Till sum kind frind gies them a nip,
Or wakken’d up wi’ t’saxton’s whip,
Or others’ coughing;
Then, mebby, when they’ve rubb’d their een,
They’ll start a laffin.

Sum’s liv’d te three or fower skoor,
An’ lang time heer’s had rulin pow’r,
They’ve woorn deep tracks across ’at moor,
Wi’ constant gangin;
Bud still, all t’whahl, for this warld’s loore,
Ther heearts wur langin.

Thersels they’ve nivver fairly seen,
They’ve nivver knawn ther sins forgeean,
Tho’ monny a time ther prayers hev beean
As lood as t’clark;
And thof they’ve hed twea pair of een,
They’ve deed i’t’ dark.

Ther’s sum ’at neeame o’ Christian beears,
An’s hed that neeame for monny yeears,
’At’s berreed ow’r t’heead an’ t’eears,
I’ warldly care;
An’ oft at kirk, we’ve cause te feear,
They market theer.

Ah wur at a sarten hoose yah day,
An’ t’awd man tiv his son did say,
If all be weel, thoo mun away,
Te moorn te t’ kirk,
An’ try te git oor wreeghts next week,
Te cum te woark.

An’ Tommy, he’s i’ sike a tackin,
’At cooat ’ll spoil for want o’ mackin,
If t’ tailor’s theer, thoo mun be at him,
Te cum an’ all;
That’s weel contrav’d, an’ then yah thrang,
’Ll deea for all.

Thoo needn’t stop te gang roond t’ farm,
Bud mun be theer i’ reeght gud taame,
Or mebby, if thoo dizzen’t maand,
Thoo’ll loss thy chance;
Ther’s sumtaames three or fower at him,
All at yance.

It’s ower far te gang a-feeat,
An’ if ’t be warm thoo’s seer te sweeat,
Thee Moother, she’ll deea nowght bud freeat,
Seea tak awd Dragon;
An’ tell him he mun cum next week.
An’ mend oor waggon.

Then if ye chance i’t’ coorse o’t’ weeak,
O’t’ Sunday’s subject for te speeak,
You’ll finnd awd memory seea weeak,
It’s all forgitten;
Thus wounded sowls ’at’s beean hawf heeal’d
T’awd sarpent’s bitten.

That skull ’at’s moolded green an’ gray,
T’awd saxton dug up t’other day,
Knaws varry neear as mitch as thay
O’t’ Sunday’s sarmon;
Yoo may as weel o’t’ subject tawk
Te sum awd Jarman.

That poor awd man’s noo deead an’ geean,
Tis hard te say what way he’s teean,
’At used te stand ageean t’funt steean,
Te tack fooaks watches;
Whahl careless lads i’t’ singin pew
Wur cuttin natches.

An’ seea for want o’ cultivation,
They shuffle on withoot salvation,
A vast, Ah’s flay’d, ’s o’ this perswasion,
Beeath yoong an’ awd;
Te be forgeean they ha’ neea nooation,
Till deead an’ cawd.

Bud they’ll finnd oot afoore’t be lang,
’At they’ve all t’ taame beean sadly wrang,
Ther wills may then be ower strang,
Te breeak or bend;
An’ noo they say they’re ower thrang,
They can’t attend.

I’ summer taame they’ll leeave t’awd nest,
An’ driss up i’ ther varry best,
An’ gallop off alang wi’ t’rest,
Te t’ fair or reeaces;
A vast gits what they nivver kest
At sike like pleeaces.

Ther’s sum gets theer wi’ wooden legs on,
An’ monny poor awd men wi’ wigs on,
Just sarvs t’yoong fooaks te run ther rigs on,
A fine example,
Whahl doon i’t’ dust ther poor awd lims
Sumtaames they trample.

Ther’s sum can nowther sit nor lig,
Aboot t’election they’re seea big,
They say they’re Britons, rump an’ rig,
Bud whea can trist ’em,
When, frev a Toory tiv a Whig,
A glass ’ll twist ’em?

Ther’s others rayther shoat o’ seeght,
Fort’ seeak o’ twea’r three sovrens breeght,
Gies in ther vooat, an’ thinks it reeght,
Te t’ Roman stranger;
Then others pleeaster up i’t’ street,
“_The Church in danger!_”

An’ seea they yan prevent another,
Wi’ drinking, politics, an’ bother,
Thof t’ best ov all can’t seeave his bruther,
Nor ransom him;
That spark ’at’s left they try te smuther,
Wi’ stratigem.

