Gospel truths in children's stories

My grandmothers red clay pot

Earthenware circular base and balanced coolness
as the world teeters a hairline from oblivion
The heat is manageable in small aluminium cups
from deep within your endless humanity
I can feel the river pulse through your porous curves
your neck constricted and arcing to hips receptive
Filtering anger to reasoned fahrenheits
storing compassion in fissionary atoms more
Powerful than the compressed anger of your warheads
so assiduously stored in your misplaced morality.

Wisdom is terracotted and the smoothness
touches beyond the lies manufactured
Frozen and microwaved and served steaming
when your unthinking hunger sates
You stare at the children with no names
hold the next meeting of the privileged
Around this receptacle of pure
and feel the warm mud squelch between your toes
Pour yourself some water that
has been neither blessed nor cursed.

–Vinay Verma

Un éléphant

Old children's rhyme set to teach us French,
that's French the language, not the kissing,
conjured an aerial pachydermal feat
all in French: the language, not the dressing.
Unspoken truths concealed in children's songs,
gospel truth spoken as a fable.
Unmentioned elephants crowding the room
nébuleuse. Dodgy, with no label.
Spider-Man-like these graceful fatmountains
dangle on silvery webs aquiver;
elephantine tumblers serve as imagery
for cause célèbre, c'est impossible to deliver.
Think of imprisoned suspects languishing
in pest'lent pissholes 'cross the briney.
Les accusations, no trial, solely grief
and torture, daily, nightly.
Ponder the pon'drous spinning mammals high,
sure representations of unlikely
happenings, like justice 'n' bread for les pauvres;
equity selon Shelton Jackson, à la Spike Lee.
What's more unfeasible? The dim prospect
of churches selling off estates real
to house and feed and clothe les sans-abri
or elephants, webskidding with zeal?
Un éléphant qui se balançait
Sur une toile d'araignée
Trouva ce jeu si intéressant
Qu'il alla chercher un deuxième éléphant.

–Barry Gittins

Sunday conquest

A double bed is a kingdom of bounce and squirrel
energy on lazy Sunday mornings
for a tiny tyrant conceived here unimagined
who, equally demanding as the eye-glint,
burrows among bicep and breast to lie
in the overwhelming comfortable, comforting
smell of owned, known precious bodies.
In this faux democracy, (Doctor Spock and others
have much to answer for), the small, legged turbulence
flush with coltish morning wriggles, turns
till firmly ordered quiet.
Quiet persists for sixty seconds, then
back is braced on one flesh, feet on another flesh,
to push apart the universe: such power!
Threats prevail, contentment comes, until
a sleepy sibling totters to the bedside
to be welcomed in with arguments of fairness
that fail with sibling's sibling.
If the usurper cannot be despatched
to hell if possible or to purgatory
at least, a pattern's set.
Freud knew this, and Goebbels, that loving father.
Killers come from happy homes as well.

–John Upton

Vinay VermaVinay Verma is a Sydney poet and an accredited journalist with Cricket Australia. 

Barry GittinsBarry Gittins is a Melbourne writer.

John UptonJohn Upton has extensive drama credits for TV and stage over 25 years. His poetry has been published in SMH, The Age and The Australian newspapers, and in literary magazines. 

Topic tags: Vinay Verma, My grandmothers red clay pot, Barry Gittins, Un éléphant, Sunday conquest, John Upton



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