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854 The vow (Er voto)
Translated by Peter Nicholas Dale


Cop this'n. At St.Peter an Marcel's there’s a band
A certen nuns thad are real, ugly old hags,
Ut took their vows n’ as a consalation, the scrags
Are allowed tw’eat ev'rythen with their hands.

Ja reckun a fork or even a tiny teaspoon
Or even a penknife ta slice a loaf a bred,
's gunna offend God!? Go that far, an soon
They'll lick like dogs, with their snouts insted!

But Pius the Eighth, who sticks in our mem'ry
As a good ol' chap, saw'rem eaten like pigs
Wun mornen, an sed:"Muthas, wot's the story?

Yez all used ta grubben at the tip, ya pack a loons?!
Vow! me arse. Ya c’n praise God even if ya dig
In’a ya tucker with a fork an a spoon."

16/9/2000
The sonnet is translated into "Strine", the dialect spoken in Australia down to the 1960s.

 


854 The vow  (Orthographically corrected version)
Translated by Peter Nicholas Dale


Cop this. At St. Peter and Marcel's there’s a band
Of certain nuns that are real, real ugly old hags,
That took their vows and, as a consolation, the scrags
Are allowed to eat everything with their hands.

You reckon a fork or even a tiny teaspoon
Or even a penknife to slice a loaf of bread,
Is going to offend God!? Go that far, and soon
They'll lick like dogs, with their snouts instead!

But Pius the Eighth, who sticks in our memory
As a good old chap, saw them eating like pigs
One morning, and said: ‘Mothers, what's the story?

You all used to grubbing at the tip, you pack of loons?!
Vow! my arse. You can praise God even if you dig
Into your tucker with a fork and a spoon.’

16/9/2000