Geoff Stevens

at the Mermaid, Hugh Town, St. Mary's, Isles of Scilly

A pint of "Scuppered" anxiously awaits
the taste of baconed bread with brie,
the local, with the grey beard,
taps his watch at me
and volunteers that he has his eye on
the time that orders take.
"We're timin' 'em tonight", he says
before asking where I've been today.
Bryher, I tell him, and say St. Martins tomorrow,
is that alright? What's it like?
And someone says that it's the centre of world culture
and I say that where I come from the only culture we get
comes floating on top of the gravy,
and it gets a laugh
and while I'm at the bar, I get another pint of Scuppered,
and a white wine spritzer for you.
The room is full of conversation
and all the paraphenalia of the sea
is hanging on the ceiling and the walls.
The Aussie barman disappears and returns with our order.
Bacon and brie dissolves with beer and wine,
and outside, the gulls are drowning the sound of the waves.
What more could we want.