Sunday, December 29, 2013

Tuesday Poem - Come again? by Vincent O'Sullivan

Come again?

I've watched again a movie I saw when I was seven.
The same trees thrashed, the same moon
glinted far too brightly, the wrong people kissed,
a fat nurse with a nice voice turned out to be German.

I sat in an Auckland theatre, I think the St James.
I chewed a hole in a white silk scarf in special
wartime terror. There were wry British jokes that went
over my head. I think I remembered the bit

about the postman, but forgot two doctors thumping
each other because a nurse couldn't quite decide.
The hole in the gnawed scarf is the taste frightening
my mouth. When the trees pelt because that

is what studios knew scared everyone awfully,
especially ladies starting to run back home in the dark,
and the moon glitters so everything is knife-edge,
I am there in the dark as well, I am still not sure

who is really bad when everyone seems nice.
I watch the eyes slide above surgical masks.
I remember the balloon that goes limp when someone's dead.
All this time the detective's been looking after my scarf.

Vincent O'Sullivan's new book - Us, then - put out by Victoria University
Press is quite something. It is one of the most enthralling and enlivening
books I have read in a long long time. There are no bum notes, no longeurs
- the reader can relax and enjoy. This is a poet who knows what he is doing.

Vincent is NZ's incumbent Poet Laureate 2013-2015.

1 comment:

  1. I particularly like this poem becuase it so clearly references a specific movie - "Green for Danger". As a long-time (former) movie reviewer, I hate poems about movies which show no evidence that the poet has ever actually enjoyed one.