As for thooase Methodeys, they say,
They mack seea varry mitch te deea,
Ther’s sum wad deea nowght else bud pray
An’ reead, an’ preeach,
Till they git all meead Methodeys,
Within ther reeach.

Bud ther wur neean o’ this amaze,
I’ neean ov oor foore elder’s days,
Thof ther gud deeds an’ honest prayers,
An’ pious reeadins,
Hez beean, neea doot, as gud as theers,
Wiv all ther meetins.

Te see ’em doon o’ beeath ther knees,
I’ kirk, or field, or under trees,
Wi’ brokken hearts an’ teearful ees,
Wur quite uncommon;
An’ if they hevn’t deed i’ t’ faith,
Then what’s cum’d on ’em.

Te preeach ’em all geean doon te hell,
It is a dreeadful teeal te tell,
An’ we mun wiv oor kindred dwell,
Seea we, like them,
Will on life’s ooacean tak oor chance,
An’ sink or swim.

They mack sike wark amang yoong fooaks,
They breeak up all oor jovial spooarts,
They thin oor ranks, an’ storm oor pooarts
Wi’ strange confusion;
Ther’s nowght bud we mun cry’t all doon,
A mere delusion.

Bud us ’at seldum hev attended,
They deeant git us seea eeasy mended,
An awd stiff yack ’s nut eeasy bended,
That’s varry true;
Bud thooase ’at winnut bend yoo see,
Mun breeak i’ noo.

They trifle on fra’ yeear te yeear,
Like watches woorn oot ov repair,
Thof if they wad, its varry cleear,
They mud be mended;
Bud they perceeave neea danger neear,
Till life is ended.

Awd Satan seea pollutes the maund,
They winnut stooap te t’ means desaun’d.
Till t’ hair spring gits wi’t mainspring twain’d,
An seea hard curl’d,
They’re foorc’d away te git refined
I’ t’other warld.

He leeads sum on like mountebanks,
As straight as thof they ran on planks,
An’ tells ’em, i’ ther jovial pranks,
He’ll nut deceeave ’em;—
Then oft on Jordan’s stormy banks,
Ther cumforts leeave ’em.

He leeads sum on another way,
An’ whispers tiv ’em neeght an’ day,
’At they need nowther reead nor pray,
They’ve deean nowght wrang;
An’ if they hev, he’ll set it reeght,
Afoore ’t be lang,

Ther’s others oft beean in alarm,
Bud Felix like, when t’heart wur warm,
Hez sed, “Go, an’ sum other taame,
Ah’ll send for thee;”
When they that taame, they didden’t knaw
Mud ivver see.

They rob thersels o’ ther awn reeght,
They reeally winnut cum te t’ leeght,
Lest o’ ther sins they git a seeght,
An’ sud be seeav’d;
An’ be ov all ther plissures sweet,
At yance bereeav’d.

Till deep sunk doon i’ t’ burning leeake
They then begin te feear an’ queeake,
Where vengeance can neea pity teeake,
Which theer hez sent ’em,
An’ furious feeinds i’ horrid sheeape,
Mun theer torment ’em.

They leeak for sum yan te deliver,
Bud theer they’ll finnd neea cumfort nivver,
Theer they may weeap an’ wail for ivver,
Ther harvest’s past;
Ther summer’s ended, refuge fails ’em,
An’ they’re lost.

Ther dreeadful doom an’ destiny,
Let us git all we can te flee,
By preeachin Christ where’er we be,
I’ deead an’ word,
Till all oor frinds ther folly see,
An’ ton te God.

“Ah beean i’ t’ way noo seeaven yeear,”
An’ as he spak, a briny teear
Ran doon his cheeks as crystal cleear,
Fra’ owther ee;
“Thenk God, Ah feeal whahl Ah sit heer,
’Tis weel wi’ me.

Bud neeght is cummin on ameean,
An’t leeaks as if ’twur boon te reean,
Or else mah stoory’s nut hawf deean,
’At Ah’v te tell;
Bud mebby we may meeat ageean,
Till then, farewell!”

Tho’ he hed all thooase sorrows booarn,
Compozur in each feeature shooan,
Thof he’d te woark and live alooan,
Fra’ day te day;
Ah wish’d his keease hed been mah awn,
An’ com away.






Oft hev Ah lang’d yon hill te clim,
Te hev a bit mare prooase wi’ him,
Wheas coonsel like a pleeasin dreeam,
Is deear te me;
Sin’ roond the warld sike men as he
Seea few ther be.

