Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My Religious Poem (1)

As part of my performance as feature poet at the Traverse Poetry Slam in Canberra on 31 August, I performed This is My Religious Poem.

Writing this poem began with the title. I then collected my thoughts on what would represent my religion. I found quite a miscellany of images, which surprised me a little but ultimately was as I should have anticipated.

When I perform the poem, I tie the individual pieces together with a verbal representation of this surprise. I change my mind - it is my religious poem, then my gratitude poem, then my love poem...

It is difficult to put those tying passages down on the page, so I am going to skip them and give you each individual sub-poem alone. Here are the first two.

This is my religious poem


1.

I stop to help a couple push

Their stalled car off the road;

Breathing steam expelled between

my locked arms take the load.

Back bent, sliding gravel gripping beneath my soles,

Finding purchase on the stilled artery,

Finding purpose in being pulled forward by their need.

2.

Sitting on the steps in the rain

I listen to the Smiths on my mp3 and watch

A raincoat girl, glistening yellow as a rubber duck,

Bob to the letterbox to post some catalogues,

Her head bowed with purpose and the

Pamphlet weight of her pack.

As she turns, beneath the beak of her hood,

She lifts her eyes and smiles.

When I raise a palm off my knee

And reflect her smile I am surprised

To realise

I am crying.

I like the rain and I like the Smiths

and I didn’t know I was crying until I tasted

salty drips.

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