Poetry Corner

Cultural exchange

Tyn Church and Prague Skyline by Judi Sutherland
Milo said it had to be a Pilsner
dry as a saint’s bones, so we invited
Tomasz, the Czech craft brewer,

who brought yeast through Heathrow in a plastic bag.
We used pale malt, a complicated mash,
Saaz hops (minty, grassy, herbal); ran

a slow fermentation, then we lagered it
cool in the tank for weeks and weeks,
but good things are always worth the wait.
On Tyn, a cobbled street in Prague,
we found a bar, with pavement tables,
where the English stag-night boys argued,

steadily drinking Staropromen;
‘We don’t see the benefit of being European.’
I looked around at the painted gables

of Bohemia’s peaceable heart;
‘Well, for one thing, you’re here.
Drinking this beer.’
When we racked it, we were happier
than a lion with two tails. And the yeast,
a lively souvenir from Wenceslas Square,

thriving within sight of Windsor Castle.
Republika – a Prague Spring on the taste buds,
a Velvet Revolution in tall, cold glasses.

Judi Sutherland