introducing readers to writers since 1995

April 26, 2005

"Sally Playing Patience," Glyn Maxwell

by Ron Hogan
It’s even got a cinema
     the farmers like to go there
Joey, then they smoke cigars
     they have a film discussion
in a room with velvet fittings.

But what nobody tells them
     as nobody tells anyone
is all the famous actors
     and all the leading ladies
Robby you can think of

have also been escorted
     to the villages selected.
No one’s saying much about it
     Joey but these stars
in costumes and disguises

could pass us on the meadow
     or you could be hop-picking
Joey did you ever
     and next to you right there there’s
Merle Oberon, who knows,

Harry, and all the Hammers
     are operating tractors,
people with great talents
     are all to be protected
Julie for the future

so there’ll still be the pictures
     to go to when it’s over
and cups to play for Harry
     and parties and by that time
some of them will know us

you’ll stand there with your wineglass
     you don’t have to be famous
but they know you, you were there, Joey
     side by side at harvest
when stars were nothing special.

Julie, in the wheat barns
     at midnight when the work’s done
anyone could stand there
     meaning what you hope’s
their meaning. When it’s over

everyone who went there
     will have this bond forever
and we’ll bring our children out there
     in cars with silver streamlines
for the grand reunion dancing.

From The Sugar Mile. And, yes, I know I just featured this collection a few weeks ago, but tonight Maxwell interviews his former teacher, Derek Walcott, at the New York Public Library, which ought to be a darn interesting conversation.

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