My Grandad’s Poetry 4 – Marbury Pike

Today’s poem is an interesting one. I’m unsure if this is even a local myth or a story of my grandad’s own creation, for he often told tales much like this one to us as children. Either way it’s a fun read (full of old Cheshire dialect to boot) so I hope you enjoy it.

Old Bob stood in his rowing boat

Piking in Marbury Mere.

A gradely rod grasped in his hand

And his roach swimming in top gear.

The weather was right, not too bright

And his eyes kept agait of the float,

He rubbed his baccy and filled his pipe

And settled hisself in the boat.

 

His float bobbed down then up again

And he almost swallowed that pipe.

As he sorted his line from the mess it was in

And readied hisself for the strike.

Down she went and underneath

And Bob struck up from’t boat,

“My God” he cried as he felt the weight

“I’ve ketched a water goat!”

 

The Pike came to the surface

It jumped around in glee

And soaked old Bob with water

As it ate his oars up for its tea.

Now this made old Bob angry

And he swore he’d get his fish,

Fry it with best butter

Then knife it in the dish.

 

He walloped it with his gaffing spike

And certainly made it roar.

It looked at him with devil eyes

And quaked him to the core.

He snatched its tail, it ripped his coat,

His pipe he tried to hide,

But the fish knocked it down his throat

And burned his guts inside.

 

The Pike set off across the Mere

The boat’s bows went higher and higher,

It left a wake across the lake

As tall as Budworth Spire.

“By Jose” said Bob, “I’ll catch ye yet”

And sprang across its back,

The Pike turned round and with a bound

Tried to get Bob and his boat upset.

 

But old Bob hung on and he bit its tail

And the Pike gave up with a gasp,

It swam to the side and there it died

And Bob were boss at last.

Up to’d Cock o’ Budworth old Bob went

And told his tale to all within,

“What’s done wi’it now?” landlord asked

And old Bob answered with a grin,

 

“Well I’ve never seen a fish in such a rage

So I left him where he lay,

Anyways yachtsmen use him now” he said,

“As a landing stage!”

 

Was Bob joking or was it true?

For the large pike in the Mere are not so few,

On a summer’s evening they roll on top

To stand on their tails and backwards flop.

And many a cow has run away in fright

When she sees the silver of the Marbury Pike.

But there was a witness, who saw it all that day

Though sure it is a witness who can never say.

Astanding stern in wind and rain

A comforter in death and pain.

Tis Great Budworth Church on top of the hill

Whose grand old tower the ringing bells fill.

Silhouetted against the evening cloud

And peeling her songs over the country loud.

But don’t stand away and distance your guess,

Go up and see it, ‘tis a beauty no less

And nearer to, the patterned windows take shapes

Whilst the gargoyles grin down like Barbary Apes.

So as you stand in the tower’s shadowy lea,

Here is Great Budworth Church and what you will see…

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