Dust Upon God's Fair Earth

A short story from the Thomas Linacre School magazine 1960.


picDust upon God's Fair Earth
An article from the 1960 Thomas Linacre School Wigan magazine, by a 5th year pupil with an emerging literary talent.

  • Thomas Linacre School Wigan
  • An extract from school magazine 1960
  • Progrediamur (may we advance)

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.
pic        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.
pic        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

picFarthingale 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 nature as well as the authors own picture gallery. Access is available via the homepage and menu at the head of the page or via one of the direct links below.

Further Reading


Local Interest: A Cricket Calypso; Dust Upon God's Fair Earth; God's Choir; Isaac Watts 1674 - 1748; It's a Funny Life; John Byrom 1692 - 1793; John Lancaster Wigan MP; Jubilee Park Memorial, Ashton in Makerfield; Little Ships at War 1918; Mind Your Language; Not Much of a Warrior; Peveril of the Peak; Private Thomas Whitham VC; Richmond Hill Dairies; Scot Lane School Wigan; The Brocklebank Line; The Holy City Liverpool; The Lindsays of Haigh; The Nurburgring 1960; Thomas Aspinwall Miners Agent; Thomas Aspinwall Obituary; Thomas Linacre School Wigan; Upholland Telephone Exchange; Wigan Advertisements 1960; Wigan Old Bank 1792; Wigan Soldier Missing in Action.


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


Words & Poetry: A Lancashire Mon; A Legend of Montrose; Aw've Turned me bit O' Garden O'er; Boat Song; Calm is the Sea; Classic Poetry; Dombey and Son; Dover Harbour; Dust upon God's Fair Earth; God Bless these Poor Wimmen that's Childer; Hymn Before Action; Jeff Unsworth's dialect poetry; King Cotton; Martin Chuzzlewit; Martyrs of the Arena; Mind Your Language; Only a Cranky Owd Foo'; On Th' Hills; Poet's Corner; Redgauntlet; Rogue Herries; The Antiquary; The Bride of Lammermoor; Th' Coartin' Neet; The Darkling Thrush; The Fair Rosamond; The Fair Rosamond Comic; The Family Man; The Glory of the Garden; The Heart of Midlothian; The Pickwick Papers; The Rolling English Road; The Wreck of the Hesperus; Toddlin' Whoam; When Winds Breathe Soft; Wisdom.

Wallgate Chronicles: Adolphe Adam; A Tale of Two Cities; A Walk in the Hills; Barnaby Rudge; Bookcase; Cat Bells; Desert Island Discs; Eay Times Uv Changed; Fidelio; Fun with Trigonometry; Hard Times; Hugo Boss comes to Wigan; In the footsteps of the Manchester Rambler; Ivanhoe; Little Dorrit; Lohengrin; Rob Roy; Romance on a Budget; Semele; Surprise at the Philharmonic; The Battle of Solferino; The Bohemian Girl; The Fair Maid of Perth; The Force of Destiny; The Getaway Car; The Marriage of Figaro; The Old Curiosity Shop; The Ravioli Room; The Spectroscope; The Switchroom Wigan; Travels in Time 1960; Travels in Time 2010.

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.