Read a ‘The Public House Rumbles’ by Alexandra Ewing – a poem commissioned by Pub is the Hub and INN CROWD to thank and celebrate pubs across the country for their resilience and continuing support of their local communities during the Covid-19 pandemic, despite the huge challenges they continue to face themselves.
Alexandra’s poem also marks the launch of Winter Warmers, a collection of seven heart-warming poems about pubs, specially commissioned by INN CROWD with support from Regional Literature Development Agencies across the country (including the National Centre for Writing). The poems have been written by poets in six regions across England with the aim of bringing cheer and hope to publicans, their staff and their local communities and to help keep people connected people during this challenging start to 2021. Read the poems here.
The Public House Rumbles
We hear it before we arrive
At the door you hold open like a beating heart
Voices upon chinks and clinks and sloshes and swills and bawling, singing sounds Conducted by you
Through the floorboards, within the walls, we feel your industry The weaving of art and intuition with which you
Embrace a world-sized room
With a rumble
Patience is poured
And joy rolled, tapped, lightly on the tongue fizzing with Coca-Cola from the gun and So many stories, memory eddying in the air
Lifted in the rumble
Glinting against glasses you carry in shatter-less towers Fuelled by barrels of generosity and curiosity
It smells like beer and smoke and cheese and cheer And crinkles the way packets of crisps
Are shared between staff and strangers when the movement shifts This rumble
Brave as whiskey
Bold as brass
A laugh like a bell
And a warmth unmatched, built hearth upon hearth Your house rumbles
A hum, steady and strong
Brewed, stoppered, popped with applause
That heart open with song
Worn on your sleeve next to a hand all can grasp
Beating in rhythm to your rumble.
Poet and actress Alexandra Ewing is the daughter of a former publican and grew up in pubs in Suffolk. Ewing also, until early last year, worked for a decade as the front of house in the hospitality industry, including pubs.
Alexandra Ewing said:
‘I do hope the poem will make publicans really smile and that they will feel incredibly proud of how much talent they have and how much their presence is felt, even when it doesn’t feel like it is.’
Selected pubs around the country are also receiving ‘postcards of positivity’, featuring the ‘Winter Warmers’ poem written by the poet from their region. Publicans are planning to use the postcards in food boxes, in takeaway and delivery food bags and to reach out to customers who may be at risk of experiencing feelings of loneliness.
INN CROWD is a partnership between Applause and Creative Arts East with support from the National Centre for Writing, New Writing South and Pub is the Hub. It is funded by Arts Council England.