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James Alistair Thomas

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London, England, UK

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Beerbelly

by

James Alistair Thomas

Oi
Have you heard of the Denmark Arms,
The big pub with a pool hall
On the south side of the estuary.

Sid Sheding took the pub,
The Brewery's first Landlord, with his
Band of bouncers threw out the thugs.
He kept peace and prospered.
He was a good Landlord.

Sid had a son, Billy. He was solid
And everybody liked him. His friends
Stood by him when he got into fights.

Eventually Sid died.
The hearse was decked out with
Beer glasses, both pints and half pints.
Darts from the dart board and pool balls
Placed around the edge of the coffin.
And on top, the prize possession,
Bees waxed pool cues, crossed.
An amazing sight, for all to see,
As the hearse wound its way to the
Graveyard, by the estuary.

Now Billy was Landlord.
Later in life he found a wife
And had a son, handsomely named Heftyone.
This son, the vicious fighter, never lost.
Even found time to father four children.
The first son, shamed, after he lost a
Fight with the lager louts of the far south.
The second son, like his father,
Never lost and became Landlord,
He was known to all as Hardguv.

It came to Hardguv's mind
To extend the pub.
When construction was done,
The pub was sharp, gold painted lamps
And more.
But best of all, was the pool hall.
Bigger than before.
Membership grew and every night
The place was full.

But the good times don't always last,
As trouble was brewing from not afar.
For In a caravan under the bridge,
That crossed the estuary,
On the edge of town, lived... Grendel.
This foul ogre, thought to be a
Gypsy, Scot or Southerner
Was refused membership to
Hardguv's pool hall.
Revenge was in the air.

Each night, after last orders
Grendel would break into the pool hall.
Rip the cloth off the tables,
Break all the cues and steal the chalk.
Also he would grind a flat edge to the pool balls,
Haven stolen them one night
To be returned the next.
Where he performed this diabolical deed
Nobody ever found out.
Mischief was his game,
And he outplayed Hardguv.
Enough!
Hardguv ordered his bouncers
To mind the pool hall.
But it was no good.
Grendel, in his filthy clothes,
Attacked the bouncers.
White shirts and black bow ties
Were ruined, no bleach could clean them.
The remaining bouncers kept
Themselves at a safe distance.

Gloom and doom
The pool hall had become.
Hardguv was miserable,
This feud with Grendel
Was too much.

Across the estuary, on the north side,
In Hayrgel's pub, news of the feud
Reached one of the drinkers ears.
Not an ordinary drinker, but the best
That trod the north bank in those days.
This nephew of Hayrgel.
Beerbelly set off, with his gang in tow.

The gang of mighty drinkers set forth.
Stacked the van with crates of sixteen,
Party packs of four and boxes of fags.
They were ready.
Fighting against the rain the
Window screen wipers worked well.
The crossing was at an end.
They had made it to the south side.

At the end of the bridge they parked the van.
With ready bellies they decided
To pub crawl to the Denmark Arms.
While debating a route
They were spotted by one of Hardguv's
Bouncers on his way to work.
Impressed by the size of Beerbelly.
He asked.
'Who are you, you're not known here'
'I am Beerbelly from the north side,
My uncle Hayrgel was a friend of Hardguv.'
Beerbelly explained he had a
Plan to rid the obscure assailant, Grendel.
The bouncer showed them the way.

Beerbelly and gang waited by the bar,
With drinks ready and steadfast stomachs
The bouncer found Hardguv in the lounge,
'A gang from north side to see you.
They look hard and want to help.
They are led by Beerbelly.'
Hardguv rejoiced. 'I know his
Uncle a fine drinker and landlord.
And his father, the travelling salesman.'

Beerbelly was led to Hardguv,
'Your troubles are known to us,
I will rid you of Grendel,
In the past I have fought Scots,
Out drank and ate them 'till they dropped.'
Hardguv was pleased but worried.
'Grendel has taken of late
To sawing off the pool table legs
So they wobble. We have no joy!'
Beerbelly, undeterred said.
'I will face him with bare belly
The fiend shall not win.
However, should I lose, please return
This personalised beer jug to my uncle.
Where it may rest on the back bar shelf
As a memory to me.
Fate will take its course.'

Then Hardguv spoke,
'Tis good that you help us, after
All I did for your dad.
He punched the District manager.
The brewery would have
Nothing to do with him.
And against all advice
I kept him here in work,
Until all was forgotten.'

