Canto 4

Auld Pendle is a wild, wild place
Where wolves will growl & croon,
Where by the cats the long-nosed bats
Inspiral by the moon.

Hot rumours trickle out to Read
Of some sick’ning Sabbath,
Of witchery & heresy,
Of vengeful Wiccan wrath.

This was, for Nowell, final straw,
Orders, “Once & for all
We shall arrest this evil nest
Attesting to its fall!”

Across the grassy Sabden side
Men mingle in patrol,
With pike & sword, an angry horde
On Malkin Tower fall.

From slumber James was rudely dragg’d,
& little Jennet too,
When sensing death, Elizabeth
Too joins that wretched crew.

From a mould-heel’d Katherine Hewitt,
Thro’ Alice Grey of Colne,
To John & Jane Bulcock, that fane
Of fearful captives swoll’n.

As Nowell, down to Roughlee Hall,
His hungry horses steer –
Alice Nutter’s dream sprite mutters,
“Pray wake up!” in her ear.

“Your summons rite,” whispers the sprite,
“Was wholly fitted wrong –
For you forgot to seal the knot
With ill-begotten song!”

The Lady rose out of her bed,
& lit a candle wick,
With sleepy care she paced the stair,
Clutching a candlestick.

The Lady dress’d in Sunday best,
Tears in each hourglass eye,
As in their beds, on sleeping heads,
She kissed her kids goodbye.

As Nowell passes Crowtrees Farm,
At last he finds his foe;
Stood on the lawn, alone, unborn,
Lit by the dawn’s first glow.

“Alice Nutter, of Roughlee Hall,
Thou art under arrest!”
With weary heart, into a cart,
Our noble Lady press’d.

She join’d her coven cramp’d inside
That little cell at Fence,
Despite the cries, those heinous lies,
Protesting innocence.

Eyeball cramp’d to-blinking eyeball,
These witches stood or sat;
In atmosphere harsh stabb’d with sneer
The conversation spat.

Theofy spent a sad & sleepless night
Until the breath  dawn,
When push & shout them all barg’d out
Onto the jailhouse lawn.

It was a hot & humid day,
Silent in ragged line;
Looming over East Lancashire
Old Pendle haunch’d supine.

When thirty miles were underfoot
Fair Lancaster arose,
Whose castle keep & dungeon deep
That coven did enclose.

Demdike tries Satan to contact,
Hapless necromancer,
Goes, “Tibb! Tibb! Tibb!” & rubs her rib
But there came no answer;

For Satan is, was, & shall be
A liar thro’ & thro’,
With bitter scrike & screech, Demdike
Did not know what to do.

That night she dream’d herself alone;
A girl by Pendle stream,
That with a shake & mighty quake,
Enchasms ‘cross her dream;

The Devil roars & clambers up
Out of a hissing hole,
“Demdike, Demdike! Do what ye like
But I shall have yer soul!”

Out of the dream, with frightful scream,
Old Demdike hard awoke;
Then clutches chest, that beatless breast,
& dropped dead at a stroke.

The women woke & wail’d & wept,
There mostly gave up hope,
Full well they ken such an omen,
Must mean the danglerope.

Days turn to weeks, weeks turn to months
Strong spirits hours erode;
Until, one day, in August, gay,
The morn in glory glow’d.

Good Roger Nowell takes the bench
With paperweights & scrolls;
This coven, yet, would soon regret
They’d ever sold their souls.

There sat Judge Bromby of Altham
With high-brow’d Lord Gerard,
Them sat between, moody & mean,
Sir Richard Houghton, hard.

As gossip-hunting populace
Are led in from the street,
In dungeon deep the coven weep,
Hope wilting in the heat.

Canto 5

Lancaster Castle heaps up stone
Above the bustle streets,
How beautiful its cathedral
The cityscape completes.

Within its court the justicars
Shall hear the Witchcraft Act;
It will see hung, both old & young,
Who sign’d a Devil’s pact.

“Each one in turn we shall bring out,
These witches from their cage!”
As Nowell said this, his hot head
Empurpl’d in a rage,

“These Becchentes are Satanic,
They drink each other’s blood,
In orgies wild, corpses defiled
& eaten if they could.

These vile crones summon demons up,
Chaunting incantation!”
As his head bow’d an angry crowd
Howl’d exasperation.

Chattox the first to reach the dock,
& there confesses all,
In weeping strains of pins & pains,
& how she sold her soul.

They thought her very odious,
No modesty, nor grace;
A toothless grinning specimen
Dredg’d from the human race.

Old Chattox rais’d her arms aloft
To Him high over us,
“You may spurn me but, pray, mercy
To my honest daughters!”

The prosecution shut its book,
The death-warrant self-signed
By Chattox, led, already dead,
Back to her dungeon bind.

As one-by-one the coven went
To answer for their sins,
None stood a chance, no honest stance
Could ever save their skins.

For counsel fair are serfs denied
When stood against the state;
When avarice & prejudice
Can influence our fate;

When witches fear’d of most of all,
Whose crimes few could forgive,
Drown’d in a pool by ducking stool,
Or death to those that live.

