A Normandy Path by Claude Monet A Normandy Path by Claude Monët.

A country lane similar to the painting by Monet

Wandering Robbie's Song

My name is wandering Robbie,
I am a tinker's son
We travelled the roads together, father and me,
My mother died in childbirth, I never saw her face,
My father said it was poverty, the doctor said TB.

Whether scything a field of oil seed rape
Or Stookin' corn, or harvesting kale,
Or weilding a shovel or a cattler's graip
We toiled many the lovely vale.
We hiked the roads, together, aye
And we spent many the lonely night,
Sheltering, from the wind and rain
In the fields of Abernyte.

Although I am a tinker
And belong to the rootless class,
I fell in love with Ann-Geraldine
A bonny raven-haired lass,
Now I have no words to give her
For she stole them all from me,
One evening at the dancing
When I saw what we could be.

Father sang and danced at fairs
We were chased from farms, by vicious dogs
He sold potions and mended chairs,
In the winter months, we sawed up logs.
We spent that last summer by Almondbank
Beneath the moon and stars, but never a care,
We guddled the water for the big fat trout
And poached the pheasant and hare.

Tramping the roads, in the dust and heat
A tinker, forever, proud, in a patch-work coat,
Just to feel the earth beneath my feet
At one with the badger, the mink and stoat.
But the seasons, they are changing and our ways
Will soon be past, and the fences and walls
That rule their lives, will soon be ours, at last.

I have woken in winter, and cursed this life,
In the summer, the joy, I cannot explain,
But what girl would be a tinker's wife
What woman would take a tinker's name.

Father fell asleep, by the Almond's banks,
Now he lies beneath a simple stone,
He wept for the mother I had never seen
And I am, once again, alone.

A fire shines bright, in a ring of stones
And the call of an owl, comes in the night,
The flames whisper of a life which could not be
In dreams, my mother, she comes to me.
Last night, I saw her, beautiful and kind,
She said she was grieved she had stayed behind,
She said she would be waiting, at the gate
Of light, and that we would meet again, she and I,
At the church, at Abernyte.

But we are ready to move now, farewell,
Lovely Ann you made a friend of a tinker's son
And that is what I am.
I will go my own way, proudly
From the dark into the light, and remember you,
Always, on that very first day, at the school
At Abernyte.

For Wandering Robbie, the tinker's son, killed in action, the Bocage - Normandy June 1944