Monday, March 12, 2018

The Paris End of '62 by Geoff Page

The Paris End of '62

In Armidale at Tatts Hotel
in 1962
the Ladies Lounge

became a bistro - but that was not
a word they knew.
The 'continental' had arrived,

a sharp, up-country coup.
The tablecloths were
chequered French

and muzak with accordions
seduced the knowing few.
We smelt the mist across the cobbles

from some romantic rue -
outside all up Beardy Street
it was our winter too.

The bread was long and thin and sliced
precisely on the skew
but memories of that meal from here

are curiously few,
chicken in the basket, maybe ...
a three-day-old ragout?

It could have been a Steak Diane
or Steak Die Anne for two.
There might have been a beaujolais

or Mudgee red for all we knew.
The philistines still stuck to beer.
The girl, or my companions, who

that night mixed up their verb or two
have slipped successively from view -
the decor and the day survive them.

It would have been around then too
I somewhat existentially discerned
the guy I'd always rhymed with Seamus

should really be Camus.

Geoff Page


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