Corrupted bukes he did detest,
For his wur ov the varry best;
This meead him wiser than the rest
O’ t’ neeaburs roond,
Tho’ poor i’ t’ purse, wi’ senses blest,
An’ judgment soond.

Befoore the silvery neeght ov age,
The precepts ov the sacred page,
His meditation did engage,
That race te run;
Like thooase, who ’spite o’ Satan’s rage,
The praaze hed won.

Bud noo his een’s geean dim i’ deeath,
Neea mare a pilgrim here on eearth,
His sowl flits fra’ her shell beneeath,
Te reealms o’ day,
Whoor carpin care, an’ pain, an’ deeath,
Are deean away.

Wi’oot the author’s neeame or leeave,
They’d put his stoory thruff the sieve,
An’ roond his circuit set the screeve
O’ justice keen,
Fra’ crotchet cramp, or semibreeve,
Te sift him cleean.

The charge ’at they ageenst him bring,—
He harps teea mitch upon yah string,
Or triumphs like a lahtle king,
Ow’r fashions gay;
He’s ower religious!—That’s the thing
They meean te say.

Yet still Awd Isaac tells his teeal,
Ower monny a weeary hill an’ deeal,
An’ ’ll sumtaames into cities steeal,
Nor silent be;
Till infants try te lisp his theeame
Across the sea.

Oor last, an’ lasting interview,
His wonted theeame he did renew,
Fra’ which, a paraphrase he drew,
An’ thus began,
I’ conversation clear, an’ frindship true,
Like man te man.

“Ah lahtle thowght, as weel thoo knaws,
Thoo te t’ public wad expooase,
Mah awd gray cooat, wi’ all its flaws,
An’ stick an’ all,
For want o’ which, the aged prood
Seea offens fall.

Ah varry leeatly gat a hint,
They’d put oor stoory into prent,
An’ copies roond the coontry sent
Beeath left and reeght;
Bud if ’twur deean wi’ gud intent,
Gud luck gang wi’ ’t.

Noo all Ah sed wur meeant for gud,
If it wur reeghtly understud;
Te sum neea doot, t’language wud
Seeam quite abrupt;—
We’re all alike, ov flesh and bleead,
An’ hearts corrupt.

Fooaks oft leeaks mare at bleead an’ breedin,
Than at t’subject they are reeadin,
An’ thus awd prejudice is feedin,
I’ system’s narrow,
For want o’ pains te crack the beean
Th’oft miss t’marrow.

Men still i’ spite ov all oor caution,
’Ll hanker efter heeigh promotion;
Like Evan’s Pills, or Rowland’s Lotion
Saain’d by t’King;
We’re seea inclin’d te self-devotion—
That’s the thing.!

T’ Naation still seeams discontent,
Ther’s strange debeeates i’ parliament,
Petitions on petitions sent
Theer, all implorin;
An’ sum i’ dungeons deep lament
Whahl they’re snoorin.

Still ower t’land t’clood hangs dull,
An’ we may thrust, an’ they may pull;
Wi’ “Eys an’ Nooas” the paper’s full,
Wi’ applause an’ laughter:
An’ all the gud for poor John Bull
’S te cum hereafter.

Still let us calmly wait the end,
On God, an’ nut on man, depend.
Oor Nation’s woond is bad te mend,
Ommost incurable!
His Israel he will still defend,
Wi’ kindness durable.

Bud numbers streeangely hev backslidden,
An’ deean thooase things ’at wur forbidden,
An’ caused His feeace for te be hidden,
By actions fowl,
Till scarce a ray ov whooap is left
Te cheer the sowl.

T’coonsel Ah wad recommend
Is all te strave ther lives te mend,
An’ persevere unto the end
I’ word an’ deed.
An’ thooase ’ll nivver want a Frind
I’ t’ taame o’ need.

Bud Ah mun cut mah stoory shoort,
Or it may mack the critics spoort,
Oor subject’s ov too greeave a soort
Te dwell upon.
Afoore ye spreead yer next repoort,
Ah sal be geean.

For sin’ we met an’ pearted last,
Ah finnd mah strenth decreeasing fast,
Like floor’s beneeath the Nowthern blast,
Yance fresh an’ gay,
Seea man is doom’d te droop an’ waste,
An’ fade away.

Ah wad befoore Ah tack mah leave,
Te all, mah deein coonsel give,
An’ if i’ the truth they deea beleeave
Or apprehend,
That truth, whahl Ah’v a day te live
_Ah will defend_.”

[The end]
John Castillo's poem: Awd Isaac