Pub with no bar, by Tony Maloney
It’s a lonesome for trees in The ‘Gowrie these days. For the forest has gone – with its tall Morton Bays.
Yet while chopping and flopping thick bark in the scrub – there was sense in one thing, when the folk built a pub. But now life has turned dreary and dull out this far – as the pub’s boarded up – and they’ve shut down the bar.
Yes The Ashton’s front door is banged in with a nail. There’s a sign out the front that is reading ‘For sale’. But the paint on it’s cracking – it’s been there so long. No more the shall the canecutters burst into song. And The Longpocketeers now don’t know who they are, as they gaze from the street – at a pub with no bar.
It is Covid, some say, brought the pub to its knees. Last year it was closed by the pandemic’s breeze. But while other pubs fired up their pumps and their taps when they got the green light – this pub didn’t do that. There’s no schooners sat frothing or pints in the jar – what a terrible place is a pub with no bar.
They’ve gutted the inside, some locals have said. There’s dust on the stools and the barmaid has fled. A faint flame had flickered that all would be good. But to raffle a pub – well sure, who ever could? So now I sit cursing the door from afar, as I’m outside alone – at a pub with no bar.
Well the Martins and Sheahans and Kangases too – the Finnish Kaurilas and Bottos are blue. For they’ve toiled and then oiled their throats here for four score. But The Ashton is empty – they’ll drink here no more. Nor tap to the banjo and roll a cigar – won’t somebody save us from a pub with no bar.
The time in our history when it was a sin, to govern a pub and let ‘blackfellas’ in, is banished to memory – Australia’s shame. The times they were evil and greed was to blame. Now we’re all united – one people we are – as we stare from the road at a pub with no bar.
It is lonesome in ‘Gowrie and Longpocket too, where once at the pub – we could drink the night through. The dingoes and curlews cry out in the night. The wise ancient mountains will lightning to strike. But there’s nothing so striking to rip you a scar – as to stare from the road – at a pub with no bar.