ALE Winter 2000 No. 300

Drinker's Lament

You will find him in the country, you will find him in the towns.
Occasionally you'll find him in a club.
You will know him when you meet him. The man who always frowns -
The Hatchet man who ruins a fine pub!

You know the situation, you've been going there for years.
You've friends and neighbours often in there too.
You maybe have a meal, drink one or several beers,
Relax and chat, and share a joke or two.

The landlord by the counter is the clever man in charge.
He panders to his customers' desires.
He treats them like a family, because his heart is large.
There's a barmaid there that everyone admires.

You go back just one week later, but where is the merry throng?
The landlord's changed. You have a new `mine host'.
But before you reach the bar top, the atmosphere is wrong.
He stares at you, as if you were a ghost.

You get a pint of bitter and just hope a friend comes in.
The spirit's gone, the welcome isn't there.
You try talking to this man, but he's as miserable as sin,
So next night out, you take yourself elsewhere.

Is there a special school they train them at, these sad embittered men?
A brewery plot to fix their balance sheets?
"The profit's getting larger, use the Hatchet man again,
The customers can go and walk the streets!"

There's much more to life than money in my balancing of books.
There's happiness and sharing hopes and fears.
The Hatchet man can't see this fact, because he never looks.
His boring life is simply selling beers.

There is a silver lining to this miserable plight:
The Hatchet man won't stay there very long.
Next landlord must be better, he'll get the thing put right,
And soon the pub regains its happy throng.

Patrick Elcombe

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