My First Drink In A Pub (1957)

Still young and green
I went to a pub
in the mill town of Halifax
and landed myself in a fix.

Few customers were chatting quietly,
one leaning against the bar nonchalantly,
the barman polishing a glass leisurely;
I approached the bar apprehensively.

‘A glass of champagne', I said.
A hush descended like a cloud,
heads turned in disbelief,
the barman stopped in his track,
and pints in hands in mid-air suspended.

For a moment I was bewildered,
then began to feel embarrassed.
The silence was at last ended,
'we don't sell champagne', he said.

The barman kept polishing the glass,
the one at the bar paused, clutching his pint,
no doubt waiting for my next gaffe.
'I will have a whisky instead, please.'
All breathed a sigh of relief.

by Isam Hussain

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