Gary Hogg
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©Gary Hogg 2014

A Lesson For Mr Carson The Parson
By Gary Hogg

Mr Carson, the Parson at St. Bob’s C of E
Got out of ‘is bed Sunday morn’
There was ice on the inside of ‘is window
And a big cloud of steam when he yawned

I remember that winter, the worst one we’ve had
Minus twenty it was, through the night
Cold as a well-digger’s welly, I’m told
Nineteen forty-seven.  Am I right?

We’d frost and we’d snow for three months or so
Roads blocked - folks couldn’t get through
Isolated from civilisation we were
I know what you’re thinkin’ “S’what’s new?”

The Parson had slept in ‘is long-johns and vest
With ‘is jamas on top – nice and snug
His ex-army great-coat on top of the bed
A balaclava pulled down round ‘is lugs

He scraped the ice from ‘is window and had a look out
The churchyard was covered wi’ snow
“There’ll be nobody daft enough to worship today,
If I didn’t have to, then I wouldn’t go”

He’d ‘is duty to do, but between me and you
He wasn’t too keen, not today
But, a gentleman and scholar, he put on ‘is collar
And reluctantly went on ‘is way

He’d to dig himself out up the vicarage path
Then dig ‘is way through the back door
And he knelt then and there for a bit of a prayer
Just to let the Big Boss know the score

“Oh Lord, as thou wilt have read in the Amblethwaite Post,
We’re twenty degrees colder than norm,
And there’s a slight aggravation of no congregation,
So I’m goin’ back home to get warm”

Just then he heard a shufflin’ behind him
And he turned and there sat Old Will
He was a shepherd from up ower yon top side
Who’d spent all night bringin’ lambs off the hill

He wasn’t the full onion, poor Will, a right funny un
Social skills? No, a bit out of touch
He didn’t have enemies, nothin’ like that
Just ‘is friends didn’t like him that much

It was no problem a bit o’ bad weather to Will
He sat in the front pew all alone
The Parson says “Oh dear, we’re the only ones here,
Why don’t you and me just go home?”

“Let’s call it a day. Go and get yourself away,
To your fireside, your pipe and your chair”
Old Will just sat still, with a look that would kill
He says “I’ve come a long way. That’s not fair”

“With respect, Mr C, I’m not clever like ye,
But I know that when my flock’s needin’ fed,
Come rain, hail or shine, I don’t moan, I don’t whine,
And I’m up, half past five, out me bed”

“And it’s often I’m stood on the fells wi’ their food,
…and this bit I want you to heed!
All them yows and them tups - but if just ONE turns up,
I still give the poor beggar ‘is feed”

Parson C. was in shock. All that talk about Flocks?
“I’ll not ‘ave ‘im preachin. We’ll see!”
He thought “Wi’ God’s blessin’, I’ll teach him a lesson,
And a better one than what he’s taught me”

So the two of ‘em stayed, over an hour they prayed
They stood, then they knelt, then they sat
Singin’ hymns till quite hoarse. No organ o’course
And then a sermon for an hour after that

A lot more than he ought “That’s him taught” he thought
But says Will, as he bid him good day
“With respect, Mr C, I’m not clever like ye,
But there’s one thing I’d just like to say”

“If me flock’s needin’ fed, I’m into me shed,
And take a cart-load of feed up the fell,
But you have to be fair, if just one beggar’s there,
He doesn’t get the whole load to himsel!”

©Gary Hogg 2003