She’s not here

He entered our pub at nine
camel-hair-coated and silver-haired
a wealthy man
far from home
but walking to a tune of wealthy woodwind
and persuasive percussion,
he carried a frown on his lapel,
sinister and silencing.

… and we ceased talking,
about football and women hiding behind
the foam of lukewarm ale,
but the barmaid did her best to smile

she straightening her shirt
pulled the bangs from her face and asked,
“What can i get you…. sir?”

He stared with acid eyes,
and his penetrating pause
tickled each of us until he’d made sure:
“She’s not here… “,
his voice much smaller than his hands.

The barmaid poured a glass of rye,
and he drank as we watched
him shrivel to another empty husk…
… just like us.

Two Drunks by Nicolae Grigorescu

Linked to Kim’s prompt at toads. I will also link to Poetry Pantry tomorrow morning.
January 26, 2018

39 responses to “She’s not here

  1. This could be one of our local pubs, Björn! I really like the description of the man, especially:
    ‘walking to a tune of wealthy woodwind
    and persuasive percussion,
    he carried a frown on his lapel’
    and you’ve created such a poignant scene with the lines:
    ‘ “She’s not here… “,
    his voice much smaller than his hands…
    and he drank as we watched
    him shrivel to another empty husk…
    … just like us.’
    I want to find out more about this man.

  2. That is one existence that always boggles my mind – how some people are drawn to it. You have drawn the scene so well, Bjorn. I can see them all. In retreat from life, trying to drown the pain that cannot be drowned.

  3. Quite intriguing ..this one. There’s a finality to the last stanza I like. Perhaps, we’ll wait for another to walk through those pub doors and hear what they have to say.

  4. Woww! ❤️ I love absolutely love this especially; “a tune of wealthy woodwind and persuasive percussion.” Beautifully rendered, Bjorn! 😀

  5. Heartache doesn’t discriminate between the well-to-do and working class, nor does alcohol when it comes to trying to drown out pain.

  6. Great descriptive scene. When I read the title, my mind answered with the Beatles line “and he saw her standing there.”

  7. I don’t always have time to read a lot on Sundays, but I always read you, and this is why.

    I know that man. And I Love the painting.

  8. “walking to a tune of wealthy woodwind
    and persuasive percussion”

    The sense of pure sleekness evoked by those words might be the most descriptive thing I’ve read in a very long time. So much is said here: he is smooth, but can strangle you with those strong strings; he is alluring, but can certainly burst whatever plan you think you have with his drum-drum, bell, clash!

    I like lots!

  9. Brilliant. Sad that to become”like the rest of us” he has to have his hope deflated and has to swim in drink. Your poem reminds me of Edwin Arlington Robinson’s “Richard Cory”–though, of course, it’s totally different. Do you know it?

      • Richard Cory

        Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
        We people on the pavement looked at him:
        He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
        Clean favored, and imperially slim.

        And he was always quietly arrayed,
        And he was always human when he talked;
        But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
        “Good-morning,” and he glittered when he walked.

        And he was rich—yes, richer than a king—
        And admirably schooled in every grace:
        In fine, we thought that he was everything
        To make us wish that we were in his place.

        So on we worked, and waited for the light,
        And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
        And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
        Went home and put a bullet through his head.

  10. Oh this poem is dynamite, and I luv the accompanying painting.
    Happy Sunday Bjorn. and thanks for dropping by my sumie Sunday today.
    In my visits to the library I also borrow children’s books not for my granddaughter but for my enjoyment. I picked up ‘Attack of The Paper Bats by Michael Dahl’ recently. In this story there is an old librarian which reminded me of your ‘old librarian poems’

    much love…

  11. I like it. BJORN. It would have better had he remembered Arlo Guthrie’s lesson, “You can ask for anything but you can’t have Alice.”

  12. THIS IS FAB! I love poems that sketch a scene (in this case the detail fascinates with the depth of nuance) that eludes to an intriguing (and – almost certainly – sorrowful) human drama.

    I see this (in my mind’s eye) as the start – and the finish – of an engrossing novel.

  13. You really make us look like very weak creatures don’t you Bjorn? However your word picture is so beautifully drawn that I must applaud too!

  14. “walking to a tune of wealthy woodwind
    and persuasive percussion,
    he carried a frown on his lapel,
    sinister and silencing.”

    Love the scene you set with this. Wonderful character.

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