Friday, March 12, 2010

Distress, Then & Now

Last evening Fran and Howard came to dinner. They said I was looking and sounding well. I confirmed this. But when I went to undress I found I couldn’t slide my shirt off my shoulders. For ages I struggled. Eventually I gave up and called Anne. While it can be seen as a further muscular slippage it must also be acknowledged that the shirt was made to measure by a Bangkok tailor in 1995 when I was attending a UNESCO conference there. It's still a good looking shirt if tight-fitting.

Six years ago this poem was published in Recessional. I liked it when I wrote it and think it is still one of my better poems. When she launched the book Fiona Kidman said it sounded a good-life, being a pensioner. I gathered she was partial to bacon and mushrooms. Looking back, it was, then.

The Pensioner

A whiff of treachery, the body’s reluctance
to get out of bed in the morning. There is
reason to feel nervous about the outcome.

Not death, that is certain, but the trip to it.
Even cautious encouragement, the promise of
bacon and creamed mushroom on toast,

takes time to override its resistance. Recall
misty autumn mornings out early with bucket
& knife, picking field mushrooms, & the awe

at rings, fairies don’t exist they said, … but still…
the sun a pale corona through the fog. The jaunt
through the asphalt world has had its moments,

exotic brilliances & conspiracy corridors, but.
finally, feet, recognising the opportunity while
the mind’s woolgathering, swing over & out.

Lights, camera, we have action. Trousers etc.
It’s the loss of poise that irritates. Against that,
all that bother about face is of much less concern.

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