Captain Cat, the retired blind sea-captain, asleep in his bunk in the seashelled, ship-in-bottled, shipshape best cabin of Schooner House dreams of
SECOND VOICE never such seas as any that swamped the decks of his S.S. Kidwelly bellying over the bedclothes and jellyfish-slippery sucking him down salt deep into the Davy dark where the fish come biting out and nibble him down to his wishbone, and the long drowned nuzzle up to him.
FIRST DROWNED Remember me, Captain?
CAPTAIN CAT You're Dancing Williams!
FIRST DROWNED I lost my step in Nantucket.
SECOND DROWNED Do you see me, Captain? the white bone talking? I'm Tom-Fred the donkeyman...we shared the same girl once...her name was Mrs Probert...
WOMAN'S VOICE Rosie Probert, thirty three Duck Lane. Come on up, boys, I'm dead.
THIRD DROWNED Hold me, Captain, I'm Jonah Jarvis, come to a bad end, very enjoyable.
FOURTH DROWNED Alfred Pomeroy Jones, sea-lawyer, born in Mumbles, sung like a linnet, crowned you with a flagon, tattooed with mermaids, thirst like a dredger, died of blisters.
FIRST DROWNED This skull at your earhole is
FIFTH DROWNED Curly Bevan. Tell my auntie it was me that pawned he ormolu clock.
CAPTAIN CAT Aye, aye, Curly.
SECOND DROWNED Tell my missus no I never
THIRD DROWNED I never done what she said I never.
FOURTH DROWNED Yes they did.
FIFTH DROWNED And who brings coconuts and shawls and parrots to my Gwen now?
FIRST DROWNED How's it above?
SECOND DROWNED Is there rum and laverbread?
THIRD DROWNED Bosoms and robins?
FOURTH DROWNED Concertinas?
FIFTH DROWNED Ebenezer's bell?
FIRST DROWNED Fighting and onions?
SECOND DROWNED And sparrows and daisies?
THIRD DROWNED Tiddlers in a jamjar?
FOURTH DROWNED Buttermilk and whippets?
FIFTH DROWNED Rock-a-bye baby?
FIRST DROWNED Washing on the line?
SECOND DROWNED And old girls in the snug?
THIRD DROWNED How's the tenors in Dowlais?
FOURTH DROWNED Who milks the cows in Maesgwyn?
FIFTH DROWNED When she smiles, is there dimples?
FIRST DROWNED What's the smell of parsley?
CAPTAIN CAT Oh, my dead dears!
FIRST VOICE From where you are you can hear in Cockle Row in the spring, moonless night, Miss Price, dressmaker and sweetshop-keeper, dream of
SECOND VOICE her lover, tall as the town clock tower, Samsonsyrup-gold-maned, whacking thighed and piping hot, thunderbolt-bass'd and barnacle-breasted, flailing up the cockles with his eyes like blowlamps and scooping low over her lonely loving hotwaterbottled body.
MR EDWARDS Myfanwy Price!
MISS PRICE Mr Mog Edwards!
MR EDWARDS I am a draper mad with love. I love you more than all the flannelette and calico, candlewick, dimity, crash and merino, tussore, cretonne, crepon, muslin, poplin, ticking and twill in the whole Cloth Hall of the world. I have come to take you away to my Emporium on the hill, where the change hums on wires. Throw away your little bedsocks and your Welsh wool knitted jacket, I will warm the sheets like an electric toaster, I will lie by your side like the Sunday roast.
MISS PRICE I will knit you a wallet of forget-me-not blue, for the money, to be comfy. I will warm your heart by the fire so that you can slip it in under your vest when the shop is closed.
MR EDWARDS Myfanwy, Myfanwy, before the mice gnaw at your bottom drawer will you say
MISS PRICE Yes, Mog, yes, Mog, yes, yes, yes.
MR EDWARDS And all the bells of the tills of the town shall ring for our wedding.
[Noise of money-tills and chapel bells
FIRST VOICE Come now, drift up the dark, come up the drifting sea-dark street now in the dark night seesawing like the sea, to the bible-black airless attic over Jack Black the cobbler's shop where alone and savagely Jack Black sleeps in a nightshirt tied to his ankles with elastic and dreams of
SECOND VOICE chasing the naughty couples down the grassgreen gooseberried double bed of the wood, flogging the tosspots in the spit-and-sawdust, driving out the bare bold girls from the sixpenny hops of his nightmares.
