DOCKLINGO (Paul O’Brien)


My vocabulary started expanding

When I went to primary school

But it wasn’t the French or the German

I learnt down at Lawrence O’Toole’s

It was a language both ancient and solemn

Once spoken by druids in frocks

And handed down through the ages

To the people who live near the docks


They talk about skangers and shooies

And loopers and words of the like

Brazers and coddelyorum

And “Going with no bell on your bike”

These expressions of joy and of sorrow

They sum up our hopes and our fears

Still they will ring through tomorrow

As they have for thousands of years


They perpetuate this tradition

With meeting and with seminars

The venues are varied and secret

But mostly in snugs and in bars

They gather and whisper in clusters

Not to be noticed or heard

And after a few pints of porter

There’s ne’er a discouraging word


Now if you’re wondering just what it sounds like?

Examples are hard to be found

But if you go down to Sheriff Street

There’s a lot of it going around

The kids do be swinging on lampposts

Or kicking a sheep’s head about

While mothers call out from the balcony

“Ge in yizzer dinner’s poured out!”


These jewels of communication

Are now to be heard o’er the world

Wherever docklanders gather

Wherever our flag is unfurled

With our dands on our heart declaring

We croon with a tear in our eye

Fcing the hoisted Tricolour

“Hey Baby! Let your free bird fly!”