Smoke-stained wood and darts
and pints and stolid cast iron legs.
There’s safety in these, security -
the heavy regiment turns
to train its guns on the other sex.
A knowing landscape is his face,
vulgar as a scarlet cod-piece,
with sniggers of a rolling night -
agreed by these bad teeth
sneering at reputations and leering at hers
and, mocking unknowingly his lust,
this next would not touch her
with the conventional article,
so turns to spectacled thin grey face
who has a wish he too must mask
for vanity - opportunity is lacking
and he does not care to venture
in so slight a cause.
‘Bitter, love .... a nod;
the change goes firmly down.
Draughts of furtive hiding,
each knowing well a single look
would bring the spaniels panting.
Lechery inspires no fear but love
at ten past ten the only ghost unlaid.
Possessing this sanctuary alone,
these warriors will guard their own.