Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Tuesday Poem - 'Green' by Tracy Ryan


It began with marigolds
that never showed
alongside the bungalow
when I was twelve

I learned you could tend
and tend without
recompense — you either
had it or not.

Perhaps it was earlier
those broad beans we all
cajoled on damp cotton-
wool in primary school,

soil-less, dislocated
as an idea without
context, one blunt end
marked with a sly smile

or was it a lid? the blind eye
of a coconut where
they told us the milk
came out, though it looked shut

like the secret aperture
our baby sister
must have come by
that I tried to picture

somewhere near
the upper thigh
thinking it must seal over
when out of use.

I was clueless
as the broad beans, isolate,
generic, never given
a real chance

feeding no one.
Each lonely monad
aligned on the sill
worshipped in term-time

as if that would boost them,
then on the holidays
forgotten and gone
to mould.

Tracy Ryan

Frankston Library decided it had too much poetry on the shelves, so it dumped a swag of it onto the sales table amongst the other rejects. 50 cents a pop or a bag for 5 bucks.
So I was trotters in the trough, elbows out, fending off the other foragers — until I twigged that no one else was after what I was after. So I calmed down and just scooped up the lot.
(Except the self-published book of bush poetry by an old contender, because, after all, one must draw the line somewhere.)
I came home with Kelen (S.K. and Chris), Salom, Hewett. I came home with Watson, Caesar, Komninos, Croggon and Maiden.  And Yasbincek, Lenore, Kerdijk Nicholson, Tsaloumas, Wynne, Goodfellow, Skovron — and Ryan.
What a handsome book Hothouse (Fremantle Arts Centre Press 2002) is. And what a pleasure to catch up with it after all these years. I don't know how I missed it back in the day. I do remember hearing of it, I think it won a prize, but somehow or other, you know how it goes.
And as to the experience of reading the book, well — 'Hothouse comes off as a precise and lucid aggregation of effects. Without wasting a word, with quiet authority and integrity, the poet makes it plain.'

PS The cheeky things at Frankston Library were throwing out my play The Big Picture so I put that in my bag for 5 bucks and took it home.

PPS On my next visit I fell upon Weeping For Lost Babylon by Beach which somehow I had missed. I don't know how I missed it. But I had.

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