Alcoholic Memories, a poem

salford pub 70s

Alcoholic memories

Brandy in hot water, to fend off ill health;

“Hot toddies” to aid sleep, when “full of a cold”

Wine mixed with water, for the children of the house;

“Snowballs” and rum and coke for a 70’s girl;

Highland Park whisky- when older- neat and peaty.

But alcoholic memories also of an “outside world”,

Viewed  through the windows on a street-scene long ago.

Foreign sailors, from the Docks, swapping a watch for cash

To spend in the pubs and to pay for a “lady of the night”;

Staggering, booze-filled old men,

Leaving the pub for the afternoon,

When “Time gentlemen please”

Was called-out by the Landlord;

Heading to the local Café

To spend the afternoon in a thre’penny haze,

Slurping a cup of tea out of their saucer.

Watching the world outside the window,

Until the longed-for hour of “opening time”.

Then more hours of alcoholic, smoky warmth,

Screened by the stained-glass windows

In the pub on the corner, until the bell was rung again

And those that could, walked home;

And those that argued, got into street brawls,

Only removed by the waiting coppers

When they had finally slugged it out

And lay sprawled in the gutter.

The private and public worlds of alcohol use;

The convivial and the destructive – as you will.

Anon, 55-60, Female

From: Salford

Lives: Essex

Drinking Habits: Moderate