John Lancaster

John Lancaster

John Lancaster is, among other things, a trombone-playing aesthete and ex-town planner. 

The Barman was published by Smith/Doorstop in 1993.


That’s what the work-men call us
as we lean on the temporary fence
and watch them build the new extension.
The brickies think it’s very funny.
Not understanding it myself,
I got some books from the trolley
they bring around each Thursday.

In Lessons in Elementary Botany
by Daniel Oliver, F.R.S., F.L.S. it says,
‘All crucifers (that includes cabbages)
are wholesome and anti-scorbutic.’
By the Dictionary, this makes us

healthy and sound,
not shabby, not vile, not mean,
not debilitated, not contemptible.

It makes them wrong in every sense.
But each day they call us cabbages
as we peer beyond their protective fence.

I slip my hand into my friend’s
and strolling across the walled-in patch
tell him it’s better like this
than to be like that,
that you should lock people up
for being like that.

(But who’ll believe that I can think
then put all this on paper?)


(from The North 5)

Titles by this author

  The Barman
The Barman

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