Up summon’d to that brutal dock
The lady Nutter stood,
Pois’d for her fall, the judges all
Sat desp’rate for her blood;

But every peasant in the crowd
Refused her as a witch,
For she was great, of good estate,
& she was very rich.

So to convince the court & crowd
A long line Nowell made
Of women tall, the truth men call
Identity parade.

In came wee James, & Jennet too,
Each one did gladly say
That Alice Nutter veins did cut
Upon that Good Friday.

So comes the coven’s ending-day,
Their dungeon is unbarr’d;
As up they go, the day did glow,
& they were under guard.

That prison train led into town,
Steep down from Castle Hill;
Trudging bare feet, yon China Street,
T’where Market Square did fill.

The crowd was thirsting for witch-blood,
All tossing rotten fruit.
& understood the hangman’s hood
Conceal’d an ugly brute.

They went up to the windy moor,
Saw gallows stood erect,
Where thick ropes hung & breezy swung,
For looseness nooses check’d.

As three-by-three those witches died
Upon the dangle-ropes;
Up cheers the crowd, happy & loud,
Upon the clapping slopes;

Who jeer when Jane & John Bulcock
Turn to teary violence;
A quite outrageous death-display;
‘Til that snapping silence.

As jam tarts make a roaring trade
So does each wee pick-pocket;
The lady Nutter sadly put
In her palm a locket.

She opens it, sees smiles serene
Beam from happy children;
& hopes & prays in coming days
They’d all meet in Heaven.

Hid in the crowd the Devil stood,
Dress’d like a Christian,
Cheeks puffing pride as each fresh bride
Was to Cocytus gone.

As bodies stack upon the moor,
Still gallows creak & groan,
Until the last cut from the mast,
Wee James from life was shorn.

The Devil smiles a wicked smile
& left off thro’ the crowd;
A happy man, all gone to plan,
& he was very proud.

BINGO LINGO

On

the

BINGO
LINGO

heard at the

WOODTOP SHELTERED
HOUSING

In the town of Burnley, Lancashire


STROPHE

Ladies & gentlemen eyes down,
Bag o’ sweets for your line,
Two pound your full house;

Snakes alive, all the fives, fifty five
Christmas cake, three & eight, thirty eighty
& it’s half-way there, four & five, forty five
Doctors orders, on its own, the number nine
Seven & six, “Was she worth it?”
Every penny… seventy six

Kelly’s Eye, on its own, the number one
& its three & O, dirty gertie, blind thirty
Tickle me, six & three, sixty three
& it’s thee & me, two & three, twenty three
Five & nine, the Brighton line, fifty nine
It’s Diana Doors in droopy drawers,
All the fours,
Forty-Four!

“EE-YAAAA!!”
Shouts Mary Pie,
Much to Cliff’s consternation,
He only needed one for the line

Al, the old drunk, goes to check the ticket
55, 76, 1, 63, 59, 44
& hands her the boiled sweets
‘I’ll give them to Sally,’ says Mary Pie,
‘They’re no good for mi teeth…’

 

ANTISTROPHE

Suddenly it gets serious
The numbers come calling
Eyes Down for your full house…

On its own, it’s the lucky seven
& it’s Unlucky for some, thirteen
Heinz Varieties, five & seven, fifty seven
Ooo! It’s those legs, eleven
The room echoes to shrill cat whistles

It’s Sherwood Forest, all the trees, thirty three
A fumph & a duck, five & two, fifty two
‘Five-O, Five-O, it’s off to work we go
With a shovel & pick & a walking stick, Five-O, Five-O’
Purple-haired Slyvia gets exited & carries on the song,
‘Five-O, Five-O, it’s off to work we go,
With a bucket & spade & a hand grenade,
Five-O, Five-O, ‘
Blind fifty!

All the sixes, clickity-click, sixty-six
It’s the garden gate, the number eight
& someone didn’t flush the toilet
It’s a dirty loo, thirty two

Its two little ducks, twenty two
It’s the sunset strip, all the sevens, seventy-seven
& a duck & a crutch, two & seven, twenty-seven
Almost there, eight & nine, eighty nine
Ooo! It’s top of the shop, blind ninety!

 

EPODE

Woodtop is getting tense,
Cliff only needs one for the full house
But Mary Pie,
The old buggar,
She’s right on his tail

It’s queen bee, seventy three
Anyway up, six & nine, sixty nine
& it’s those steps, three & nine, thirty nine
Man alive, the number five
& it’s two fat ladies, all the eights, eighty-eight
You’ve been & gone at eighty one
The key of the door, two & one, twenty one
& its Ghandis breakfast, he ate nothing, blind eighty
It’s tickety-boo, sixty two
& she’s still alive’s our Mary Pie,
She’s eight & five, eighty-five
“EE-ya! shouts Sally, knocking over her drink
Much to Cliff’s annoyance

Al goes to check the ticket
7, 57, 33, 66, 77, 90, 88, 21, 80

& gives her the two pound

“I’ll share it with Mary Pie,” she says with a smile

Ladies & gentlemen eyes down,
Bag o’ sweets for your line,
Two pound your full house…

