Time for a little culture, methinks; well…of a sort. You might like to read the following with a Tommy Cooper voice – or you might want to treat it more seriously. I’m still not sure myself!

This is something – along with so much else – I have no recollection of writing. There was a time when I just bashed-out stuff without thinking and, to kind of repeat myself, I honestly cannot remember how the lines come to be in my work-book.

Anyway, for better or worse, here it is……


Deep in the wilds of a Sussex wood

Young Damien set up his bivvy

For there in a glade

A pond had been made

Years ago by the old Village Smithy.


Then, at a time when the carp was rare

He’d decided to flood the small valley

His intention was clear

There’d be commons in here

Forty-pounders eventually…


Now with the gear that had served him well

The youngster flipped out a floater

He prayed to his god

Then positioned his rod

So it just overhung the green water


Sitting back now, ‘gainst the trunk of an oak

He waited for dusk to engulf him

The evening grew damp

So he lit a small lamp

And a distant fish leapt like a dolphin.


But Damien was patient, he didn’t change tactics

He stuck with his bait by the lily

He glanced at his wrist

Through the thick swirling mist

And was glad of his faithful old Tilly


There in the dark of the Sussex wood

His lantern started to flicker

Then without any doubt

The flame went out

And the fog became wetter and thicker.


That silence could be so unbearably loud

And that darkness could be absolute

Damien knew not

That the night sometimes got

As black as his funeral suit.


Feeling alone and chilled to the bone

The fog continued to linger

Then holding his line

He was given a sign

As the monofil pulled through his fingers.


Wholly convinced that he must be mistaken

The young man covered his spool

And there, out of sight

The nylon drew tight

A leviathan started to pull.


Back went the carbon – yes, he had a carp on

A fish that pulled like a lorry

But the hook-hold was good

So Damien could

Give some stick to his battling quarry.


Hardly believing he’d tempted a monster

The young man took stock of his lot

He handled it well

And soon he could tell

‘twas a gigantic common he’d got.


Within twenty minutes the whacker was landed

And placed on soft, grassy ground

Then to the scales…

There’s be no need for tales

For it weighed bang-on forty-six pounds.

I do believe I have already given ‘The Swan’ to readers of Fishing Magic, but you may be interested to know that a fifth verse was written but mysteriously lost. Now it can be revealed after all these years, having been tracked-down by an intrepid team of crack anthologists.

Here it is in full…


The Swan

Unlike the rest of the population

I’ve never been fond of the swan

It’s aggressive and mean

And frequently seen

Pecking mallards and coots on the pond.


It’s nasty, it’s spiteful

Even birds with a rightful

Place on the lake hate its presence

If it took my advice it would vow to be nice

Like the grebes and the wrens and the pheasants.


It’s a haughty old bird

Its shape quite absurd, not aero-dynamically favoured

Its neck is too long

It has no sweet song

And its take-off’s ridiculously laboured.


They’re bullies, they’re vicious

They may not eat fishes

But God knows they’re stuck-up, aloof and capricious

So ignore their appeal, if you’d like a good meal

I’m assured they taste quite delicious!


Don’t ask me then to be kind to the pens

Or to show any love for the cobs

I simply can’t stand ’em

They cruise ’round in tandem

The ultimate avian snobs.

You read it here first….

Cliff Hatton.


Oh, I forgot…the gull shouldn’t get off lightly either.

The Gull

Now I’ve slated the swan

I shall just carry on

and have a pop at the gull

The greediest birds

with the sloppiest turds

They really are loathsome and foul.


They may look alright

In their brilliant white

As they pester old ladies for bread

But they really aren’t nice

And don’t think twice

About ****ting all over your head.


Black-headed or common or herring, too

All three are renowned for their derring-do

They’re raucous and cheeky

And ever so sneaky

You’ve got to give them their due.


It’s their noise I detest

Perhaps described best

As an un-oiled, rusty old door

They cackle and squawk

As they fly or they walk

And they s**t all over the floor.


They’re smooth and they’re sleek

But just look at that beak

It could open a tin of baked beans

Don’t encourage the beast

It’ll look for a feast

Then s**t all over your jeans!


Cliff Hatton