Monday, March 10, 2014

Tuesday Poem - Tears At The Merry Muse by Alan Gould

Tears At The Merry Muse

For two loud hours one Sunday night I cried
fathoms deep among the liquid-eyed.

Charlie, Ashton, Rita, Steve and Cath,
our faces ached on seismic lines of mirth,

as brilliance streamed from us like lava flow
in manners very close to human woe.

Four stand-up comic acts, one Brit, three Oz
were this Easter evening's quick and cause,

and all they had was routine synergy
to beam us into our hilarity.

Mulled claret helped us slip our self-controls,
beakers gingered to non-verbal roles.

Reader, now, for your self conscious humour
I can't redeem one gag from all that clamour

to raise in you a thin committee smile.
Why is the cusp of laughter so erstwhile?

And yet the stars of Easter saw disperse
two hours of joy into the universe

from folk whose cheeks were starred with sorrow's reef,
who wept like children held in wildest grief,

intent beneath the star called Funny Bone
where no one was alone.

I was in Canberra recently to do two gigs. But the dates for one got into a muddle,
and then the venue for the other, the Phoenix Bar, was involved in a fire! (That
was okay in the end, we moved to the Transit Bar, and it looked set fair that the
Phonenix would rise from the ashes, as it always does.)
But I made good use of my time there by arranging a meet and a chat and a
coffee with three local poets – Alan Gould, Geoff Page and Melinda Smith.
(And of course our cafe was across the road from the beautiful art deco
building housing the Phoenix where the fire had been. It looked pretty grim,
but repairable. Not lost.)
Anyway, poets being what poets are, out came the books and we all swapped
books. “Revenue neutral” - as Geoff Page said. Good score, Jen!
First up in the Tuesday Poem blog is a little ripper from Folk Tunes (Salt
Publishing) by Alan Gould.

It was hard to pick just one poem from a solid wodge of deft and crafterly
expertise, but after Canberra I travelled on to Sydney to visit my son, and he
showed me a short doco of some American basketballers visiting North Korea.
There was the solemn rent-a-crowd waiting for the game courtside, every face
set the same, every body dressed the same. I couldn't get any sense of their
humanity. But then the Harlem Globetrotters started fooling around, like they do,
and the crowd's funny bone was tickled – and oh dear, they couldn't help it, they
had to laugh. Waves of terrified, gulping, eye-streaming laughter overtook them,
they writhed. And I could see who they were. They revealed themselves. I said
to my son, “You can't fake a laugh.”
So that's why I chose this sharp-sided, poignant poem out of all of the others. I
was in the mood to laugh along.

1 comment:

  1. So good to come to a laughing poem. I like the touch of humour here -- and I've seen the Harlem Globetrotters, too. So right: you can't help but laugh. Ingenious fun.

    I love this line here: "Why is the cusp of laughter so erstwhile?" It creates a wistful mood of memory, a fleeting moment.