The genius of the original Sea Gull Cellar Bar,

The one before the fire,

Was that when in position

The bartender could hear the front door

But not see it

And those who entered

Into the dark interior

Had to wait for their eyes to adjust

Before they could find their way

Through the ancient Persian carpets

Circular brass cocktail tables

Stuffed animal heads


And such.


This gave both bartender

And guests

Time to adjust

To a situation

Fraught with tension, even fear.

There are, after all, certain risks associated

With the serving and consumption

Of mind-altering and potentially deadly elixirs

Such as beer or booze

Or maraschino cherries.

Facing the bartender and guests at the bar,

Bracketing the enclosure,

Two oil paintings by way of disclosure

The Pied Piper and Cinderella.


Pay the Piper or else

In the morning everything returns

To the way it was before.

Easy to ignore

When you’re having fun.

The blowfish light by the back door

Was a subtle reminder

There is no known antidote to the poison.

The porcelain image of Sairy Gamp,

Epitaph of an old charwoman,

Embodied the truth that even the

Drunkest drunk could not ignore:

“Don’t pity me now, don’t pity me never,

I’m going to do nothing forever and ever.”


NOTE:  ‘On A Tired Housewife’: An Anonymous Poem

On going to do nothing for ever and ever: ‘On a Tired Housewife’ has become a popular comic poem, but its origins appear to have been in tragedy: the unknown charwoman who wrote it in 1905 effectively penned it as her suicide note, citing extreme fatigue as her reason for ending it all. Writing in a letter to Lady Robert Cecil about the poem, Virginia Woolf said that the jury at the coroner’s inquest found the charwoman to have been mad, ‘which proves once more what it is to be a poet in these days’. If the title of this poem is unfamiliar to you, the last line may ring some bells: shouldering the emotional and domestic labour may leave many women longing for the relative comfort of oblivion.

On a Tired Housewife

Here lies a poor woman who was always tired,
She lived in a house where help wasn’t hired:
Her last words on earth were: ‘Dear friends, I am going
To where there’s no cooking, or washing, or sewing,
For everything there is exact to my wishes,
For where they don’t eat there’s no washing of dishes.
I’ll be where loud anthems will always be ringing,
But having no voice I’ll be quit of the singing.
Don’t mourn for me now, don’t mourn for me never,
I am going to do nothing for ever and ever.’



The quote

“Don’t pity me now, don’t pity me never;

I’m going to do nothing for ever and ever.”

has been attributed to theater critic James Agate.