NO NAY NEVER

& it’s No Nay Never,
No Nay Never No More
‘Til we play those blasted Rovers,
No Nay Never No More

I cannot remember who we played the first time I went to a game & don’t even remember who scored. I was very little & just stood with my mate, Kevin Waring, not seeing much but hearing a lot of noise. Then I got to the front of the Bee Hole end, up against the barrier that stopped you from falling onto the pitch, & looked in wonder at the different sections of the ground. The Cricket Field stand was straight across behind the other goal, the brand new Bob Lord stand was to my left & people were in their seats, but my eyes were always pulled to the Longside stand. It seemed huge, with a roof on & one fence down the middle. The away fans were on the left side of the fence & on the right side stood the Burnley fans, packed in like refugees. You could walk from the Beehole stand all the way round to the fence. My eyes were always fixed on the fence & the two sets of fans on either side of it, their arms in the air pointing at each other, singing, chanting, swaying down in a wave effect. I was fascinated.

Andrew Porter


 

PREFACE

Pretiumque et Causa Laboris

Being fortunate enough to be born in the Lancashire town of Burnley I am the proud inheritor of a football club with the greatest of traditions. The town’s populace has been devoted fans from the off, their club being one of the founding members of the Football League, & together they have embraced every pleasure the game can invoke. Burnley FC has won each of the four divisions, lifted the FA Cup & as champions represented the country in Europe. On the flip-side, the Clarets have been defeated cup finalists & championship runners-up; then relegated numerous times including a plummet to the depths of the old Fourth Division when only a last day victory prevented us from falling out of the league altogether.

Burnley Football Club is in my blood – well, if you’re from Burnley it just has to be. I bleed Claret & Blue. My first ever match at Turf Moor was a 7-0 drubbing of Rotherham United, & since that fun beginning watching the Clarets has supplied me with a plethora of feelings & emotions. I remember one time going to an away game on my own at Selhurst Park. Burnley won 2-1, & on the train to the South Coast, where I was living at the time, I met a fellow Claret & we got chatting. The crux of the conversation was that, however Burnley were doing at the time, it mattered; & each result affected your week. No escape. I also remember overhearing some Palace fans leaving the stadium pipe, ‘I can’t believe we lost to those,’ & there is something about Burnley’s place in the Football world that many cannot understand. A small town club like mine should not be meeting the football aristocracy on a level playing field, but the season just gone has re-secured our place in a game we practically invented. So with burgeoning pride I have turned the club’s history to verse, bound intrinsically with the famous terrace chant of my fellow devoted: ‘No Nay Never No More!’

Prelude

On Saturday afternoon last, Burnley & Astley Bridge met on the ground of the former at Calder Vale, to contest in the first round of the Lancashire Challenge Cup. Astley Bridge had it all their own way throughout, & won the game eight goals to none. A large company assembled to watch the match. This is the first year the Burnley club has played association rules.

Burnley Express (18-10-1882)

1
Since the days of wooden rattles
Burnley’s loved its footy battles,
& its workplace tittle-tattles
Bettin’ wages on the score;
Underneath those ever fat hills
Kissing clouds upon the moor,
Is the club we all adore.

2
Well, mi name is Damian Bullen
& mi loyalty’s a full ‘un
& I’ve sang for Jimmy Mullen
From the Longside at Turf Moor,
Weather shining, shite & sullen,
Always Claret to the core,
Only now & evermore.

3
Burnley born & born a poet,
Aye, & mate I bloody know it,
So I thought that I would show it
Because what’s a poet for?
But to sing about their passions,
So with pride I join the roar
Of, ‘No, Nay, Never No More…’

4
You might think this out of order
But I was an Accy Roader
& mi mum could not afford a
Ticket for me down Turf Moor;
So I snuck in with the players
About an hour or so before
They’d unlock the turnstiles’ door.

5
Where I read Roy of the Rovers,
Tannoys practicing voiceovers,
Kissing all mi lucky clovers
Hid behind a toilet door;
Then moved up to the Bob Lord
When the first Longsiders roar,
Skennin’ on the ground with awe.

6
I was well & truly smitten,
By the Burnley bug was bitten,
Like a freshly mewing kitten
Flicking marbles with a paw,
From the seat where I was sittin’
I could hear the Longside roar
Thro’, ‘No Nay Never No More…’

7
Based upon the old ‘Wild Rover,’
Sung a trillion times over
In the boats twyx Cork & Dover,
Long sung staple of folklore;
When some handsome Casanova
Prances tho’ an alehouse door
To a debt forg’d years ago.

8
As he ask’d the bar for credit
The landlady laugh’d, ‘forget it,’
But as soon as she had said it
Shower’d on that alehouse floor
Golden coins, for he had med it
On his long, transglobal tour,
& he’ll never rove no more;

9
So sitting up or standing tall,
If going up or in freefall,
We Clarets always heed the call
To raise up, with a roar,
The greatest football song of all
The famed espirit de corps
Of, ‘No Nay Never No More…’

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