University of Oxford
2 files

Mary Davis - Ernest Please Get Up

online resource
posted on 2024-06-05, 19:09 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

Mary Ann Davis, who was born in South Shields in November 1921 was conscripted to work in the munitions factories in Manchester in 1942. The poem gives a description of: "A household of a round about eight of these workers who were thrown together who came from all different parts of the country, I assume, to do munitions work. This poem basically is very lighthearted. It's about basically what happened early on in the morning when everybody was getting up to go to work and the difficulties the rest of the housemates had with one particular housemate called Ernest who wouldn't get up." Manchester 1942.

Ernest Please Get Up

On a frosty winter's morn,
An hour or two before the dawn,
Mary's up, (That's my aunt) both washed and dressed
And on her way to rouse the rest.
Betty and Gladys are the first,
Of the storm, to get the worst.
Lily's next to have her share
Of that early morning blare.
She races down to waken Ted,
“Come on, Mr. Out of bed.”
On our door. She'll come and knock.
Wake up Ernest. Seven o'clock.
Next a tough job I’ve been told.
She wakes the matron of the household.
Then up again to do her best
To put an end to my friend's rest.
Get up, Ernest. Can't you hear.
Or should I come and clout your ear?
No response, noise or sound.
I'm obliged to turn around.
Grunt and sway and start to yell.
“Come on, Ernest, what the hell
After that, all’s quiet again,
My poor breath is lost in vain.
From downstairs, a voice is heard
Trying to wake that lazy bird
And suggesting that it's time
That he began to rise and shine.
I'm no longer going to wait.
You'll find your breakfast on the plate
And milk and sugar in the cup.
Come on Ernest, please get up.
I'm not going to call again.
Ernest sighs and says, “Amen.”
Time goes on. It's getting late
Lord is going on for eight.
He doesn't seem to give a hoot.
Then I proceed to throw a boot.
Grunts and groans informed me that
I've scored a hit upon his back
Quiet again for a short while.
Then bad tempered without a smile
From his bed, trying to rise.
He begins to realise
That the weather's beastly cold
And life's way not paved with gold.

Audio and transcription are attached.


Item list and details

A photo of the poem "Ernest Please Get Up"

Person the story/items relate to

Mary Davis

Person who shared the story/items

John Temple

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor


Type of submission

Shared at Ocean Road Community Centre, Tyne and Wear on 18 November 2023. The event was organised by South Shields Local History Group.

Record ID

96645 | SSH024