Poem O’ The Week: Lock In

Last Friday I led a poetry pub crawl around a series of ostensibly haunted pubs in Chester, weaving local history with ghost stories and beer. As a teetotal atheist who has been to Chester twice in his life, I was the perfect choice.

I wrote a poem for each pub we visited. Over the next few weeks, I thought I’d share a couple. The poems themselves are 80-90% turdo, but the pub histories were interesting. If it helps, imagine reading them while drunk. Or actually get bladdered before reading them.

We started the pub crawl at The Bear & Billet. In 1873, John Lennon’s grandmother was born in an upstairs room. Staff claim the pub is haunted by the ghost of a maid. According to the story, the Earl of Shrewsbury’s bailiff accused her of laziness and locked her in a room. Then he got called for by the Earl, who was 40 miles away. He forgot the maid, and when he returned, she had died. Staff claim sobs can be heard from the room where she perished.

Lock In
She’s not a girl who misses much
She’s not a girl who’s missed as such
She never missed a smudge, a touch
Of mud when scrubbing smutted boots
Of Lords with flintlock fowling guns
She swept the ash of landed Dukes
And curtseyed to her better ones

And in her cell of beam and plank
Her gums did dry, her belly shrank
While miles away, men swore and drank.
She cried out til her throat was raw
She pounded til her palms were flayed
And then she lay down on the floor
And breathed and shook and mutely prayed.

So now, when patrons raise their ales
Regale with bawdy barroom tales
A floor of fawning, well-fed males
She sobs, and marks in every face
The ruddy, dull indifferent eyes
And once they leave this homely place
And maunder slurry, drab goodbyes

They feel her fingers claw and clutch
She’s not a girl who misses much

I can do a lot better than this poem – buy my debut collection, Pub Stuntman, by way of proof.

You can also download my album of spoken word and sweet music. It’s called Jesus Buys Me Cigarettes.