Dust upon God's Fair EarthImaginative writing from a 5th year pupil at Thomas Linacre School Wigan

Dust upon God's Fair Earth


Editor's Note : An unusual exercise in imaginative writing, this short story demonstrates a powerful command of language and represents perhaps the blossoming of a remarkable literary talent. Written by fifth year pupil J Taylor, it is transcribed here from the summer 1960 edition of the Thomas Linacre School (Wigan) magazine.

That portion of earth was still and quiet, appearing never to have uttered a sound or moved since creation. The earth wore a heavy garment of mist which hid its lively form, and pressed so hard upon it that it was bent and twisted under the strain into many unusual and strange shapes. It was cold, so cold, so that a small stream clearing its way through the ground had given up its will to run and now lay lifeless and mute.

Pale light filtered through the trees and cast itself on a figure which seemed not in keeping with the natural surroundings. The figure was wreathed in mist which clung to it and enveloped it in white swirling wisps like so many long fingers. The figure was that of a man - if such a dejected and misplaced being could be called one. Necessity had attired him in a dress no less useful than bizarre, and thus he appeared before the world.

Two large boots offered shelter to his feet, originally one brown and the other black but now so covered in dust and dirt from their constant use as to appear of a singularly grimy hue. The latter boot with half the sole off and no laces clung as best it could to the unfortunate foot. No socks were to be found upon his person nor had been for many a day. His trousers bore evidence of the work of some careful and patient hand, not his own, for nearly all the original cloth was replaced by patches of various shades of grey, all neatly stitched and the whole in an advanced stage of wear.


His trousers bordered in a wide black belt of great strength with a polished brass buckle in the front for good taste. The belt stooped a little round his waist and appeared to be rather in favour of supporting a large stomach than a fragile pair of trousers. His shirt was of the blue and white striped variety, showing a similar lack of cleanliness as its owner but having the advantage of being the most wholesome article upon him. Around this he wore a waistcoat, complete with chain and medals and a small coat with several tears, held upon by such a small allowance of buttons that it was a wonder it remained on him. A grey, once white, silk scarf around his neck completed his dress.


The little of his face not covered by hair had a ruddy tinge about it, caused by the constant touch of nature and helped in better times by a little alcohol. Dark whiskers almost covered the lower half of his face. He had a rubicund nose which lightened his countenance considerably. His eyes were blue and deep set beneath bushy eyebrows. His eyes gave the whole character to his person. They were weary eyes and their clear blueness was sad. Hope, joy could not be found there; true life had departed from them. They were a mockery to him, a mirror reflecting his true self.

He arose slowly; his breath fused into white wisps in the coldness and disappeared. He was misplaced among nature as well as his fellow men. His contribution to life was an apology. The time yet lacked several hours to mid-day, but for him time was not. His body shambled on its way; his mind moved not. Nothing he was, nothing he would be, until as the dust upon God's fair earth, he would roam free.

J Taylor 5B

About Farthingale Publications...

... Is a hobby web site containing articles of local interest to Lancastrians, some favourite walking and cycling routes, selected words and poetry, and some writings of more general and whimsical nature, as well as the authors own picture gallery. Access is available via the homepage and menu at the head of the page. Listed below is a selection of recommended reading.

Richmond Hill Dairies - Pemberton

These pages contain some personal memories from my youth and my association with Richmond Hill Dairies, a local business I grew up with and remember with some affection. A well known and important feature of the local community in its day and part of the heritage of Pemberton, this is my attempt to commit some small snapshot of its history to print, I hope these pages paint a worthy picture.

Mind Your Language

A humorous poem by "the bard of Haydock" George Anderton, inspired by memories of a trip to Bad Canstatt, Stuttgart Germany with the Haydock Male Voice Choir in 1975. This publication will bring a smile to the faces of not only those members who were there at the time and know the people involved but the wider population of Haydock as well who speak the language.

Wigan and the American Civil War

Wigan Coal and Iron Company, The Right Honourable John Lancaster MP for Wigan, the Confederate Raider Alabama, USS Kearsarge, Cherbourg and the yacht Deerhound all feature in the last great sea battle of the American Civil War.

Wigan Old Bank 1792

A tragic boating accident on Windermere and a surprising journey through the social history of Wigan during the reign of Queen Victoria, highlighting the relationships between four families who played an important part in the commercial development of the town.

The Brocklebank Line

Daniel Brocklebank (1741-1801), shipbuilder and mariner, a brief biography, and some background detail of his family and the shipping line he founded.

Little Ships at Zeebrugge

An account of a heroic attempt to block the port of Zeebrugge during the first World War, to protect supply routes into the UK by denying enemy submarines based there access to the open sea.

A Cricket Calypso

A short biopic of cricketer Cyril Washbrook and a snapshot of his career including his role in the West Indies tour of 1950 recorded in the lyrics of the Cricket Calypso.

Not Much of a Warrior

Wigan RLFC in the fifties and sixties, through rose coloured glasses. A golden age of legendary players and memorable moments, along with some personal memories.

Further Reading


Local Interest: Richmond Hill Dairies; Mind Your Language; John Lancaster MP; Thomas Aspinwall (Miners Agent); Upholland Telephone Exchange 1962; Thomas Linacre School; Scot Lane School; The Lindsays of Haigh; Dust Upon God's Fair Earth; Nurburgring 1960; Wigan Advertisements 1960; Wigan Soldier Missing in Action; It's a Funny Life; Thomas Whitham VC; Isaac Watts; Wigan Old Bank; The Brocklebank Line; John Byrom of Lowton; The Holy City; Private Walter Turton; Little Ships at War; Cricket Calypso; Not Much of a Warrior.


Walking & Cycling: Moss Eccles Tarn; Abbey Lakes to Coppull Moor; Chorley Ice Cream Walk; Douglas Valley Dawdle; Three Counties Cycle Ride; Haigh to Borsdane Wood; A Lancshire Lineaer Walk; Blackrod or Bust; Cycle the Sankey Valley; Cycle the Monsal Trail; Wigan Circular by Bike; Freshfield to Crosby; Irwell Valley Trail (Bury to Rawtenstall); Irwell Valley (Bury to Salford).


Words & Poetry: The Heart of Midlothian; The Family Man; The Fair Rosamond; The Fair Rosamond Comic; The Wreck of the Hesperus; God Bless these Poor Wimmen that's Childer; Dombey and Son; Aw've Turned me bit O' Garden O'er; On Th' Hills; Four Favourite Poems; The Darkling Thrush; The Glory of the Garden; The Rolling English Road; Hymn Before Action; Dust upon God's Fair Earth; Mind Your Language; Jeff Unsworth's dialect poetry.

Wallgate Chronicles: Hugo Boss comes to Wigan; In the footsteps of the Manchester Rambler; Fun with Trigonometry; Surprise at the Philharmonic; Cat Bells; A Walk in the Hills; Eay Times Uv Changed; Fidelio; The Ravioli Room; Desert Island Discs; Travels in Time; The Spectroscope; The Bohemian Girl; Bookcase; Barnaby Rudge; Romance on a Budget; The Battle of Solferino; The Getaway Car; The Switchroom Wigan; The Force of Destiny; Adolphe Adam; The Fair Maid of Perth; Ivanhoe; Semele; Lohengrin.

Farthingale Publications: a hobby website of curiosities and nonsense

Photographs (top to bottom):
A frozen Basingstoke Canal in Farnborough; Basingstoke Canal; Weavers, Pagefield Mill Wigan; Rosemoor Garden South Devon; Millgate Wigan; Pit Brow Lass Wigan.

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