A small man with a big smell
when his seldom washed clothes were drying after rain.
Stubble chin, fish eye, loose lip
but always ready for0 the tankard's rim,
especially if you were buying.
One of the dark ones, relics of the Bronze Age,
whose ancestors had thrown their seed,
thin grain upon the small and bitter acres that he worked.
Only the rocks grow well in the fields of the grey hills!
At first I thought him diminished,
crushed by the land itself,
it's possession a cancer devouring
and defeat an old coat lashed round his middle with wire.
But drunk once, on a market day,
lowing and jammed like stalled beasts
into the FARMERS bar, he stumbled,
hugged me close to steady himself
and roared out loud to the heedless herd,
with arm outstretched, ******* to the world,
"****** you boys! I am still here!
Nobody heard but me,
whose ear was riven by that yell
and sprayed with rich spittle.
True though, despite the braggadocio of beer,
with the grain of him deep and compacted
like the rocks he fought, he did endure.
here's a memory of a man i knew for a while when living and working in the far west of Cornwall