JACK BLACK (Loudly) Ach y fi! Ach y fi!
FIRST VOICE Evans the Death, the undertaker,
SECOND VOICE laughs high and aloud in his sleep and curls up his toes as he sees, upon waking fifty years ago, snow lie deep on the goosefield behind the sleeping house ; and he runs out into the field where his mother is making welsh-cakes in the snow, and steals a fistful of snowflakes and currants and climbs back to bed to eat them cold and sweet under the warm, white clothes while his mother dances in the snow kitchen crying out for her lost currants.
FIRST VOICE And in the little pink-eyed cottage next to the undertaker's, lie, alone, the seventeen snoring gentle stone of Mister Waldo, rabbitcatcher, barber, herbalist, catdoctor, quack, his fat pink hands, palms up, over the edge of the patchwork quilt, his black boots neat and tidy in the washing-basin, his bowler on a nail above the bed, a milk stout and a slice of cold bread pudding under the pillow; and, dripping in the dark, he dreams of
MOTHER This little piggy went to market This little piggy stayed at home This little piggy had roast beef This little piggy had none And this little piggy went
LITTLE BOY wee wee wee wee wee
MOTHER all the way home to
WIFE (Screaming) Waldo! Wal-do!
MR WALDO Yes, Blodwen love?
WIFE Oh, what'll the neighbours say, what'll the neighbours...
FIRST NEIGHBOUR Poor Mrs Waldo
SECOND NEIGHBOUR What she puts up with
FIRST NEIGHBOUR Never should of married
SECOND NEIGHBOUR If she didn't had to
FIRST NEIGHBOUR Same as her mother
SECOND NEIGHBOUR There's a husband for you
FIRST NEIGHBOUR Bad as his father
SECOND NEIGHBOUR And you know where he ended
FIRST NEIGHBOUR Up in the asylum
SECOND NEIGHBOUR Crying for his ma
FIRST NEIGHBOUR Every Saturday
SECOND NEIGHBOUR He hasn't got a log
FIRST NEIGHBOUR And carrying on
SECOND NEIGHBOUR With that Mrs Beattie Morris
FIRST NEIGHBOUR Up in the quarry
SECOND NEIGHBOUR And seen her baby
FIRST NEIGHBOUR It's got his nose
SECOND NEIGHBOUR Oh it makes my heart bleed
FIRST NEIGHBOUR What he'll do for drink
SECOND NEIGHBOUR He sold the pianola to
FIRST NEIGHBOUR And her sewing machine
SECOND NEIGHBOUR Falling in the gutter
FIRST NEIGHBOUR Talking to the lamp-post
SECOND NEIGHBOUR Using language
FIRST NEIGHBOUR Singing in the w
SECOND NEIGHBOUR Poor Mrs Waldo
WIFE (Tearfully) ...Oh, Waldo, Waldo!
MR WALDO Hush, love, hush. I'm widower Waldo now.
MOTHER (Screaming) Waldo, Wal-do!
LITTLE BOY Yes, our mum?
MOTHER Oh, what'll the neighbours say, what'll the neighbours...
THIRD NEIGHBOUR Black as a chimbley
FOURTH NEIGHBOUR Ringing doorbells
THIRD NEIGHBOUR Breaking windows
FOURTH NEIGHBOUR Making mudpies
THIRD NEIGHBOUR Stealing currants
FOURTH NEIGHBOUR Chalking words
THIRD NEIGHBOUR Saw him in the bushes
FOURTH NEIGHBOUR Playing mwchins
THIRD NEIGHBOUR Send him to bed without any supper
FOURTH NEIGHBOUR Give him sennapods and lock him in the dark
THIRD NEIGHBOUR Off to the reformatory
FOURTH NEIGHBOUR Off to the reformatory
TOGETHER Learn him with a slipper on his b.t.m.
ANOTHER MOTHER (Screaming) Waldo, Wal-do! what you doing with our Matti?
LITTLE BOY Give us a kiss, Matti Richards.
LITTLE GIRL Give us a penny then.
MR WALDO I only got a halfpenny.
FIRST WOMAN Lips is a penny.
PREACHER Will you take this woman Matti Richards
SECOND WOMAN Dulcie Prothero
THIRD WOMAN Effie Bevan
FOURTH WOMAN Lil the Gluepot
FIFTH WOMAN Mrs Flusher
WIFE Blodwen Bowen
PREACHER To be your awful wedded wife
LITTLE BOY (Screaming) No, no, no!
