Under a Bridge in Gloucestershire

          for Andrew Inglis

I brushed a mushroom against my cheeks, holding a drear hint of sunshine
with the other hand.  Oh to be in Gloucestershire, now that spring is here.
Time to feck a rod, snare a stoat for the sack, and, with every good manner,
share a stout with the gamekeeper’s wife.  Time passed under a convenient
bridge.  As Beth rearranged herself, my thought turned to tickling a trout –
my trousers have deep pockets, and my fly fits more than nicely.  Beth, next
Tuesday will come.  A fallow field and something to drink: what else should
a man do with his breeches?  At once, a rustle behind us.  Kind sir, what
with you with your gun?  And so, to quote a poetaster known to
Wordsworth,

*

“The ardent creature did no longer feature,
One look, perchance I mistook
My dearest wife for a trull from East Fife,
And discerning not so, to hell they both go.”
Wordsworth was right, a poetaster.  Good rhythm and metre were beyond
him.  I can’t claim omniscience, but if I did, I’d know the devil’s plans for a
summer holiday in Gloucester were predicated on wenches with broad
accents not knowing the word “no”.  Let us leave this poem, with the kine
lowing, the harvester mowing, and all go to the pub for a pint.  Incidentally,
the best pub in East Fife is now under a demolition order.  A housing
development to come, apparently.  A scourge on developers – herd them all
into dark rooms, slam the doors shut, and petition the patron saint of all
things green, Saint Patrick, to wee on their cheque books.