My English Life

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
Course fishing is what we did as family. Today i fish for money, as do many South Yorkshire anglers.It is in our blood, and it is a gift handed down from father to son and even girls. Team england are World champions at Angling and many of them come from South Yorkshire.

Submitted: February 22, 2012

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Submitted: February 22, 2012



MY 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



on the train back, the talk is fish, who caught the biggest, who caught the most

Sprawled on the seats my five brothers and sister all in a heap fast asleep

Dreaming of floats going under, catching that elusive Tench,

Catching more than my brothers

Small dreams for some, the World to us

A spawning ground for future World champions.


Dawn Breaks once more

And a small unassuming man closes the door,

Off to the Steelworks,

But he must have been a demon in bed to have fathered seven kids


My mother wakes us,

Four in a double bed and one bed wetter

Off to school, Mother off to clean other peoples windows, a pioneer of her time.


Another show and tell day

The repetitive stories of day trips to Skegness and fun in the Arcade

Always good for top marks

Me, still in my Wellington boots, in the height of summer

Explaining my Fossdyke adventure, laughs from the teacher, laughs from the kids

Half a crown cooky on the bank side, how boring, an outcast from crowd


Time moves on

I still go fishing, only this time in competition

Now the audience hangs on every word I say

Hoping to discover my secrets,


But my gift came from the dawns of childhood

Theirs Dawns lost in hot dogs and sea side arcades

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 man’s 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.


© Copyright 2019 steven cooke. All rights reserved.

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