Saturday, August 30, 2008

Week 8

(We'll be back with new poems on 5 October, after the holiday break.)

Janeen Brian

I am put together
with no choice in how I look.
I must resemble a nightmare
in clothes worn-in
and worn-out.
Wind tugs at them
Like sails on the ocean.
Rain wets them,
chills my insides.
heat stalks its way
through a hat
that sits crooked,
cuts off a triangle of view.

What do you see when you look at my face?
When I am warm
and there is no taste
of crows’ taunts in my mouth,
then I feel the rod of my back straighten
and I feel soft
and beating inside –
can you see that on my face?
When the wind
screeches at fields,
shaves soil to dust
and tears hair from my head –
can you see that on my face?

When green tips nudge
tiny clods of earth
and push upwards to the sun –
can you see that on my face?
Does my expression
change – or not?

Each day I wake to the same view,
but long to see a sunrise.
Each day I feel there are steps
that would excite
would lead to places
my head cannot yet know.

One night, when the moon is bright
and a star swings low,
I will pluck that star and cut the rod that holds me
and I will leave the field
and make my own path
in the moonlight.

Janeen says: the idea for this poem comes from when I was driving through the countryside of South Australia. In the middle of a paddock was a scarecrow. Part of him had been created with hay bales and he was beginning to look a bit shabby. I started to wonder what a scarecrow’s life would be as like – unable to have choices and stuck facing the same direction and view each day. And I wondered if one day he might be able to have a freedom of sorts. I also think some people are content being scarecrows, doing the same things every day in the same way. Perhaps they might it find it exciting to one day make their ‘own path in the moonlight.’

Poetry exercise: Imagine yourself as an object - something with a face, such as a doll or a puppet or a garden gnome. What kind of personality would you have? What would your days be like? How would you see the world around you? How would you feel? Write a poem that shows the reader all of these things (and whatever else you can imagine).

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