Wigan Dialect

Jeff Unsworth

Picking Coal




There's not much point in cleaning the ashes.

And getting rid of the trash.

There is nothing to make a fire with.

For my dad has got no cash.

Well, can't we get the bike out.

And get a couple of sacks.

Go on Nana, get your clogs on.

We'll go down to the railway tracks.

Walking down the canal bank.

The bike rim in a rut.

We were both muddied up to the eyeballs.

We nearly fell in the cut. ( canal )

We scrambled up the banking.

My Nana scraped her knee.

I slipped down and cut my hand.

It always happened to me.

Soon we had two sacks full.

One nutty slack and one with coke.

My Nana took it serious.

I thought it a joke.

She would sling them on her shoulder.

She did it on her own.

A feat that was amazing.

She weighed but seven stone.

She pushed the bike all the way home.

That too, a very good feat.

With one sack over the peddles.

And the other over the seat.

It seems impossible now to think.

How a woman of four foot ten.

Could push a bike with all that weight.

Time and time again.

Once back home, she sold one sack.

There always was a buyer.

That night we had some food.

We also had a fire.


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Copyright © 1998 Jeff Unsworth

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