'I've worked hard
To make this place smart.
But Grendel has ruined it.
My best bouncers have left
Never to return. Now sit
Here and drink. Your gang also.'

Tables were wiped,
Ashtrays cleaned, fresh beer mats laid.
The north side gang sat, drinks diminishing.
The bouncers and locals joined the fun
For tales of the old days.

Then Nomirth spoke.
'Ey you, Beerbelly. I've heard you once
Lost a fight. Against Beanstalk of all folks.
In Dudley across the canal,
So much for your tug-o-war.'

'No so.' Replied Beerbelly.
'I jumped into the lock after we had won.
Beanstalk and his team let the rope go
When they knew they were lost.
Too afraid they were to be yanked into the lock,
As fitting for more noble losers.
The crowds were thirsty for a splash.
I gave them what they wanted.
Beanstalk scurried off to the pub.
Later, I found him cowering in the corner.
As the Pie brothers were smashing
Broken pasties on his head
Because he refused to buy a one.
This they took to be an insult.'
'But' cried Nomirth, 'The pasties were hot'


Beerbelly growled.
'Beanstalk, when forced to eat one
Burnt his tongue. He had blisters for a week.
I faced the Pie brothers,
No ambush could be laid against me.
I ate the remainder of their pies.
Keeping the heat at bay
With large gulps of beer.
Beanstalk, covered with crumbs
Skulked away. No wonder he lied to you.
The shame he must bare. And you're no better,
Nomirth, for repeating false tales.
As for Grendel, I'll not shy away
from the fiend, let all witness
North side strength. If you dare stay.'

Then Hardguv, giver of beer, landlord.
Honoured Beerbelly with a game of pool.
Wendy, the peerless wife of Hardguv,
Brought refreshments to last the evening,
Smiling to all.
Time came for Hardguv to lock up.
Wendy, he, bouncers and locals
Took their leave. Leaving Beerbelly and gang
In the dark and mysterious pool hall.

Beerbelly now uncased himself of his coat,
His shirt, T-shirt and vest.
Now laid bare, best of weapons,
The belly of Beerbelly.
In boast he spoke.
'I fancy my strength in combat,
As Grendel does his.
Against this fiend,
I offer my bare stomach.
No lard shall I use to soften my skin
To glance the blows.
Grendel shall meet me as
God intended. The best shall win.'

All then found rest. On pool tables,
Beneath them, by them.
Each, on their own, wondering,
Dreading, the long night ahead.
Will they be clean tomorrow?

Gliding through the shadows came
The walker in the night.
The gang slept. All except one.
The creature ripped open the jaws of the pool hall.
And stepped on to the beer stained floor.
Grendel looked around.
Eyed one of the gang near the door.
Ripped off his shirt and ruffled his hair.

Then they eyed one another.
Grendel, the fiend Beerbelly the drinker.
Through blackened teeth, Grendel snarled
Beerbelly stood his ground.
One step forward, then another.
The air howled around the charging foes.
Dribbling Grendel proud Beerbelly.
They clashed, the fiend went flying.
Squashed against the wall, Grendel
Could not flee. Nowhere, Nowhere
Had Grendel meet a foe like this.
Mayhem and confusion reigned in the pool hall
As Grendel tried to escape.
Beerbelly ready himself to shout at Grendel,
Took a deep breath, and oh god the smell, retched.
The opportunity, slackened grip, the fiend fled.
Beerbelly reached out, grabbed his foes' hair.
Only to be left, wig in hand, standing there.

Grendel fled with flagging heart
To the caravan where he knew
There could be no relief.
No more looking in the mirror
Had long last dawned.

Beerbelly had done his stuff,
Suffered no slight affliction
As witnessed by his gut.
As a signal to all, the wig was hung
>From the lights in the centre of the hall.

Next morning workmen arrived,
Cleaners and friends. Hardguv and staff,
Bouncers as well, lent a hand.
By tea time the pool hall was cleansed,
Ready for a new grand opening.
All day word had spread of Beerbelly's feat.
When all was ready the doors were opened.
The crowd was large, unruly
And had the bouncers in a stew.
Until Hardguv came out and told them to queue.
While waiting, someone broke out a note
And in tune they sung a song.
One voice and a crowd for a chorus.

