Sam Howell

Pub Sketch #1

Homely reflections hang on
the bar’s brass, twisting and curling
round the lamps and glasses sparkling
with a sombre glow.
Curtains of cosy colours creep round
novelty portraits and maps. A tarnished
bell’s chain flutters, neglected, in a breeze
coming from somewhere, maybe just
someone’s breath lingering in the air,
or a quiet, beer-laced thank-you floating
lonely as a cloud.
The new afternoon sun kisses the white head
of an old man in the corner like warm ash,
and sinks through an amber glass he raises
to his lips at one-minute intervals.
He turns a page of the day’s paper freshly
pressed and folded in the middle
at two-minute intervals.
He bites down on a corn-beef-and-chutney
with as much familiarity as yesterday.