(Note: on Seymore Street in Vancouver in the sixties there was a coffee house called The Inquisition. It was owned by Howie Bateman, and they had old folk singers from the depression era come. Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee were one of many I enjoyed. On Sunday nights there was a hootnanny in which I participated playing my banjo and guitar and singing folk songs.
The following poem was written about this coffee house.}
The Inquisition Coffee House
Bryan Sanctuary 1962 (age 17)
When the sun is chased away
By the shadows of the dying day
And all the stars start shinning bright,
Giving the world an eerie light
Then the people slowly move
Below the moon so round and smooth,
To a dark and smoky den
on which they know they all depend,
For relief from pain and strife,
So crammed in every mortal’s life.
They sit and talk and listen too
And hear the stories old and new
Of man with all his lustful ways,
And try to think of better days.
Then they stop, no word is heard
But a blues guitar and a poet’s word.
It rings out wisdom soft and true
And makes them think of realms all new.
Another guitar is played quite soft,
And a haunting voice is held, then lost.
It tells of times in the distant past
But holds them still and will always last.
Blues, the poet and light clear voices
Gives them hope and gives them choices,
Change the word, or leave it still
And let fate do what she will.
They sit and think and often say
What is right is not here today.
That we could fight and try our best
To put man through a deciding test.
He can’t be perfect but he can be good
And if be can be then he should.
They talk and talk the night away
And watch the coming of the day.
The light slips back, the shadows fade
And with it the thoughts the dark night made.
They leave in groups of one-by-one
And none are left to greet the sun.
But soon they’ll return and sit and stay
Looking for a world in a better way.