(ask not) for whom this bell tolls

(ask not) for whom this bell tolls
I only popped to the pub for last orders,
and to nip to the loo for toilet paper
(the pub had plenty to spare)
but at the door  
an old bloke sifting ashtrays,
like chocolate boxes,
looked in need of cheering up –
I stopped to pass the time,
‘looking for dog ends?’
‘bugger off – mind your own’
‘s’alright, mate, I don’t smoke’
‘why you looking for dog ends then?’
a swift change of subject,
‘bloody cold…the weather’
‘waddya expect? it’s bastard November’
‘global warming not bother you?’
he sneezed over my brand new Barbour,
‘life’s gettin’ ‘arder, friggin’ worser than ever’
I checked my watch – five minutes to closing,
‘you’re right I dunno what the world’s comin’ to…’
‘s’coming to a full bleedin’ stop, that’s what,
any day a nucular bleedin’ briefcase bomb
will blow us all to Timbuk-sodding-tu’
he picked a bacca strand off his lip, 
picked up a half-smoked Benson – still lit –
and took a lingering, life-affirming, drag,
‘bastards can’t even end the soddin’ world right,’
‘I agree,with you there, mate, we’re doomed,’
‘DOOMED! DOOMED!! bloody right we’re doomed,
and even doom ain’t what it used to be –
it’s piss-poor doom these days…
I remember when doom stood for summat,
you could rely on doom – a high-steppin’
black-plumed ‘orse-drawn ‘earse, silk top hat doom…
a proper doom…not a poppadoom…TA DAH!’
he convulsed with laughter
then coughed and a mouthful of blood
spattered my desert boots
a bell tolled in the public bar,
‘dolente… dolore… dolente… dolore…’ 
I wrestled with a sudden dilemma –
choking prophet or catch ‘last orders’?
‘dolente… dolore… dolente… dolore… dolente… dolore…’
my need of bog roll won the day
 as I scuttled inside for last orders,
the twelfth chime died away.

© coolhermit 2023
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CH, I don’t know what to say! You wear Barbour and desert boots and still lifting bog rolls from the pub? I am speechless.

“It’s bastard November” reminds of of the other day when I was passing a neighbour and remarked “It’s turned cold,” and he replied “That’d be the weather for yer.”

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