20 September 2016

Tuesday Poem: Fey Exchange, by Harvey Molloy - and news of a joint reading in Dunedin!

My Tuesday Poem this week is "Fey Exchange", by Harvey Molloy, from his wonderful collection Udon by the Remarkables - check the poem out below.

But wait, there's more: Harvey and I will be doing a joint reading in Dunedin on Sunday 9 October, from noon-1.30pm at the Dunningham Room, 4th Floor, Dunedin Public Library. I'll have more details next week, including the poster for the event, but for now you can join the Facebook event here:


Even if you can't make it, please share this event with your Dunedin and Otago friends!

Fey Exchange

A cornflower comb in her hair
and a beetle-wing nose stud
permitted by the deputy principal
for cultural reasons. 
We are not to eat her cakes
or listen to her singing.

Peer mentors warn the entrant bullies
not to be deceived by her stature
and to accept  full responsibility
for any provoked translations.
We are not to teach history
or animal husbandry.

Paper cranes build their nests
on the light above the whiteboard.
Her greatest delight is mathematics.
Her most perplexing question:
How can we live in just three-sided space?
All term we repeat the approved answer:

We know no different.
Until the Monday we find her gone
back to where the world’s light and shape are different,
where nouns are crowned
with capital letters, and consonants
wear diacritical vowels

like a dandy wears a tricorne hat,
and at the festival of braids
the homecomers in the harbour towers
light paper lanterns
the dusty grey velvet of moth wings,
and place them on the bay’s slow water

for the faces of those they remember
back in the steel canyons of fast time,
where the rectors embroider shadows
cast by unspeakable home truths,
and there’s a series of unfortunate errors
in the academy’s final examination.

Credit note: "Fey Exchange" was published in Udon by the Remarkables (Mākaro Press, 2015) and is reproduced here by kind permission of the publisher and the author.

Tim says: I think Udon by the Remarkables is a wonderful collection, and I am looking forward very much to reading with Harvey in Dunedin. I like the sly way this poem makes good on the pun in the title, while maintaining its mystery.


Penelope said...

A fantastic poem, and good luck to you both for the reading.

Janis said...

Lovely! And best wishes for the reading from me too.