John Carter Brown

Ethel Winterbottom - Poem by John Carter Brown

Ethel was an ugly girl
But this was not her fault;
It stemmed from drinking beer with men
While standing in the 'vault.'

A Winterbottom through and through,
At fighting she was good;
And thick brown stout ran through her veins
Instead of pure red blood.

Yes Ethel was a bruiser,
Just like her dear old dad;
Some people reckoned she
And all her family were mad.

Her tongue was like a bayonet
And she'd cut you to the quick
For any little trifle,
Such as calling Ethel thick.

The town that Ethel came from
Was born of jet-black coal;
A mining town in Lancashire,
A miner every soul.

Where life was hard and cruel
And you needed to be tough;
Where money was hard worked for
Amongst the jet-black stuff.

Men were very lucky
To reach old age round there;
To leave the pit come pension time,
With all your limbs, was rare.

Now Ethel had three sisters,
A father and a brother;
But living hard, and thick brown stout
Had taken Ethel's mother.

She'd had to grow up quickly
And learn to stand her ground;
No funny business was allowed
When Ethel was around.

She gave her brothers blow for blow
And curse for curse as well;
No man would better Ethel
Yes, she gave the miners hell.

But now the lass was getting on
And weary of life's fights,
The daily grind among the coal,
The long and drunken nights.

No one had ever told her
This didn't have to be;
Now Ethel's in the graveyard,
But beautiful and free.

Written Jan 1996

Poet's Notes about The Poem

A totally fictional story, that came from I know not where. My father had been a miner all his working life, so maybe, subconciously, this had something to do with it. For non-British people below the age of 50 or so, the 'vault' in verse one refers to the room where, by tradition in Northern English Pubs, only the men drank... usually!

Comments about Ethel Winterbottom by John Carter Brown

  • (9/15/2012 9:05:00 AM)

    Actually I think Ethel was a lady, she just didn't know it. So fun to read! (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, August 19, 2012

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