The Battle for the Pub

The Battle for the Pub -A Sestina

At six p.m. I'm heading to the pub,
A local situated on my street,
The Bird in Hand is swinging on a sign
Enticing would be drinkers come inside
To sit around the crackling, cosy fire,
enjoy a hand drawn pint of foaming beer.

There's few round here who can resist a beer,
Though lately say, I don't want to buy the pub!
At this price I can't quench the raging fire
Of my thirst. I'll likely end up on the street
Or bankrupt, spend a year or two inside.
Give me an I.O.U, where do I sign?

Discerning drinkers see it as a sign,
The end of joy at quaffing down a beer,
Of congregating with your mates inside
Social spaces like your local pub.
We can't descend to drinking on the street
Bereft 0f darts or cribbage by the fire.

I heard a landlord set his place on fire,
Such was his desperation when asked to sign
For a rent increase or be thrown into the street;
A rise that couldn't be met by the price of his beer.
For he loved his job, he loved that parish pub
but could feel his mind uncoiling from inside.

Such economic woes aren't felt inside
The palaces of those shielded from the fire
Of neo-liberal thugs who want our pub,
Those oligarchic thieves who would consign
Us all to gristle pasties and small beer,
Gloating on their rampage through our street.

Unusually there's two pubs on our street
Both called Bird in Hand! I know the inside
Story. How these two purveyors of beer
Came to be named. It was in the raging fire
Of sibling rivalry, as sure a sign
As any of The Battle for the Pub.

This pub and its twin were set up on our street,
Two brothers' signs beckoning inside
To a blazing fire, pints of foaming beer.

By Arthur Richardson

Very part time poem maker. Retired from paid work.

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