25 July 2011

Tuesday Poem: Fatigues, by Barbara Strang

Often in Dunedin I notice
a tall young man
who looks like you

huddling with his girlfriend
on the damp main street.
He wears a knitted beret

in shades of faded moss
and tangerine
like ancient tartan,

his eyes gleam
in a sallow face
like the lying harbour,

his skin beneath
the wispy beard
glints like Flagstaff granite.

I can’t believe you’re
not the one haunting these streets
with a new friend

your shoulders hunched
in a greatcoat suitable
for soldiering on mountains.

Credit note: "Fatigues" was first published in JAAM 26 and is included in Barbara Strang's new collection, The Corrosion Zone (HeadworX, 2011).

Tim says: "Fatigues" is one of my favourite poems in Barbara's new collection, and it strikes me as a particularly Dunedin sort of poem, which is always a good thing. Watch out for my interview with Barbara, which will run on my blog in a couple of days.

You can read all the Tuesday Poems on the Tuesday Poem blog - the featured poem is on the centre of the page, and the week's other poems are linked from the right-hand column.


Catherine said...

I've been enjoying Barbara's collection too. I've posted another poem from the book as my Tuesday Poem this week.

Kathleen Jones said...

I like this very much - the simplicity is deceptive - and the language so spare. Lovely! And I hadn't heard of her before.

Rachel Fenton said...

There's a great soft saddness to this poem - accentuated by the contrast to the "granite". Very moving.