The evening had come, the landlord
Stepping glorious into the pool hall.
His wife beside him and their barmaids following.
Taking the beer crate Hardguv
Beheld the filthy wig, hanging from the
Gold painted lamp, paused then gave speech.
'With thanks to you all my woe is gone.
I suffered much grief from Grendel
And until yesterday I doubted whether
Our afflictions would find a remedy.
But one man, by courage and belly,
Has performed where my bouncers failed.
Your mother must be proud!
I take you as a son. Your glass shall
Lack for nothing, it will always be full.
A toast to you for your success yesternight.'

Beerbelly, in reply, spake.
'We took this test of courage and performed it well.
I would had preferred to have held him
Until the police could lock him up in a cell.
But at least he will plague you no longer,
As we spied him on a train, yonder!'
Nomirth, eyeing wig knew he was
Outclassed, so kept his mouth shut.
No amount of shampoo could clean that wig.

A buffet was laid on long tables,
And the barbecue in the beer garden.
But with so many people
Even a burger van was roped in.
Later when all was fill, Hardguv gave gifts.
To Beerbelly he gave.
A fine pewter jug, engraved.
A Denmark Arms T-shirt.
A pool cue and case, that no
Amount of dropping would break.
And finally, life membership to his pool club.
Bidding him to take care
And not to lose his membership card.

To the north side gang he gave
T-shirts. One for each.
And to compensate the one whom Grendel attacked.
A free appointment at his sister's salon.

Later, the tale of the Sunday football league
Championship was recited. Of how the
Denmark Arms had managed to win
After two goals down at half time.
The Arms had lost their captain and striker
After two nasty fouls from the Crown.
Half time lasted an age, and morale was low.
Even so, the Arms had to
Share their oranges with their foe.
The second half was fraught with bad tackles
And even worse passes. Then the tide changed.
At last the referee awarded a penalty against the Crown.
A goal. And more to come.
Then it was two all.
In the dying minutes, Henry of the Arms
Tackled, and won the ball off a Crown defender.
Within seconds the Crown had lost the fatal thrust.
The Arms scored. The final whistle blown.
In glory they carried the league cup
Around and around the pitch
Until ushered back to their mini bus,
For their victorious return to their pub.
All gave cheers to the team.
For some even drank there.

Wendy went quietly to Hardguv.
'With all this gaiety I hope people don't get carried away.
I'm glad Beerbelly is with our sons,
He will keep an eye on their drinking.
But I don't trust your nephew, Rufwolf.
I suspect that when we have gone to bed
He will spike our sons drinks.'
Hardguv, unconcerned replied.
'I've done Rufwolf well and made
Him my head chef. He won't dare cause us trouble.'
Wendy took a tray of drinks to Beerbelly
And bade him not to let her sons get too drunk.
Beerbelly, to his word, promised so.

Also she gave Beerbelly a new weight lifting belt.
'I know you lost your other, and this fine leather
Will support you back,
Take heed my sons! Not just beer
Makes a belly as strong as that.'
Applause filled the pool hall.
As Beerbelly stood up in reply.
And promised to council the boys
In the art of weight lifting,

Now time had come to lock up.
Most had gone home, but there
Were still some crashed out in the pool hall.
Hardguv and Wendy, too tired to care,
Feeling very happy, just left them there.

But not all was over. Grendel's mother
A monstrous ogress, was ailing for her loss.
Now lonely in her caravan, was angry.
She stormed into the pool hall
And caught the lingers on.
Screaming and shouting she spat on them.
Not as frightful as Grendel but trouble enough.
When the lingers on fought back,
She knew she was no match.
Stealing some scraps, pushing over a table she ran away.
(Beerbelly was in the gents at the time)
All was in an uproar, she had even managed
To reclaim Grendel's wig.

In the morning Beerbelly was summoned out of the toilets.
Having spent the night there, for some unknown reason.
Bleary eyed, he walked across the pool hall
Flanked by his escort. Something was amiss. Oh dear.
Hardguv, sitting on a chair, head in hands.
'Just don't say anything! Woe be tied,
Grendel's mother is not a happy bunny.
Look what she has done.
Alistair, my deputy, has resigned. She kicked him,
Pulled his hair and spat in his face.
I have lost a good man.
I don't feel quite as generous now.
Rumour had it that there were two
People in that caravan, but did we take heed!
It's not too far from here, but there are
Muddy streams to the estuary near the bridge.
When the wind blows
Its howls around those concrete legs.
Few people venture there. And now I turn to you,
Help us again and I'll grant you more rewards.'

