The Ballad of Jonty Pardoe


The Ballad of Jonty Pardoe

Jonty Pardoe had warty hands,
you had to hold them in country dancing.
He hit me with the yard brush.
His dad kept a strap behind the door,
my dad didn’t need one.

Jonty Pardoe was the cowboy.
I was the Indian and got tied up.
He had guns, I had a stick-horse.
His real dad was gone away,
mine kept coming back.

Jonty Pardoe had a sister.
I had a brother. Boys were better.
Boys shoot rats
down at the Mersey.
Girls couldn’t do much.

Jonty Pardoe’s nan was the oldest,
mine was scarier. It’s bad luck
to jump between the back doors.
At six o’clock he disappeared
into his house.

Jonty Pardoe’s mum was pretty,
my mum said. I didn’t know.
Jonty moved away. I started counting
fence-posts, flagstones, ants, hours, black cars.
I wanted my own gun.