Saturday, October 27, 2012

CCCXCIV - The Country Pub

This is not so much a poem as notes from a field trip.

The Country Pub

Wide streets, 
Wide verandahs, 
Decaying shops selling clothing and bric-a-brac from last century.  
Who but a farmer would buy a ceramic budgerigar? 

A pool of light spills from a doorway, onto the footpath.  
Stepping into the pool takes you through the doorway,
- into the Farmer’s Arms.
Noise.  White noise.  Blue noise.  Babble.
Farmers, families, friends, loners, transients, salesmen.
All ages. Together and yet apart.

Children play games with mobile phones:
small glowing  pools within a larger pool.

The dress-code is freestyle.  Dressed up.  Dressed down. 
Shorts, singlets, trousers and pressed check shirts.
Brylcream still has a market here.

Beer, more beer.  The drink of choice.  A cocktail list seems out of place.
Who here would drink a Margarita?  Who would order one?
Barmaids take orders, give cheek and stay behind the safety of the bar.

Big screens give flashing Technicolour sports highlights to a brownish room.
A notice board offers rabbit traps, dance lessons and a diesel pump, as new.

Large plates of basic food, nothing special but lots of it.
Parma and pot, the deal of the day.  And yesterday.  And tomorrow.
The roast of the day comes with roast vegetables.  And noodles.
Drowning in a clear brown, mucoid gravy.

A sullen cleaner takes away the empties.  No emotion.  No response.  
Mind elsewhere.  Where?  I wonder but don’t ask.

Walking home, passing through pools of noise and light,
spilling from other doorways onto the footpath.

Different pubs, 
Different people, 
Same gravy.

© J Cosmo Newbery 2012

Print this post


  1. The pub I frequented while living in a country town did have a cocktail. An eponymous cocktail. A nip of everything on the bottle shelf of the bar. A drink for lying down and avoiding.
    The only thing you didn't touch on here in this blast from the past, was the smell of such pubs. Fresh beer, stale beer, perspiration, nasty aftershaves and perfumes. And sheep.

    1. Fair comment - I didn't particularly notice the smell at this pub. Know what you mean though.

  2. A fantastic portrait you paint of a pub I, for one, would love to visit. The final stanza is a great signing off. In fact, rereading it, the last line of each stanza is memorable, the best of the bunch:
    Who but a farmer would buy a ceramic budgerigar? This creased me up for some reason. Thanks for an interlude of sheer pleasure.

  3. This is such a vivid description of a pub ... i can see the events happening before me through your words !!!

  4. Well, the experience sounded interesting.....but I think I would pass on the food! Probably if one has enough beer though......

  5. Obviously not "a pub with no beer." I think Mr. Kirkpatrick would approve. For several reasons.

  6. I love country pubs. I love watching the people...the regulars at the bar. I've worked/cooked in a couple and those experiences I will always value and remember fondly; particularly my time spent as relief manager of the Central Hotel in Normanton...up in the Gulf Country.

    Thanks for nudging my memories, Cosmo.

  7. Richard KennedyOctober 28, 2012

    There is something fantastic about the country. I love not feeling the need to be too self concious and I think this poem captures the welcoming spirit of the country.

  8. Cleverly and beautifully done.

  9. I enjoyed this visit to the pub.

  10. You've captured the atmosphere of an Aussie pub!

  11. Who would drink a Margarita here... sums it all up. I loved the 'who else but a farmer would buy a ceramic budgerigar'

  12. As stated the ending really makes this field trip a memorable experience.

  13. What is wrong with a ceramic bugerigar? I have one, plus a parrot...yep and I am a hobby farmer. Yewz city slickers are up yewselves.. no class.

    I do agree about about Pub food...would kill a brown dog!
    My favourite is the SULLEN look...isn't that so know that look as if you've come to steal the silver :)
    Did you ever read 'Wake in Fright'...hmmmm...time for me to set off again soon.

    1. I feed real birds and far too many far too real possums. Like one?

    2. I suppose these are euphemisms for your numerous dinner dates at Crown :)

    3. Did the gladioli table decoration give me away?

    4. There you go,knocking important icons again.

      Gladioli are excellent weapons especially when dealing with unwelcome toes pressing flesh on inside thigh over dinner.
      (Romance and the Art of Combative Dining by Dame Edna Everidge pg 6)

    5. I thought they were specifically prohibited by the Geneva Convention, Article 6. Not so, it seems.

  14. Great description. Love the last lines. They emphasize our commonality. I bet some of the qualities you highlight here, can be found in a classy bar in any metropolis. Good write.

  15. This is VERY clever - humans, observed. LOVE the farmer buying the budgerigar! Love the assorted clothing.....and LOVE your closing lines!

  16. A lot of info as befitting notes from a field trip. You enjoyed your outing, and that's important! Nicely Cosmos!


  17. I have to join the others who praised the sensory build here. I love how the tone was both personal and universal at the same time.

  18. Very poetic for something labelled not a poem:)
    I think I have been to this pub - in fact a few of them, having grown up in the country!


You've come this far - thank you.
Take your time, look around,
There is lots to see.