Ye Olde Taverne by Sarah James

Ye Olde Tavern

Forget press gangs. It were never the King’s men
who pushed a man in his drink to join the Navy.

There’s a good reason for pubs’ wooden bars:
our full​ rack of plump breasts serving up pints,

yet not a glimpse of leg. Our shapely tails curve
fishboned beneath us as we sink that silver glint.

No need to waste our voices on song. We slip
​magic in his booze and know he’ll lose himself,​

while we glisten in the lap of Davy Jones’ locker.
Listen! Next time you’re on the coast, stop by

ye olde tavern, sign swinging with brine rust.
Watch closely as we handle glass, and wink.

Once our coral lips part, you’ll find oceans
in our throat, and not a boat to save you.


A prize-winning poet, short fiction writer and journalist, Sarah James‘s latest book, The Magnetic Diaries (Knives, Forks and Spoons Press), is a narrative in poems loosely based on Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. Her poetry-play version of The Magnetic Dairies is staged at Hereford’s The Courtyard in July and her next poetry collection, plenty-fish, is out with Nine Arches Press this summer. She is also editor at V. Press.


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