The Pint

Posted by on January 10, 2019 in Writing | 2 comments

The Pint

Grumbling background noise
Brings island words around me.
A slow stream of familiar scent
From plug tobacco packed loosely in a battered pipe.

I turn to see a silent silhouette
Swaying slowly at the bar.
Aran jersey pulled, blue colored,
Under a grease stained jacket.

Another sip of the black stuff.
Another puff on the pipe
Anchored by well-worn teeth
In his salt-cured face.

Nicotine stained fingers press tightly
On the crinkled cap.
A red glow, a quick draw.
Another blue cloud rises, backlit against the open door.

No voice. No flash of eye.
The dark pillar of a man.
Like an upturned currach
Black-bellied. Open to the western sky.

The pipe goes down
As the pint goes up.
Memories and taste
Blend together in remembered haste.

A shuffle of a weathered boot.
A cough.
A well-aimed spit,
Like hardened plug, finds anchorage in ancient brass.

A push of the glass.
Another pint. A nod.
No words spoken
And silence never broken.

Eyebrows like thatch above
Those dark brown eyes,
Buried in a wrinkled world
Of remembered terror in a black night at sea.

Hands worn like burled hazel.
Worn inside smooth and hard
From years of oars
And pounding surf.

No separation between
Nails and skin.
Deep ridges from years of hauling stinging meshes
On fingers, gnarled and almost worn away.

A quiet movement, slow and even paced.
He pushes away into the night.
And casts off from the bar,
Like moon warmed skins of tar.

Denis Hearn 2015

2 Comments

  1. Evocative. Observed, painted with words and here for me. Thank you, Denis.

  2. This island character just stood there at the bar like he was on the deck of a ship. He was silent there alone with his pint and his world.

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