Sunday, January 31, 2016

Tuesday Poem - 'The Town' by Fiona Kidman

The Town

The town where I was known
when I was young had a huge
metal archway at the entrance

to the civic gardens. In spring
it was covered all over with sweet
sweeping wisteria. At the end

of the main street there was a railway
station and an avenue of green trees
that the steam engines passed

under. There were, too, vents
in the ground that billowed
with sulphurous steam and gases,

sudden fountains of boiling
water erupting from the footpaths,
yes, it was an unusual place

but I could have sworn it gentle.
But now when I return, people
who stayed on in the town

want to tell me about a girl
they once knew who they swear
was a wild one. She would go

to forbidden dance halls,
hitchhike at midnight in order
to jive, hang out in seedy dives

drinking Pimms with unsuitable
men and skinny dip in hot pools
at the drop of a skirt. (Well, I do

remember something of a night
when I kissed a boy under a hot
waterfall so perhaps we had

something in common). For
the most part the descriptions
of this girl are the history

of someone I might have come across,
glimpsed from the corner of my eye
as I studiously read serious books,

and observed, now and then,
the picturesque landscape. It is possible
this girl had a double

life, but I wouldn't recognise
her if I met her now. What I can tell
you is that that girl left town.

Fiona Kidman

I think I have met this girl Fiona writes about. I know the town. And I know that that (love the emphasis of the double that) girl left that town.

When I am reading a literary journal I am always on the qui vive for a poem that - by some prodigy of technique, or with a preternatural narrative ease, or because underground forces are at work that cannot be denied - gives me a good going over. I tap out. I submit. I even laugh a little. Well, that was a poem and a half – I say to myself. And then I email the poet and ask – Please may I post your poem on my Tuesday Poem blog? (Share the joy around, right?)

Fiona answered promptly and gave me permission to post. I enquired if the poem was to be in a forthcoming book – and it is. Due soon it appears, as I google. This Change in the Light from Godwit.

And JAAM (just another art movement) in which the poem appeared, is a mag I always like to be in, and that I always like to get in the post and sit down and read, because it is fresh and smart and knowing, with a well odd kick in its gallop.

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