Beerbelly, hero, drinker, gang leader, spoke.
'Fear not. I will rid you of this witch.
I like a dare. Now landlord show me the way.
Endure your woes and have patience of me.'
By noon they were off. Beerbelly and gang,
Landlord and bouncers, friends and locals.
Hangovers gone, mostly, they marched on.
They approached the caravan under the cheerless bridge.
And the waters beneath it was turbid with mud.
The men beheld rats amongst
The discarded rubbish. A stone
>From Beerbelly's hand hit a rat
And sent is running.

Nobody would cross the muddy stream,
As not one had come prepared.
Except Beerbelly who was adorning his wellies.
Over his vast bulk he put on his water proof coat.
His head encircled by its' water proof hood.
It started to drizzle and many began to despair.
Then Nomirth, lent Beerbelly, in his hour of trial,
His umbrella, unique for golf,
Never failing to open.

Had Nomirth relented to the better man?
Not so it seems. Given the opportunity to
Display his valour and hold the oversized umbrella
In the task ahead, he declined. Losing there and then
His reputation for nerve and action.

Beerbelly, togged up and almost hidden
By the umbrella, spoke.
'I'm off then, and not afraid of going on my own.
Hardguv, if I come back remember
To keep your word. And if not,
Show my gang the way home.
But give Nomirth my pool cue for this umbrella.'
Turning around he splashed into the stream
Scrambled up the far bank and was off.

With all the mud and rain it took Beerbelly
A long time to reach the caravan.
Under the bridge it was drier,
Only a little so.
Grendel's mother watched and waited,
Choosing her moment carefully.
As Beerbelly was about to knock on the door
It flung open, she grabbed his arm
And dragged him in.
Pushed into a chair and trapped behind
A table he could hardly move.
In the dim light he could see this hag.
Screaming and shouting she slapped him
And all he could do was face it.
He struggled with the umbrella, but it
Was too big for the small caravan.
Stupid thing had betrayed its name.
Struggling free he crawled along the floor.
Kicking and punching she jumped on the man.
He pushed her off, she grabbed a knife,
So he hit her with a frying pan.
What else could we expect him to do?
Later an ambulance took her away,
And now I hear, she is in
A nursing home, down a leafy grove.

Outside and away from the affray
Hardguv and all, watched and waited.
They saw the police turn up and many
Were persuaded that Beerbelly would be taken away.
They all left, except the north side gang.
Looking around the caravan, Beerbelly
Noticed many treasures, but none he would take.
The police had let him go,
He hiked his way back.
His gang rejoiced on seeing their leader.
They bore him up on their shoulders
And transported him back to the
Pool hall. No easy task for any of them.

Beerbelly, on entry to the pool hall, spoke.
'Behold, I am returned and free.
Grendel and his mother will
Trouble you no more. Not easily
Did I survive in that caravan.
And that umbrella was no good at all.
Anyway, enough of that, you are free from care.
Good times are here again my landlord.'

The wise landlord spoke.
'This is good, you will get your reward.
Not only that, all the other landlords
Now know of you.
Nowhere will bouncers block you way,
And bar stools always reserved for you.
I keep my promises, unlike that rat Herrman,
A miserable landlord he was.
Refused to pay his builders, abused his staff.
Got too big for his own boots.
He upset all his customers,
Lost everything and servers him right.
Learn from this Beerbelly, study openhandedness.
You'll be old one day,
Eating and drinking will slow
And your soul will slumber,
Be ready to stand aside
And let others fight your battles.
Be generous and pay fair.'

Today had been a long day
And the north side gang eager to be away.
Beerbelly bid Hardguv farewell,
Wendy too, and not forgetting their sons.
As Beerbelly left, Hardguv spoke.
'If you ever need a reference,
to become a landlord, or whatever,
You can always quote me.'

The gang, with their gifts, collected
Their new presents. A few crates of beer,
Some bar towels, and an ashtray or two.
Loading the van they saw the
Bouncer who had initially showed them the route.
He said. 'I've kept an eye on your van,
Chased some kids who tried to steal your wheels.'
Pleased with the bouncer they gave him
Some bottles of beer and a fag.

The weather was better, windows wound down.
Skimming the round-about and
Cutting through the traffic
The breeze blew around their hair.
On the crest of the bridge
They could see the north bank.
Soon to be home, they rejoiced.

They raced into Hayrgel's pub
To boast of their adventure.
Behind the high bar Hayrgel stood,
His young, very young wife beside him.
Hydie, is her name, sociable and discreet.
Mind it is not always so with
Other young landladies. Take Offa's wife.
She would pull short pints,
And belittle any who complained.
She would take offence to complements,
However delivered, her imagined wrong.
Many years it took Offa to
Put her in her place.
And now they stand in grace.

