Benjamin Cornford (continued from previous
The Anchor Pub, Cambridge
Upstairs at the Anchor, young Eddie,
distracted whilst pulling a pint, loses
his eyes in the brass of the taps.
Therein, staring back, he finds himself
giant-armed, flanked by his comrade
and haloed with scattered hangings:
a photograph of Al Capone, ladies
taking tea at The Orchard, rowers
lowering their tubs, heifers
grazing in the boggy dew
and a timely rescue from a waterlogged
steam-ship foundering in a storm.
Along the racks and shelves are jugs
and busts; Nelson skulking dusty beneath
a penny farthing; Mozart beside
a bedpan and clock; Beethoven
topping a broken barometer
pitching askew to a staggered deck
and ever on in, come the customers
"This one," says Tom, "she's a delicate fawn
shot by a crossbow on a frosty morn
sublime in her sorrow, gorgeous, torn,
evanescent as she pales to lifelessness."
"Here's our moody porn star again -
overworked and glum as a college
porter, be-jowled by scratchings and lager,
he spat himself into sports casual."
Eddie throws his eyes out the window.
Below, the river, splayed
and wet as a spent horse, shrieks
with unseen children, bellows
with drunken men
and, on the patio, as on the bridge
swarms a gaggle of lusty young beauties,
all here to taste the merry delights
of his beloved England.
And he, stuck behind the bar,
with a would-be poet, sore.
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