Poems

Haibun
for Sheila Murphy

Reading Sheila’s book and stirring the porridge is a plaiting: tactile, rhythmic. The dog barks to have such fun, or wants it. Rain primps on our tin roof, veranda dusted off, biddable as Berryman, narcissistic in its newly found pleasure. I eat the porridge, at the mere mention of which a child sings a song of praise. Nobody answers. Cynicism scoffs at such a half- pint hoofer. Limited by language building in rounds, ego is not a dirty word, fitting biorhythmic conflict within multi- veined bladders. And the verb ran away with the noun. Duncan spoke of the swarm of human speech, as, just now, galahs parlez loudly in the tall gums. Just now and still then. Wit and words and oats,

the spelling and grammar check is complete.

 

 

Duet
at Shanxi Normal University Linfen, China

As I walked out late along Paragon Road
among students going hither and thither,
I heard a trained voice – male, operatic –
singing quietly to itself, ‘Maria, Maria’,
then Mandarin lyrics. I couldn’t understand
so I asked, ‘You sing “Maria”?’
He shook his head. I said, ‘You know,
“Maria” from West Side Story ...’ He
shook his head some more – so I sang
and he joined me and we sang
down Paragon Road to the gate,
my ‘Maria’, his Chinese song.

At the gate, between smiling sentries,
I tapped him on the shoulder and said,
‘Same melody has got me thinking,
it’s the same bloody song, mate!’

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