We’re All Going Down the Pub

The call-up got heeded in the same mad rush.
One final push for weary working-men’s boots
as a regiment of missing troops
starved of army camaraderie,
hobnobbed in whiskied uniformity
with the polished shoes of escaped officers
in damp coats and downtrodden moustaches;
as hard earned pennies hurtled headlong
into the noisy night, and on this foreign soil,
this sawdust floor that was forever England,
lay the jettisoned identities of husbands and fathers
out on manœuvres in local pubs
where the menfolk had retired to fight in peace.

Where the fag smoke glazed the grubby hub
of loudening debate,drenched in an epiphany of beer,
and as thoughts of the coming struggle sank
de-commissioned wives and kids
under the muddy duckboards of football and politics,
booze-loosened tongues swilled with smoke and lager,
hands coddled the shoulders of arguable chums
and bodies lurched as close as they needed to get.
Entrenched in opinion, mired in maleness,
the solidarity of the lost. “Let’s have one more drink lads!”
before the officers whistle of the last orders bell
sent them all in staggering silence
to their individual No-mans-lands.


10 thoughts on “We’re All Going Down the Pub

  1. during my teenage years i was working in a pub at night…and there were so many of those that came directly after work and didn’t leave before we closed the doors..searching for a home when they had none..or one they thought was not worth their presence– always wondered why they didn’t try to change things…maybe they were just tired from years of war and fighting…love your poem brian

  2. That title…thought at first you erred…but noooooooooooo…the last line of the first stanza …that oxymoronic “where the menfolk had retired to fight in peace”…great line….says it all for me. I feel the maleness, the testosterone, and I also feel the quiet desperation. Great write!

  3. I worked in a pub in Newcastle while I was studying there. Your poem speaks so eloquently of the atmosphere. The only time they left early was to head up the road to St James’ Park, only to make there way back after the match, too often to drown their sorrows.

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