them words is p'ison to a barge-master

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Senior Member
"You mustn't take no notice of my Bill," said the woman; "'is bark's worse'n 'is bite. Some of the kids down Farley way is fair terrors. It was them put 'is back up calling out about who ate the puppy-pie under Marlow bridge."
"Who DID?" asked Phyllis.
"I dunno," said the woman. "Nobody don't know! But somehow, and I don't know the why nor the wherefore of it, them words is p'ison to a barge-master. Don't you take no notice. 'E won't be back for two hours good. You might catch a power o' fish afore that. The light's good an' all," she added.

From Nesbit's 'The Railway Children' Would you please explain this phrase? I think it means their words irritated him, am I right?
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