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sambyfield Profile
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ANZAC Day


Tucked up in a corner a girl sketches nudes,
memorised or imagined. I approach and pluck

Poetry Review from the shelf and she looks up,
my presence unexpected in this intimate space.

She flips her page, self conscious, pretends
to read. The air conditioner sounds like surf

and the rumble of voices could be wind
through willow branches. Trying to leave

the house earlier I forgot my keys, then
my wallet, struggled with the tangled straps

of my helmet, left the carport just as a fine
rain skittered down, stinging my eyes.

Not great omens, I thought, but my legs soon
struck a rhythm and my second hand bike

responded and the rain backed off and all
was well in Carlton North. It’s April,

ANZAC Day, and up the road an old jeep
has just ploughed through a marching mass

of ex-servicemen, leaving several critical
and after all this time it seems an ironic way

to go, and far more unfortunate then having
to climb the stairs again to retrieve my keys

and wallet. More than one Melbournian
has told me that on ANZAC Day the season

changes; and today there’s enough of a chill
in the air to make sweaters a possibility,

if not a likelihood; the sketching girl wears
a dark hoody and the students are mostly

rugged up, except for the taller Chinese
who probably come from the north

and are used to the cold. Outside, great flaps
of plastic hang from the scaffolding.

The wind shakes them, one moment
a phantom the next a pair of elephants,

swaying slowly over savannah,
all bulk and momentum.
May/9/2010, 5:30 am Link to this post Send Email to sambyfield   Send PM to sambyfield
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: ANZAC Day


Classic Sam Byfield. Your penchant for loose narrative, the unexpected associations, a touch of magic realism, the imaginative thing. I have no difficulty seeing the scene(s) the poet sees. Poem is textured. Story sticks together.

Wiki clued me in on the significance of ANZAC Day. I remember seeing a movie made about the Gallipoli disaster back in the early seventies. I think it was an Australian production. I was stunned by the horror of the stalemate. Maybe you've seen the movie. It focuses on two friends who are runners. Anyway I get the significance of the day for both, then just created, national entities. Poem's treatment is justly, lyrically, understated.

Tere
May/9/2010, 2:02 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Christine98 Profile
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Re: ANZAC Day


hey Sam,

I needed to google ANZAC day too, like Tere,
I saw the movie, "Gallipoli." First time I saw Mel Gibson, he was soooo young.

The last line, "all bulk and momentum," struck me as a reference to the Gallipoli campaign itself. Maybe I read too much into it; a lovely line in any case. Impressed as always by the concrete-evocative in your poetry.

Chris

Last edited by Christine98, May/10/2010, 4:42 pm
May/10/2010, 1:11 pm Link to this post Send Email to Christine98   Send PM to Christine98
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: ANZAC Day


Hi Sam,

The matter-of-fact, almost journalistic, quality of the poem works well. The introduction of ANZAC Day (I had to look it up as well) comes as a surprise to the reader and is all the more effective for that. The last two stanzas are excellent. If I have a quibble with the poem, it would be the use of "self conscious" in S3 L1. I don't think you need to say the girl is self conscious, because the fact that she turns the page and pretends to read tells me as much.

I enjoyed the read.
May/11/2010, 4:12 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
sambyfield Profile
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Re: ANZAC Day


Thanks guys for comments on this and the other one, really useful.

sam
May/12/2010, 4:43 am Link to this post Send Email to sambyfield   Send PM to sambyfield
 


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