Of Fear and Beer

Two weird headlines today and I couldn’t choose between them,pool and beer
 so I decided to do both. Imagine two poets in a face-off,
 taking it in turn each to speak a line from their own verse
 – two poems in contrapuntal rhyme, a bit like antiphony in music.
So the story of the imaginary paedophile and the Trappist monks
might go something like this:


Fear  and  Beer

A leg
beneath the door
peeking out.
A weird sight
aggravating doubt
in its abode.
The school is told,
the changing room
according to its policy.
It must be a peeping Tom,
or some perverted paedophile,
lurking around the pool.
If only, if only, if only they knew.
But no,
it’s just the prosthetic
false member
of a disabled man
who’d innocently gone for a swim.
In truth
we don’t realise
we’re living in a state of fear.


  A keg
of ale – no more
Trappist stout.
Monastic plight.
Monks are dying out,
not à la mode.
They’re getting old,
in dire straits.
There’s deep, dark gloom,
end of a brewing odyssey
as, one by one, the monks are gone
and beer-loving fans are riled.
The monks won’t break the rules,
no-one outside the order can brew.
Oh no!
The words are prophetic.
when brewing all began,
those famous ales in the interim.
we face the demise
of centuries of Trappist beer.
17th December 2013 – headlines from the Independent

Notes:  “Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile.”  An entire class of children was evacuated from a swimming pool after a prosthetic leg was mistaken for a paedophile.  Teachers from Kings Hill Primary School in Kent spotted the leg poking out from a cubicle whilst taking their class of year 4 children swimming at Larkfield Leisure Centre.  They believed it belonged to a “peeping Tom” and after alerting staff evacuated the 60 children from the pool post-haste.  Head teacher Kerry Thomas told the Kent Messenger:“One of the members of staff had seen it, and we quickly moved the children out, and everything was dealt with in accordance with school policy.”  Yet upon investigation it was found that the leg belonged to a disabled man who had left it on the floor of the cubicle while he went for a swim.

Last orders looming for Trappist beers as Belgium’s band of brotherly brewers dies off.”  Demand for Europe’s elite Trappist beers, brewed in monastic seclusion behind abbey walls, is at an all-time high – but soon there may be no one left to make them because fewer people want to become monks.  The International Trappist Association (ITA) stipulates that only beers made by the monks themselves or under the monks’ supervision can be awarded the hallowed label of Authentic Trappist Product.  With fewer people joining an order, the breweries are struggling to find suitable recruits.


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