: martin dace :


Elegy on the demise of The Three Compasses pub, Rotherhithe

Forever Friday nights have lost their magic:
A pub in Rotherhithe, once full, now tragic,
Its fortune turned, like Thames' shore at low tide,
Lies all exposed, and with a skip outside.
O, late at night long-leggèd girls once strutted
Where now the pub Three Compasses lies gutted.

No more on weekend nights the noisy roar
With ev'ry opening of the saloon door,
No more the visitors from far away
From Surrey Quays and darkest Bermondsey,
No more the youths in jeans and loose T-shirt,
The almost-women with more leg than skirt,
No more the 'private' party after closing,
The disco blast and late at night carousing,
The lonely midnight cry against the din,
Shouting, "Oi it's Tracey, let me in!"

Alas! No more the evening cries are heard
Of public theatre of the absurd:
"Kevin, b____d, you're a total kn_b,
"Why don't you f____g go and get a job?"
Tracey undaunted bellows in the street,
Kevin the while is silent in defeat.

At last in groups the young things drift from sight;
Their loud farewells make echo on the night,
And some to distant homes still chattering go
To music of the in-car stereo.
skullThe lights are out and everyone has gone;
The last car door bangs shut at half past one.
This door of Paradise, so much frequented,
So often late, it now lies unlamented.

Here the dart-board leans against a wall,
The tacky pictures, carpets brown, and all
The bar, the pumps, the furnishings are gone.
A solitary table, all alone
Rests on the pavement. As a last regret
A lonely woman drags a cigarette.

Return to top of page.