Folk live the same in Struttenboune

Since the time its founders were born,

An unbroken community,

Its streets retain their unity.

Grocers, tailors, butchers, bakers,

Bank, school, pub, and undertakers,

Independent, family owned

Since when Queen Anne was on the throne.

There is nothing to keep them hale

Like a hearty pint of real ale,

Or knock the proud men off their perch

Like a sermon in the stone church,

Customs have they for so oft kept

For carnivals they are adept.

But most of all, just to be seen,

They chat and play upon the green,

Recite poems in merriment

Only found in their settlement.

What can we see, as we gaze through

Windows, of what is out of view.

A dying man calls for a priest

To read out his last rites, at least,

After an overdose of meth.

‘I see him, the Angel of Death.

All hope is doomed, He brings an axe!’

Roars out from his croaky thorax.

A whore invites her main client,

On whom she is so reliant,

Their meetings are often low key

In fact he is rather lonely

And just enjoys her company,

Kisses, cuddles and malt whiskey.

Two chess players exchange their moves

But only one of them approves,

The other can barely contain

His thoughts coursing throughout his brain,

Smashes into pieces the chair

And throws the board into the air.

Pupils led by their schoolteacher,

Gather by the floating creatures

Gliding in line across the pond

With no care for the world beyond,

The young ones raise their happy heads

To fill their beaks with moistened bread.

A nurse proudly delivers joy

To a relieved mother. ‘A boy.

My boy. You’ll grow to be a fine

Heir to the long family line.

O, to live is such a fine thing!’

While the newborn clings on, crying.

A blind fiddler skips along the

Dirty canal, playing as he

So often does, music by Brahms,

Embraces the strings in his arms

And thinks, ‘I may have lost my sight

But music is my mind’s delight.’

Two lovers kiss for the first time

At two o’clock, the church bell chimes,

One gong for each as their hearts pound

How delicate their lips now sound,

Thinking, as they sit by the well,

Those might one day be wedding bells.

In the middle of all this stands

A tall preacher in a bandstand:

‘O God, I’m sure that even you

In your wisdom and own world view

Would grant that this village has set

An example that few have met.

We have no Nobel Prize winners

Nor host any gala dinners,

For visitors no attractions;

But craftsmanship and traditions,

Moral virtues and piety,

A strong sense of propriety,

Where each offers his or her hand,

Of that we have, rare in this land.’

His speech is addressed to only

Two chestnuts mares galloping free

Over cobbled lanes as their lord’s

Bellows and whip strokes are ignored.

© 2018 AGP


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