Guinness Stout

Guinness Stout

“Up out of my Guinness”
—Ted Hughes,
“Stubbing Wharfe,”
Birthday Letters

It was horrible, of course—
He just sat there getting drunk

I felt like I’d been slammed—
Into a gruesome, dead-end tunnel

Forty years earlier, he said—
His drunk granddad almost drowned

He fell into the canal—
Just outside the Stubbing Wharfe

He was singing songs—
When they pulled him out

But Ted was home again—
Even if it was the moorland dregs

I couldn’t stand the aftertaste—
Bitter liquorice of Guinness Stout

But for some reason his eyes—
Were elsewhere in a black moment

I had no idea what he was—
Talking about & so I just listened

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