FIRST VOICE Now, in her iceberg-white, holily laundered crinoline nightgown, under virtuous polar sheets, in her spruced and scoured dust-defying bedroom in trig and trim Bay View, a house for paying guests, at the top of the town, Mrs Ogmore-Pritchard widow, twice, of Mr Ogmore, linoleum, retired, and Mr Pritchard, failed bookmaker, who maddened by besoming, swabbing and scrubbing, the voice of the vacuum-cleaner and the fume of polish, ironically swallowed disinfectant, fidgets in her rinsed sleep, wakes in a dream, and nudges in the ribs dead Mr Ogmore, dead Mr Pritchard, ghostly on either side.
MRS OGMORE-PRITCHARD Mr Ogmore! Mr Pritchard! It is time to inhale your balsam.
MR OGMORE Oh, Mrs Ogmore!
MR PRITCHARD Oh, Mrs Pritchard!
MRS OGMORE-PRITCHARD Soon it will be time to get up. Tell me your tasks, in order.
MR OGMORE I must put my pyjamas in the drawer marked pyjamas.
MR PRITCHARD I must take my cold bath which is good for me.
MR OGMORE I must wear my flannel band to ward off sciatica.
I must dress behind the curtain and put on my apron.
MR OGMORE I must blow my nose.
MRS OGMORE-PRITCHARD In the garden, if you please.
MR OGMORE In a piece of tissue-paper which I afterwards burn.
MR PRITCHARD I must take my salts which are nature's friend.
MR OGMORE I must boil the drinking water because of germs.
MR PRITCHARD I must make my herb tea which is free from tannin.
MR OGMORE And have a charcoal biscuit which is good for me.
MR PRITCHARD I may smoke one pipe of asthma mixture.
MRS OGMORE-PRITCHARD In the woodshed, if you please.
MR PRITCHARD And dust the parlour and spray the canary. IS
MR OGMORE I must put on rubber gloves and search the peke for fleas.
MR PRITCHARD I must dust the blinds and then I must raise them.
MRS OGMORE-PRITCHARD And before you let the sun in, mind it wipes its shoes.
FIRST VOICE In Butcher Beynon's, Gossamer Beynon, daughter, schoolteacher, dreaming deep, daintily ferrets under a fluttering hummock of chicken's feathers in a slaughterhouse that has chintz curtains and a three-pieced suite, and finds, with no surprise, a small rough ready man with a bushy tail winking in a paper carrier.
GOSSAMER BEYNON At last, my love,
FIRST VOICE sighs Gossamer Beynon. And the bushy tail wags rude and ginger.
ORGAN MORGAN Help,
SECOND VOICE cries Organ Morgan, the organist, in his dream,
ORGAN MORGAN There is perturbation and music in Coronation Street! All the spouses are honking like geese and the babies singing opera. P.C. Attila Rees has got his truncheon out and is playing cadenzas by the pump, the cows from Sunday Meadow ring like reindeer, and on the roof of Handel Villa see the Women's Welfare hoofing, bloomered, in the moon.
FIRST VOICE At the sea-end of town, Mr and Mrs Floyd, the cocklers, are sleeping as quiet as death, side by wrinkled side, toothless, salt and brown, like two old kippers In a box.
And high above, in Salt Lake Farm, Mr Utah Watkins counts, all night, the wife-faced sheep as they leap the knees on the hill, smiling and knitting and bleating just like Mrs Utah Watkins.
UTAH WATKINS (Yawning) Thirty - four, thirty - five, thirty - six, forty - eight, eighty-nine...
MRS UTAH WATKINS (Bleating) Knit one slip one Knit two together Pass the slipstitch over...
FIRST VOICE Ocky Milkman, drowned asleep in Cockle Street, is emptying his churns into the Dewi River,
OCKY MILKMAN (Whispering) regardless of expense,
FIRST VOICE and weeping like a funeral.
SECOND VOICE Cherry Owen, next door, lifts a tankard to his but nothing flows out of it. He shakes the tankar ' It turns into a fish. He drinks the fish.
FIRST VOICE P.C. Attila Rees lumps out of bed, dead to the dar and still foghorning, and drags out his helmet from under the bed; but deep in the backyard lock-up of his slee a mean voice murmurs
A VOICE (Murmuring) You'll be sorry for this in the morning,
FIRST VOICE and he heave-ho's back to bed. His helmet swashes in the dark.
SECOND VOICE Willy Nilly, postman, asleep up street, walks fourteen miles to deliver the post as he does every day of the night, and rat-a-tats hard and sharp on Mrs Willy Nilly.
