My Grandad’s Poetry 12 – The Marston Poacher

When we were growing up, my grandad quite often told us about the illegal game hunters that plied their trade by night in Marston and the surrounding area, he rather admired them, even though the wronged Mr Gibbon mentioned in this poem was his good friend! You may also come across some rustic language here, this is the old Cheshire dialect which is now more or less extinct.

Heigh Ho! The Marston Poacher

A craftsman of the land.

A large but shadowy gentleman

The king of the poaching band.

His cloth cap low and black boots high

His jacket specially tailored

To carry his night’s catch, feather and fur

Heavy enough to make a giant labour.

 

Oh dewy grass you serve me well

And cloudy sky above,

Fresh wind blowing in my face

This is the night I love.

No one to see in the murky gloom

As I peg my net securely,

Across the dip to the water’s edge

Mester Rappit now you see me.

 

Hooray for Arley and Tabley too

For these estates support my living

And since they are rich and I am poor

It is well that they are giving.

Their rabbits fine and hares like dogs

Pheasant and partridge sit adating,

I’ve opened my bag and slit my pouch

So dunna keep me waiting.

 

Eeh! Mr Gibbon, you gotten some ducks

Down the woodfield laying many an egg.

I’ve got a customer on Ollershaw Lane

Who for half a dozen has begged.

And that cock pheasant in the canal field

Now you canna shoot him dead,

Cos I’ve got him in my waistcoat

Just knocked him in the head.

Williamson’s Wood, Williamson’s Wood

And what is flying in there,

Why sixteen dozen pigeons

And three and six a pair.

By Budworth Church the field on the bank

A crouching down with care

The rabbit’s cousin who plays in March,

To Pickmere three jugged hair.

 

With that, I feel the time has come

To relate a story strange to you.

I know the man and like him well

But could his tale be true?

I’ve been and looked and taken stock

Moved about Marbury wood and the Mere.

His story is strange, but possible it is,

So it is time that you should hear…

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