Thursday, July 28, 2016

Anna Couani #178 grandpa alive

my Polish grandfather refused to volunteer
in The Great War
said it was an unnecessary war
long before the Lusitania evidence
some kind of understatement
spoke English with a Scots accent
happily contradicted patriotic Aussies
in the town

his father had been teaching Polish
in the Russian partition of Poland
and exiled inside the country
the place was a mess
well the war cleared that up

Stefan age 15
set out with nothing before the war
tripping through Europe
and ending up in Scotland
came under the influence of Bolsheviks
somewhere
in the days of The Wobblies

ended up in Australia
in that small town
where I remember
a pathetic granite wall
with names of the dead
carved and with gold leaf

the lines of Dawe so apt
“the spider grief
swings in his bitter geometry”
about the Vietnam war
and that pointlessness
and periodically, sadly
after Anzac Day or Armistice Day
I guess
a pathetic wreath would appear
wilting in the blazing sun
across from the railway station
where Grandpa, alive
waited in his taxi on the taxi rank
and behind that in the park
we swung on the tall swings
in the cold emptiness

9 comments:

  1. I love th way you paint this scene, as vivid and multi-layered as a movie set

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  2. what a great story in this poem, final images just brilliant,

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  3. I really like how the words 'grandpa, alive' resonate here politically, historically, personally

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  4. great, you really capture the pathos of the wilting wreaths, and all those names on the wall, in such a small country town.

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  5. Thanks everyone, appreciate the feedback

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