Hayrgel rounded the bar.
A table was cleared of non-locals
For the in incoming guests.
Drinks ordered and curiosity burned.
'Well then my nephew, what happened?
Did you alleviate those well know
Woes of Hardguv. I was worried for you.
I heard that Grendel can be nasty
And I'm glad to see you're safe.'

Thus boast Beerbelly.
'I fought the tramp and sent him off.
And now no kinsman will seek revenge.
I meet Hardguv and his sons.
We had a good time over the beer.
Wendy, what a princess, see
Look what she gave me.
Some of the boys eyed up Hardguv's daughter.
Very fetching is Finela, but spoken for.
Her fianci is Nigel of the other brewery,
His dad has a bar on the new estate.
The lads weren't too sure about this
But Hardguv seems happy enough.
There's been trouble with that brewery before,
And we suspect Nigel may bare a grudge,
As he wasn't too friendly at pool.
Anyway back to Grendel.
Not a nice chap by any measure.
He attacked Hugo first, and messed him up.
Then I stepped in. Knocked him down and held him.
I meant to keep hold of him but the state
Of his clothes and skin he got away.
Except for his wig. So upset was Grendel
That he left town the next morning.

That night we had a brilliant party,
Hardguv was in a great mood.
And we got loads of free drinks.
Later, while in the loo, Grendel's mother
Turns up and causes much commotion.
She caught Alistair, embarrassed and
Humiliated him in front of all there,
So the next morning he resigned.
Hardguv was furious but promised
Me a reward if I helped him again.

So they showed me where she lives.
I go in and get into a fight.
She is a vicious old thing but I won,
I am almost ashamed to say.
Although I didn't think the police
Would let me go.
So Hardguv rewards me. See.
Oh, and also this, Life membership
To his club.
Flourish in the use of it!'

Beerbelly gave Hayrgel the bar towels
And ashtrays to cement their union
With the Denmark Arms.
And to Hydie he gave his T-shirt.
Such was Beerbelly, he remained mellow
Even when drunk, never becoming savage.
Famous for his copious drinking and massive belly.
But his family thought him lazy
And never paid him much respect.
But now such humbling times reversed
As we see him in his glory.

Hayrgel impressed with his nephew
Decided there and then to make
Him a shift manager of his own pub,
The Goat's Horns.
With the job came the choice
Of one of the seven bar stools,
There to sit and command the bouncers.
Also, came a room in the flat above.

As time went by Hayrgel lay dead.
The bills had become too much
His ticker simply stopped. By right
The Goat's Horns should had gone
To his son but the bailiffs jumped him too.
Beerbelly stepped in and brought the broad pub.
Now came his turn to be landlord.

Many a year he ran it well: Until One began
To put forth his vision across the ageing town.
The hoard gathering Developer, with the high
Eye brows, had decided to move.
The Developer's office, locked away from all,
Except one, a thief, broke in.
Beneath a golden paper weight,
Was the Developer's plan, now gone.
Quickly discovering his loss the
Developer had to act. He was angry.

The thief had not wanted this
But necessity drove him. Wanting shelter,
On the run from a storm.
Had found his way inside. Taken with
Terror when he realised where he was
Still took the golden paper weight and plan.
There were heaps of treasures on the shelves,
All, once had a use, but now
Hardly ever glanced at except by a few.

In an age unknown to the living
The hoard gathering Developer
Had collected his treasures.
An antiquated plane, a helmet here or there,
A mail shirt that shall not jingle again,
A harp that no longer sings
And other things now stagnant
Protected from dust.
The Developer seeks out his hoard
Much good does it do him!

The thief bartered with the pawnbroker.
Then the pawnbroker beheld for the
First time the Developer's plan, still
Wrapped around the Paper weight.
This was worrying, it covered his area of town.

The developer seething with rage, waited
For night. He sought out his henchman.
At last the day was gone, he delayed no further.
They issued forth armed with fire.
Before midnight a street was ablaze.
The Developer had started his plan,
His vision must be born. Out of fire,
So sweat, he thought.
By morning they were back at the office,
Dressed for work, so they say.

Beerbelly was acquainted soon enough
With the truth of the horror, for his
Own pub was in the burnt out street.
The pawnbroker had lost his lot too,
As they shared the same clientele.
Both now struck with grief.
So the Developer was the centre of it all,
So typical, they thought.

