Monday, March 7, 2011

Tuesday Poem - Mitsubishi Moments by Chris Wallace-Crabbe

     Mitsubishi Moments

     At peak of summer
the paddocks have all turned blonde
     like Toorak mothers.

     Those flying foxes
object to the horrid phrase,
     Bats in the belfry.

     Humans are not quite
the full sixpence, but can still
     flatter, flirt and charm.

     Presence absorbs them
and they do self-expression
     at outdoor cafés.

     With large speaking eyes
she hinted she was part of
     these exciting times.

     Like avenue elms
green political leaders
     turn out all the same:

     one learned from Stalin
the strong magic of changing
     municipal names.

     The migrant from Prague
trundles in his wheely bin
     past the limp yucca.

This poem is from Telling A Hawk From A Handsaw published by Carcenet Press in 2008.

This is a cracker of a book, and has a reproduction on the cover of a detail from an intriguing painting by Kristin Headlam. Chris is a fine reader with stage presence and I have made several reasonably energetic efforts to hear him. Chris was born in Melbourne and you do see him around the scene quite a bit. Which is great because he is a nice guy with it. He's an Emeritus Professor and is now the chair of the newly-formed Australian Poetry Ltd. I picked this poem because I liked its clarity and melancholy wit. It's funny, I think, in a sad sort of way. With Chris's work you don't have to ponder the craftmanship – that's a given. For NZ readers, Toorak is more or less Remuera.


  1. Such honesty to this poem, Jennifer. It does have that mocking humour that lifts the poem from a simple explication into a more complex statement. I think the final stanza really hits you. Fabulous. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful poet.

  2. Elizabeth, I loved the dry humour in this - it goes perfectly with the book's title.

  3. I do like the dry, but also sly, wit of this poem and the way it captures a reality that we recognise and so say: "ah, yes ..."