Monday's poem

REQUIEM
- Sue Wootton


The usual Thursday route, the usual Thursday corner, round you go
and on the top cathedral step eight boys in grey trousers and school blazers
jostle and jest and joust. A rowdy show, all muscle and shout, all foot-stomp
and wrestle and sweat. An empty bus blats a filthy fart and grinds uphill

and you walk on

and stop: in its wake some other sound, full and clean, like a memory of rivers
before we milked them dry. Solemn on the highest step under an array of stony spires
they are singing, holding out their palms in gift. No teacher, no parent,
has composed this moment. This, they say, is us. Eight young men call up

a requiem from a well so deep it taps planet-flame; molten baritone
pours into the world. Every Thursday pops its little allocated square, dissolves
to unexpected holy now. All the deaths in you lift for this tenderness
and you lean a while on the curlicue fence, vow to make

a better, more beautiful home.


Sue Wootton is a Dunedin writer. She has has published two collections of poetry and a book for children. Her next poetry collection, By Birdlight, is forthcoming from Steele Roberts.

 

 

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