Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Shhh Now, Baby.

I thought this lying awake at 4am had gone,
still, here it is, back again.
There's a slight ache in my lower back,
and my right knee feels strained.
The house is quiet.
For an hour, I've been lying here,
telling myself to sleep,
wondering whether to just get up
and get started on the day.

At 4am, things loom large,
and blessings are hard to count.
Minutes that pass, with no sign of sleep,
are counted more easily.
It's already 5 now, and I'm wondering again,
whether to just forget the night,
whether to just get up
extra early for my 6.30 start.

Or can I sink back to sleep?
Find the sinking spot,
where the bed finally feels comfortable again,
the pillow crisp,
aches slip away,
my body a small child now, which
I tell "shhh now - go back to sleep".
Shhhhh now, baby. Shhhhh



Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Pubs like The Cherry Arbour don't exist anymore,

Pubs like The Cherry Arbour don't exist anymore,
tucked down a back lane off the Stratford Road,
with a front bar, a back bar, a side bar,
a small lounge which no one ever used,
and a serving hatch to the hallway.
One central bar serving them all,
and the outdoor served through a separate hatch.
Old Bridie sat in the front bar,
from opening time till closing time each night,
and Irish labourers rubbed shoulders with turbaned Sikh's,
who left at 7pm prompt,
while the young Irish men stayed put
until well after closing time.
"Have you no homes to go to", we'd call,
as the landlord poured slops in the slop bucket,
and we put the towels up on the taps.
The juke box played the same song,
no matter what you picked,
and in the back bar George and Sam
played guitar, harmonica and ukelele,
and everyone drank lager, or bitter,
or mild or some mixture of the three
with the odd bottle of Guiness
and once in a while Campari and lemonade,
Or Babycham for the ladies.

When it snowed, the whole pub turned out
to help dig the car out of the snow,
and when the sun shone, the sweet smell of dope blew back in from the garden.
Pubs like The Cherry Arbour don't exist anymore,
It's all gastropubs and fine dining,
Speciality beers and microbreweries.
And young Irish men working in England
don't need to stay all night in pubs,
to avoid their digs and stay warm;
and barmaids don't take half a lager
when they're offered a drink,
or add up the cost of a round for eight people
in their heads. The slops don't go
back in the barrel in the basement,
and the landlord doesn't make
cheese and onion sandwiches
on white bread, with his own hands,
in his kitchen.
It's different days, and different pubs,
and The Cherry Arbour's not there any more,
but the values in Cherry Arbour Court are rising,
and the occupants go to gastropubs
in the city, or drive out to
quaint country pubs,
where no smell of dope blows in from the garden
when the sun shines.



Sent from my iPhone