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This is an ode to Jeb Miller Clancy,
publican of The Silk Knitter’s Fancy.
Rented out rooms by the seat of his pants, he
never saw life as forbidding or chancy.

Night after night in his tavern on Mile Street,
Jeb Miller Clance served his clients a wild streak
of savoury pies and craft beer called Hey, Wheat!
seldom bothered to tally his eat, sleep & play week.

Normally, now, in an ode of this type,
we expect our protagonist living his right
and substantial good life to encounter a fight
with some jerk and his knife, or a moll
with a history of psychos and strife.

But the aim of this verse isn’t what you might think,
for the life of Jeb Clancy, while centered on drink,
food, and bed sheets avoided the brink
of self-pity that wedges us into a chink
like a tiddly wink…

…of belief in a past or a future of doom
with barrages of fact that deny wiggle room,
See, the thing about Jeb and this jiggedy tune
is that death will o’ertake us all, later or soon,

as it did on a cold stormy October night
when Jeb took his sweetie out dancing. The light
of the moon caught them kissing just right—
when the meteor struck with spectacular might.

Today there’s a hole where the publican rests
that’s become what you might call a pilgrimage quest.
All who pay homage insist they feel blessed
by the spirit of Jeb who sees you as his guest

of The Silk Knitter’s Fancy that only admits
patrons with hunger for meat pies and wit
and a pint with good friends who begrudge not a bit
your decision to live with fine humour and grit.


Author’s Note: I mostly wrote this poem for the opportunity to say tiddly wink.

© Elaine Stirling, 2016