A Yoker Contrast. Poem by PAUL COLVIN

A Yoker Contrast.

With wellies and white apron on, the woman leaves the shop
To soap up all her windows wide, to watch, I had to stop.
Throwing pails of water up, to wash away the foam,
It cascades down so delicately, it’s like a little stream.

White marbled counter, feathered black, is polished, shining bright.
The floor tiles always left ‘til last, when they lock up at night.
Large wooden tables being scrubbed, vigorously by hand,
The double handed brush they use, does as it is command.

Their knuckles white with faces red from rocking to and fro
They must work hard to get it done, before it’s time to go.
The heavy bristles on the brush are tearing up the grain
But they clean away the debris to leave it right as rain.

It’s strange that when we talk of fish, we conjure up a smell
But in this shop, no bouquet here because there’s nothing stale.
The workers now are going home and some may go out dancing,
The Locarno ballroom up the town, is where they’ll find romancing!

The Other Part.

The gentlemen, all local men, they stand outside their pub.
The Anchorage will soon be packed and they will have their fill.
The vendor sells them The Pink Times, to check up on their club
They go inside to air their views, with pint and quarter gill.

A Saturday night, a busy time, a time for fights and singing,
A skirmish starts and that is stopped until he starts again.
The punches fly, the boots go in but still the tills are ringing
He crawls outside, a bloody face, the measure of his pain.

The drunken crowds pour out the pub, it must be half past ten
And gather on the corner, to say goodbye to friends.
They stagger home and cling to rails and sometimes fall in closes
But home they’ll get, it may take hours, not smelling much like roses.
They’ll go to mass, or even church, if awakened Sunday morning.
Their thumping heads and bloodshot eyes, they’re on a faithless mission.
These hypocrites, they must attend but inwardly they’re groaning.
Shaking still, a priestly fear, goads them into submission.

With service over and handshakes done, they need hair of the dog.
The only place where comfort’s found, is there behind the bar.
A lonely place inside his head, deep breathing now with mouth agog,
His brain’s still pickled, at last found heaven, drinking nectar from his jar.

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