jingle jingle!

jingle jingle!


more from the centurion bar project - photos: peter dixon


I drink the sun,
I booze the moon,
I throw planets down my neck.
In the Centurion Bar,
a thirst rages
for the sunshine in my jar,
the songs in my roaring throat.
This beautiful day,
cascade of ale,
chorus of clouds
flooding through the roof,
I think
I am very much alive.
My blood is full
as the Tyne in heat,
as the veins of Neville Street
with my misspent hours.
This temple
of Bacchus,
this church of drunkenness,
fills my head
with poems,
my eyes
alive with comely lasses,
the gleam of full and emptied glasses.
An old man sits
when he could run after them,
when he could
drink a vat of beer in anger.
Near him,
there’s Susan
who is going places,
who is bonny as the sky today.
Friends, don’t be too sad,
this life is fleeting,
this love is deep
like the light,
the light in the Centurion.


(for Jason)

It had been a long wait,

through difficult seasons,

months of dull days

lit only by cackling Geordie girls

and the odd artistic lady

with eyes like paintings.

No sign of Jack

off the train

though I knew

he was well worth waiting for.

Then all of a sudden,

with a flourish

and melting of ice,

he came

and soaked the room

with his impeccable taste,

a bitter wit that warmed your soul

in a state of Tennessee.

The Centurian

can be a lonely place

to pass the time

with only your own

aches and pains

for primitive company.

Jack could change all that,

burst open the door

to an altered


make the barmaids dance

for you

and the rest

of the human race.

Jack, you are a good friend,

fickle though you are.

I shake your open hand

and give you my true respect.

You are comradeship

in a sunny glass.

I wish you well,

a big well,

a fount

of joyful



From forthcoming Centurion celebratory publication

Armstrong's Selected Poems coming soon - plus new Jack Common biog

"There are those who tell the terrible truth in all its loveliness. Keith Armstrong is one of them, a fine poet who refuses to turn his back on the wretched of the Earth. He is one of the best and I hope his voice will be heard more and more widely."
Adrian Mitchell

the jingling geordie

My photo
whitley bay, tyne and wear, United Kingdom
poet and raconteur