MRS WILLY NILLY Don't spank me, please, teacher,
SECOND VOICE whimpers his wife at his side, but every night of her married life she has been late for school.
FIRST VOICE Sinbad Sailors, over the taproom of the Sailors Arms, hugs his damp pillow whose secret name is Gossamer Beynon.
A mogul catches Lily Smalls in the wash-house.
LILY SMALLS Ooh, you old mogul!
SECOND VOICE Mrs Rose Cottage's eldest, Mae, peals off her pink-and-white skin in a furnace in a tower in a cave in a waterfall in a wood and waits there raw as an onion for Mister Right to leap up the burning tall hollow splashes of leaves like a brilliantined trout.
MAE ROSE COTTAGE (Very close and softly, drawing out the words) Call me Dolores Like they do in the stories.
FIRST VOICE Alone until she dies, Bessie Bighead, hired help, born in the workhouse, smelling of the cowshed, snores bass and gruff on a couch of straw in a loft in Salt Lake Farm and picks a posy of daisies in Sunday Meadow to put on the grave of Gomer Owen who kissed her once by the pig-sty when she wasn't looking and never kissed her again although she was looking all the time.
And the Inspectors of Cruelty fly down into Mrs Butcher Brynon's dream to persecute Mr Beynon for selling
BUTCHER BEYNON owlmeat, dogs' eyes, manchop.
SECOND VOICE Mr Beynon, in butcher's bloodied apron, spring-heels down Coronation Street, a finger, not his own, in his mouth. Straightfaced in his cunning sleep he pulls the legs of his dreams and
BUTCHER BEYNON hunting on pigback shoots down the wild giblets.
ORGAN MORGAN (High and softly) Help!
GOSSAMER BEYNON (Softly) My foxy darling.
FIRST VOICE Now behind the eyes and secrets of the dreamers in the streets rocked to sleep by the sea, see the
SECOND VOICE titbits and topsyturvies, bobs and buttontops, bags and bones, ash and rind and dandruff and nailparings, saliva and snowflakes and moulted feathers of dreams, the wrecks and sprats and shells and fishbones, whale-juice and moonshine and small salt fry dished up by the hidden sea.
FIRST VOICE The owls are hunting. Look, over Bethesda gravestones one hoots and swoops and catches a mouse by Hannah Rees, Beloved Wife. And in Coronation Street, which you alone can see it is so dark under the chapel in the skies, the Reverend Eli Jenkins, poet, preacher, turns in his deep towards-dawn sleep and dreams of
REV. ELI JENKINS Eisteddfodau.
SECOND VOICE He intricately rhymes, to the music of crwth and pibgorn, all night long in his druid's seedy nightie in a beer-tent black with parchs.
FIRST VOICE Mr Pugh, schoolmaster, fathoms asleep, pretends to be sleeping, spies foxy round the droop of his nightcap and pssst! whistles up
MR PUGH Murder.
FIRST VOICE Mrs Organ Morgan, groceress, coiled grey like a dormouse, her paws to her ears, conjures
MRS ORGAN MORGAN Silence.
SECOND VOICE She sleeps very dulcet in a cove of wool, and trumpeting Organ Morgan at her side snores no louder than a spider.
FIRST VOICE Mary Ann Sailors dreams of
MARY ANN SAILORS The Garden of Eden.
FIRST VOICE She comes in her smock-frock and clogs
MARY ANN SAILORS away from the cool scrubbed cobbled kitchen with the Sunday-school pictures on the whitewashed wall and the farmers' almanac hung above the settle and the sides of bacon on the ceiling hooks, and goes down the cockleshelled paths of that applepie kitchen garden, ducking under the gippo's clothespegs, catching her apron on the blackcurrant bushes, past beanrows and onion-bed and tomatoes ripening on the wall towards the old man playing the harmonium in the orchard, and sits down on the grass at his side and shells the green peas that grow up through the lap of her frock that brushes the dew.
FIRST VOICE In Donkey Street, so furred with sleep, Dai Bread, Polly Garter, Nogood Boyo, and Lord Cut-Glass sigh before the dawn that is about to be and dream of
POLLY GARTER Babies.
NOGOOD BOYO Nothing.
LORD CUT-GLASS Tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock.
FIRST VOICE Time passes. Listen. Time passes. An owl flies I home past Bethesda, to a chapel in an oak. And the dawn inches up.
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