Monday's poem

Oamaru Cavalcade
- David Eggleton

Who, amongst broken orders of architecture
dug from clay and finessed for glory
and carved buttery creamy milky,
could hear the parade's fanfare,
against slick top hats of cloud,
doffed to tantrum thunder and dust
flung powdering and peppering
skins of servants and swaggers strolling
after penny-farthings under bunting,
after drays that bump over drains,
as Shakespearean princes prance,
and villains stage hold-ups with cap-guns,
stealing through cloisters and granary,
up on hind legs like ships' rats ashore,
while balloonists brandish ear-trumpets
from basket and limp balloon bladder,
draped on the back of a truck,
in the general direction of bird-stuffers,
and sheepish gluttons for meat
in muttonchop whiskers,
ripping a chop off the carcase
in state on a bed of parsley
with cries of hip-hip-hooray?

Ears hung with marbled greenstone,
pantomime tohunga tear at tatu;
and Captain Cookers squeal to wheel-beaten
egg-whites, to meringue interiors,
to jumble-sale cakes, to church frontages,
from cages on utes, as tea-cups rattle
in smoky rooms, where churchwarden
pipes are puffed by surveyors
of soapsuds over tree-tops
travelling with the speed of a wet week;
paddocks cobbled by wheat-straw,
and gold in the rain.

David Eggleton is a writer living in Dunedin. His most recent collection of poems, Time of the Icebergs, was published by Otago University Press in 2010.


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