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Death In The Lounge Bar Analysis

Author: Poetry of Vernon Scannell Type: Poetry Views: 219

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The bar he went inside was notA place he often visited;He welcomed anonymity;No one to switch inquisitiveReceivers on, no one could see,Or wanted to, exactly whatHe was, or had been, or would be;A quiet brown place, a place to drinkAnd let thought simmer like good stock,No mirrors to distract, no fatAnd calculating face of clock,A good calm place to sip and think.If anybody noticed thatHe was even there they'd seeA fairly tall and slender man,Fair-haired, blue-eyed, and handsome inA 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 boneWalls of skull and listen inTo whatever whisperingsPittered quietly in that dark:An excellent place to sip your gin.Then---sting of interruption! voicePierced the private walls and shookHis thoughtful calm with delicate shock.A waiter, with white napkin faceAnd shining toe-cap hair, excusedThe oiled intrusion, asking ifHis name was what indeed it was.In that case he was wanted onThe telephone the customers used,The one next to the Gents. He went.Inside the secretive warm boxHe heard his wife's voice, strangled byDistance, darkness, coils of wire,But unmistakably her voice,Asking why he was so late,Why did he humiliateHer in every way he could,Make her life so hard to face?She'd telephoned most bars in townBefore she'd finally tracked him down.He said that he'd been working lateAnd slipped in for a quick one onHis weary journey home. He'd comeBack at once. Right now. Toot sweet.No, not another drop. Not one.Back in the bar, he drank his ginAnd 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 howHe had known which customerTo summon to the telephone.The waiter said, 'Your wife describedYou, 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 satBolt upright, then it fell back dead.'Stout middle-aged and going bald.'The slender ghost with golden hairWatched him go into the coldDark outside, heard his slow treadFade towards wife, armchair, and bed.


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