The formidable landlord or the Goat's Horns
Planed to punish the Developer for this.
The champion of drinking men,
Chief of the landlords association,
Gave commands for the unleashing
Of his iron rod, undamaged from the recent fire.
The Developer's days were numbered.

Beerbelly decided to take a small
Troupe of bouncers with him.
The Developer would suspect trouble
If all the victims of the fire turned up.
On the way Beerbelly told his followers
How Hayrgel was slain by the bills
And his son hunted to his
End by the bailiffs. Beerbelly managed
To keep is head above water by taking
On extra jobs. Walk to work
And walked back again. Beerbelly
Has survived and made enough
To become landlord. But now, the Developer!
Anger rose in him.
In their small company included the thief,
The miserable wretch showed Beerbelly
The way he broke in.

Beerbelly made a last boast.
'Adventures in plenty I had in my youth,
With my proud belly, firm and solid.
Now it hangs with age over my belt.
I defeated Grendel with this, and many others.
My mood is strong, I go on
To meet the Developer once and for all.
Wait here, I go first.'

Beerbelly wasted no time
In trashing the Developer's office.
His rod of iron made small
Work of the draughtsman's boards,
Smashing pencils, rulers and compasses.
The Developer was injured to his soul
When Beerbelly cracked his iron rod
Into each of the wood framed,
Glass covered certificates. Twisting is his
Grief, the Developer spewed forth
Fowl language. Some of it cutting deep,
Even Beerbelly had to stand back.
Now it was too late to make is escape,
Outside he could hear the police.
They approached, one last action,
Beerbelly threw the rod of iron,
And in glory, watched it smash
The Developer's vision,
The model of the new town.

Now in the cuffs of the police,
He could boast of no more triumphs.
He knew he had to pass from this place
To the dwellings of the police cells.
The band of picked companions did not
Come to stand by him, as they had escaped
At the sounds of the sirens.
Except one, with the bonds of kinship,
Wigless, approached the police.
Sorrow filled his heart at his landlord's
Torment of the gloating Developer.

Wigless had addressed his companions.
'Remember the free drinks, peanuts and crisps,
The after hours lock ins.
All from our generous landlord.
Now the day has come for us to aid him.
Let us go and tell the police
What the Developer did to the Goat's Horn.
He does not deserve to be alone
In his last hour of distress.'
But no good was this fine speech
On the fearful ears of those cowards.

With boldness the young man
Found the Inspector in charge.
In his hand he held the plan
That would overtax the Developer.
Now it would be the worse for him.
The terrible Developer felt the threat
And tried to belittle Wigless and steal
Back the plan. For a moment he almost won,
As the constables pushed Wigless away.
But valiant Wigless battled on,
With tears in his eyes he cried his case.
Then the Inspector beheld the plan,
And with the keenest of eyes,
Struck through the Developer.

With daring they had downed their foe,
The Developer was arrested, but it was the
End of Beerbelly too, the police
Would not let him go. Thus Beerbelly spoke.
'This is the end of me. No freedom shall
I have now. But at least Developer cannot
Ruin any more lives, he'll go down longer.
Use my insurance to fight my case and
With what's left you can keep,
As I have no family to pass it on.'

At the trial many were there, the Developer
Was bankrupt, his money used to
Compensate the victims of his fire.
Honoured Beerbelly was sent down too.
Wigless led the mourners to the
Nearest watering hole, ordered the drinks,
And forecasted their future.
'Without Beerbelly amongst us
No one can get a loan to rebuild the pub.
I hear another brewery has already
Purchased the land and plan to
Build a wine bar. What chance
Have we to get in there!
Exile we face without a pub of our own.
The other locals will not welcome us
And some threaten to bar us.
Those cowards I was with could
Have prevented this and saved
Beerbelly from the police.
But no they ran away.
Only the off licence will serve them
And now they drink alone in the park.'

With flagons of beer they recited
The good old days, finding laughter at last
As the afternoon grew in to evening
Then matured into night.
The lights of the town flickered
Through the windows, and the
Ventilators swallowed the smoke.
Saying all, they agreed that Beerbelly
Was the greatest landlord, most gracious
And kindest to his customers.


World Peace Poem Submission

by

James Alistair Thomas

If through war, and not peace, I should die,
I'll face you and hold my head high.
Then by your actions, and thoughts,
I shall judge you... you have been warned!