Monday, April 16, 2012

Tuesday Poem - The Panama Hat by Thom Sullivan

The Panama Hat

A man is waiting on the river-path:
an elderly man in shirtsleeves
and white cotton trousers –

with a cigarette that he smokes
down to the quick. He paces slowly
between the tumbledown brink

of the riverbank and a squat log
bested by a white panama hat.
He dabs his brow with the broad,

flat back of his hand. Uphill, along
a slope of summer olives, his wife
is picking flowers. Yellow flowers

and blue flowers. And further on
along the path, their grandchildren
are already stripping down to swim.

While I was in Adelaide I went along to the Friendly Street Reading and heard some fine poets. And one of them was Thom Sullivan. He’s a local, born there in 1982, and he studied Arts and Law there at the University of Adelaide and he works there in the public sector.  I found this poem in the Friendly Street New Poets 14.


  1. It's lovely - tender - simple - and yet each stanza has a muscularity about it around words like 'tumbledown bank' and 'to the quick' and 'slope of summer olives' - there is definition here. Thanks for your support for Tuesday Poem, Jen, all the way over in Oz. It's so good to meet all these Australian poets through you. Mary & Claire.

  2. I love the enjambment in this - it draws you down the path/poem. Thanks for sharing, Jen :)

  3. I love this kind of poetry. it draws me in and I too am picking flowers wishing I had brought a hat and wondering about the panama on the log.
    Imagine a log being bested by a panama hat....