An English Life

Written by: steven cooke

An English Life

It is midnight the Milk train pulls into darnall station
No ordinary passengers here
Steelworkers with their families
Loaded with fishing tackle, sandwiches and maggots
The Fossdyke in Lincolnshire, their destination
The fare Half a crown for happiness

The long walk in the dark,
A stairway to heaven in my memory
Dawn on the Foss and a cup of tea,
Fever in the blood, the first eel of the day
Our cane rods lovingly handed down from father to son.

I remember, Pheasants looking for mates
Shrieking their songs of love
Swans begging for scraps
Their majestic white necks, nodding,
 A greeting into their kingdom
 
The mist off the water revealing families,
being together, laughing, enjoying what was free.
For tomorrow the grime returns.
A conversation with a stranger then out of a bag,
The rabbits, sometimes hare, sometimes pheasant.
Onions and carrots, shortly follow
The smell, forever linked with summer
The scent of my childhood

Summers were hotter then;
At times I drank the Foss, for I was nature’s child
Being clean was never a priority,
Catching fish was, never killed always returned,
Our Covenant with Nature.
For it is the sport that we honour. 

And with age comes reflection,
Poor I may have been, my education neglected
But I have a Doctorate in nature, for I have seen the dawn
Away from the factories, where the pheasant runs free
And where the swan reins king, I was part of them.
It was here I learned what family was, 
To share, my last drink of pop with my neighbour,
 A simple life, maybe, but what a life

For I have seen what Constable painted
Lived every word that Wordsworth wrote
Understood the Fragrance of the Flowers
 And revelled in the poets dream.
I loved every colour, every sound, every scent,
 And every fish I ever caught.
 
Father and mother are gone now,
Never complained about their Station in life, 
For they found paradise on the Foss.

They left me the seeds to their heaven
And the key to my happiness
A key forged in a mans worth
To open up my soul to the beauty
That surrounds us all.

Dawn on the Foss, was my church
 My soul was cleansed here
And my heart was shaped here
My memories kept safe here
And the Foss fever still resides here
I will die on some bank side, one day
Rod in hand, and I will be content,
So Tight lines my fellow Anglers.