Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Parade: Liberation Day – Kevin Ireland

Parade: Liberation Day – Kevin Ireland

Think of a tree-lined city street
on an early autumn day;
fashion placards and bunting;
imagine a display
of dripping clothes
drying among the flags and signs
hung from the balconies;
think flags on to washing-lines.

People this street;
create language and breed.
Then think of, say, twenty tanks,
cornering at a terrifying speed,
powdering the paving-bricks;
imagine parachutes, drifting like thistle seed
through the gusts of autumn leaves and sticks.

Nor picture the infantry,
young, strong,
measuring with hobnails
their heroic song.
Yet make this song trail form the distance,
though the soldiers are near:
the rhytjm is significant,
the words need not be clear.

Think of a happy street
on an early autumn night;
imagine tables and chairs beneath the trees,
and the gay light
of colored globes,
swaying with flag and sign.

People this street;
create chatter and wine.
Then think of, say, a billion stars,
and a moon darting at a terrifying speed
from darkness, to darkness again.
Erase it all
with sudden drenching rain.

Now picture the infantry,
cold, damp,
measuring with hobnails
the way back to camp.
Yet make their tread trail from the distance,
though they are near:
gently imagine them,
their future is not clear.

O'Sullivan, V. (Ed.). (1979). An anthology of twentieth century New Zealand poetry. Wellington: Oxford University Press.

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