Three Men in a Pub

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Three Men in a Pub

They sit on bar stools like high court judges

their sphere an arc across a country inn.

They smile and nod as people come by,

hoovering the imagery. Let the evening begin.


These men are an oil painting, benign locals

of disparate ages, disparate flues

who stack comments like betting slips,

bits of wonder about others, about the derring-do.


Look who’s here tonight. Bloody hell,

she looks well in that dress. Tip top.

Their views on hem and plunge are muted:

And your man’s jumper – must be charity shop.


They are the voice of the community,

expect high standards, their concerns particular

to the village yet often universal. A politician

would do well to buy a round, be a listener.


Now, here comes that couple with frigid smiles.

They’ll sit at the same table, read the menu,

order the same as always, not say another word.

Sadness is in silence. Now, what would Jung do?


The punters come and go, speed up like galaxies

cantering around the North Star.

I wonder is this the epicentre of our universe,

three men holding up a country bar?


You’d think the Big Bang started in a place like this

detonated by the spark of a pithy comment

on a tongue with a sharp edge, and then

the guffaws of laughter, the darkness rent.


And what of the corollary, the universe implodes.

It has to end so why not implode right here

with the music down low, the voices off stage and

three men in a bar enjoying their beer.

First published in Swindon Link