I think of the man in the Eagle,
nursing his still pint, tasting the foam:
the one with the sealed eyes,
the one who’d been over the edge, the wire,
the firing even now persistent.
They came for him with goads:
tell us about what it was like,
tell us. He sat, cap flat on the table’s top,
same pitch each night in the snug
under its thick fug, staring
into a distance, seeing perhaps
nothing at all,
swatting away inquiries politely,
irises unmoving, everything focused
on the millpond of beer.
Two pints, his ration:
rising thereafter so slowly to go out
into an unyielding night,
behind as ever, mechanical prattle:
he never talks about the war.