The misanthrope on New Year's Eve

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Selected poems

 

The misanthrope on New Year's Eve

Half past ten, I'm off to bed.

One more whizz around the sun.

Ho hum, I'm thinking. What's the point?

If it were the solstice, maybe.

All that nonsense on TV.

And fireworks, celebrating what?

The triumph of chronology?

This year maybe I will die

and then again may not.

There's my birthyear with its dash

followed now by four new digits.

It's said that I'm cantankerous.

Curmudgeon is a word that's used

but that just means, more truly put,

I have an eye for folly.

Ten, nine, eight, seven ...

How good to sail serenely through

their universal moment

which leaps, in any case, by zones

as if compelled by law to give

an even break to every sucker.

Can longitude be so important?

Or our middling sun or planet?

Our Milky Way's just one of many.

Why is everyone so febrile?

I'll read a while; then kill the light.

By three or four my prostate

will be less sentimental.

 

 

The misanthrope at 5am

Don't bother me with reasons.

I know why they persist,

those early-rising plumbers and

those fervent electricians —

and CEOs, of course,

who need to get there first

to terrify their minions.

Each of them must start his day

by ripping through the gears,

aspiring, it would seem,

to podia of sprayed champagne

and bimbos bussing cheeks.

Each cylinder I hear

is singing to the max.

Ah, so quick from from zip to sixty —

or just a bit past that.

Their madness knows the rules, yessir,

and throttles neatly back.

Alone with my imagination

I'm conjuring their faces,

their knuckles on the wheel,

 

those nifty little gearsticks

crafted to the palm.

The show begins around four thirty.

By six the street is calm.

 

 

The misanthrope considers Facebook

Once it was the Herald only;

a letter every year or so

would claim your right to speak.

Once a month, or twice a week,

would brand you as a crank.

In those days syntax was involved;

even the unhinged would use it

and add some flourish of their own.

Opinions now are universal;

everybody's bound to have one,

often several times a day

as if by peristalsis.

Ah, the pleasure of the vent!

Not too unlike a fart

though more intelligent perhaps

and slightly less organic.

Catechisms, doxies, credos,

velleities that float a moment,

all in turn dispatched right now

upon a digit's pressure.

Hear the whoosh of its departure!

Ah, yes, that'll sort 'em out —

My own opinion, long-considered,

is 'Let's have fewer of them'.

My own will be enough.

 

 

The misanthrope considers hamstrings

Grand Final flags are up again,

just when we were done with winter.

Ah yes, the trinity of football,

Union, League and Aussie Rules —

Union once for private schools

or aspirants thereto,

League for scrappers west of Leichardt

heroic in the mud,

and AFL, that game of chance,

for dropkicks with a talent.

Now add the code forswearing hands

which, like an epidemic,

has spread around the world.

The days grow rich with injuries,

cruciate and hamstring.

Even clerks at lunchtime

are bound to crack an ankle.

And, please, don't talk to me of ballet,

those tennis players up en pointe

the basketballers' pas de deux

while setting up a dunk.

Or bother me with swimming,

its chlorine whiff and all

that lazy mathematics.

Sport builds character, ah yes!

Waterloo, they say, was won

upon the playing fields of Eton.

'And now for sport,' the TV sighs.

I reach for the remote —

and sit here in the silence, smiling.

Why won't they just grow up?

 

 

The Misanthrope in Anapaests

I had long thought amour

a disease without cure

and felt it half-witted

to be much committed.

I'd hardly a notion

concerning devotion

or thought that my house

might improve with a spouse.

I'd never been bitten,

let alone smitten,

or known that a credo

should involve the libido.

My new wife when tender

will stroke my agenda

and all you'll hear now is my smile.

 

 

Geoff PageGeoff Page is based in Canberra and has published 22 collections of poetry, two novels and five verse novels. His recent books include Gods and Uncles and PLEVNA: A Verse Biography.

Topic tags: Geoff Page, poetry

 

 

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Existing comments

Great presence, Mr Page.
Pam | 30 January 2019


Made my day
Peter Goers | 30 January 2019


Having decided to stay off Facebook for a while (even deleting the app from my phone), I particularly enjoyed reading "The misanthrope considers Facebook". :)
Lucia Pichler | 03 February 2019


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