The Black Bull



The dog curled up on the old piano stool
offered his belly to be rubbed,
the wiry man balancing on a flute case
as though it were a walking stick
said “ she hasn’t been the same
since they took the piano away.”
From either side two coal fires blazed
steaming muddy boots
as walkers in thick woollen socks
sipped strong Yorkshire ales.

Thinking of chilblains, blisters and icy rain
I took my steak-in-Guinness to the lounge
where through wide bow windows
partly bottle-glazed
the high horizon of the crowding hills
rose and fell across the crooked panes
captured in a fragile wooden net.
Above the tree line, smooth green hills
and rocky crags ignored with nonchalance
the ants nest of coming and going cars
unloading and loading backpacks and strong boots.

Before you ask:
I never enquired, thought it best just not to know
why the pub sign hung
upside down.


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