Orphan poems (3)

This is based on a true tale provided for me by my muse, she who will not be named, but who is a fund of stories about life in one of the other southern counties of Great Britain. There was a rather uppity little café which set up business in her village (and may still be there), and which made its pitch for greatness by calling itself a ‘coffee house’ , as if Dr. Johnson might pop in for a read of the newspapers, a bun, and the time to correct his dictionary’s proofs.

This poem comes close to rhyming, teetering on the edge of it, before giving in during the last verse. This is an old trick, and I make no apologies for using it. I was pleased with swapping ‘doff’ for the expected ‘dunk’, and probably should have been less pleased with my spick-and-spandex pun. Oh I don’t know. This one has never seen the light of day anywhere. It’s from May 2005, just about the time I suddenly started writing daily, and producing the poems which were published as Impossible Objects.

This is a coffee house

This is a coffee house, we say,
and not a café, nor a caff:
here you may not doff
your biscuits. This is a coffee

house, with pastries. We admit
none but the proper
with papers to prove it.
Here is no hiss, for this

is a coffee house, all spick,
no spandex. We expect
the morning to tread no mud
under our elegant chairs,

and the time of day to stay
upright. None of your bunkum,
your bicker, your backchat,
your hat with the cloud cover;

nor your common courtesy. We
do not scoff. You will not grouse
in those tones. Be off.
This is a coffee house.

You can hear the poem here:


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