new zealand electronic poetry centre

 

John Tranter 


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Backyard
 

The God of Smoke listens idly in the heat
     to the barbecue sausages
speaking the language of rain deceitfully
     as their fat dances.

Azure, hazed, the huge drifting sky shelters
     its threatening weather.
A screen door slams, and the kids come tumbling
     out of their arguments,

and the barrage of shouting begins, concerning
     young Sandra and Scott
and the broken badminton racquet and net
     and the burning meat.

Is that a fifties home movie, or the real
     thing? Heavens, how
a child and a beach ball in natural colour
     can break your heart.

And the brown dog worries the khaki grass
     to stop it from growing
in place of his worship, the burying bone.
     The bone that stinks.

Turn now to the God of this tattered arena
     watching over the rites of passage Ė
marriage, separation; adolescence
     and troubled maturity:

having served under that bright sky you may look up
     but donít ask too much:
some cold beer, a few old friends in the afternoon,
     a Southerly Buster at dusk.



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Last updated 12 October, 2003