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Death In The Lounge Bar Analysis

Author: poem of Vernon Scannell Type: poem Views: 13

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The bar he went inside was not

A place he often visited;

He welcomed anonymity;

No one to switch inquisitive

Receivers on, no one could see,

Or wanted to, exactly what

He was, or had been, or would be;

A quiet brown place, a place to drink

And let thought simmer like good stock,

No mirrors to distract, no fat

And calculating face of clock,

A good calm place to sip and think.

If anybody noticed that

He was even there they'd see

A fairly tall and slender man,

Fair-haired, blue-eyed, and handsome in

A manner strictly masculine.

They would not know, or want to know,

More than what they saw of him,

Nor would they wish to bug the bone

Walls of skull and listen in

To whatever whisperings

Pittered quietly in that dark:

An excellent place to sip your gin.

Then---sting of interruption! voice

Pierced the private walls and shook

His thoughtful calm with delicate shock.

A waiter, with white napkin face

And shining toe-cap hair, excused

The oiled intrusion, asking if

His name was what indeed it was.

In that case he was wanted on

The telephone the customers used,

The one next to the Gents. He went.

Inside the secretive warm box

He heard his wife's voice, strangled by

Distance, darkness, coils of wire,

But unmistakably her voice,

Asking why he was so late,

Why did he humiliate

Her in every way he could,

Make her life so hard to face?

She'd telephoned most bars in town

Before she'd finally tracked him down.

He said that he'd been working late

And slipped in for a quick one on

His weary journey home. He'd come

Back at once. Right now. Toot sweet.

No, not another drop. Not one.

Back in the bar, he drank his gin

And ordered just one more, the last.

And just as well: his peace had gone;

The place no longer welcomed him.

He saw the waiter moving past,

That pale ambassador of gloom,

And called him over, asked him how

He had known which customer

To summon to the telephone.

The waiter said, 'Your wife described

You, sir. I knew you instantly.'

'And how did she describe me, then,

That I'm so easily recognized?'

'She said: grey suit, cream shirt, blue tie,

That you were fairly tall, red-faced,

Stout, middle-aged, and going bald.'

Disbelief cried once and sat

Bolt upright, then it fell back dead.

'Stout middle-aged and going bald.'

The slender ghost with golden hair

Watched him go into the cold

Dark outside, heard his slow tread

Fade towards wife, armchair, and bed.

Submitted by Andrew Mayers


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