“A New Shirt!” Why

                          By Paul Grano (1942)

‘A new shirt!’ Why?
I have a shirt-two-three!
worn a bit, not many days to them,
nor perhaps to me.

Paul Grano in Adelaide St, Brisbane

Soon earth’ll have one of them,
my body in it:
and later an end
to their identities – quit

wholly the shirt, and no resurrection!
and the body’s? What date?
and will it ask covering?
Let a new shirt wait

convention’s ultimate need;
much else the money buys
that may go with me
when the body dies.

The body dead and I,
senseless of the teaching Five,
suffering strange converse
would you have me strive

with my lustrous Mentor
eager to assert
‘Sir, in the sun time
I remember a shirt’?

or wouldn’t you prefer
me to recall
that day on Coot-|tha
when we saw fall

from furnace clouds
rain sifting down
like golden ash
on Brisbane Town;

or of a certain night
make cry
“Sir there was a coffee shop
and there my friend and I

sat in the far corner
of the chattering scene
elate with the fragrance
and bright bitterness of the bean,

great thoughts within us
and, by the lips of each,
not us but the vital dead
making high speech.”

A new….We’ll go to the bookshop
where small money buys
the richest minds, or out to Ashgrove’s \
twisted creek, there bellywise

to watch the ants, lumping,
(how man-like!) each its load of dirt
up sheer blade-cliffs and down-
and forget the shirt!

                          Paul Grano (1942)

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Retrospect

 

Age will not dull your eyes

 

when mine are dim;

morning will flush your cheeks

though night is grim;

 

spring-light will tint your hair

when mine is gray;

youth will be with you yet

though youth's away.

 

Love, by my leaving you

I hold you still,

my young love, my old love,

incorruptible.

 

Paul L Grano

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In a Chain Store Cafeteria

 

This is where the People take tea-

salmon rissoles, two, and chips for sevenpence,

meat pie, potato mash, a penny less-

this is where the People take tea.

Fat clenk of cheap china clashing,

clap of metal tray and rattlecade of cutlery,

and chatter…… much chatter.

This is a secret place where all is hidden

save the appetite that sevenpence assuages.

Here may we sit and plot a murder,

or write a poem, and none be wiser,

screened as we are by walls of clatter,

or merely talk of weather, or the bargains

we have purchased at the finger-tempting counters.

'Such a bargain, dear! Elastic step-ins, one and threepence….'

'Yes, dear, I always come to town to do my shopping….

'You know, dear, those suburban shops…. It's such a saving…..

'But Mr. Morgan of our corner grocery….'

 

This is where the People take tea,

with buttered crumpets two for sixpence,

and dine upon the body of old Morgan,

of Mr. Morgan of the local corner grocery,

'The Beehive, established 1890'

who yesterday gave up a ghost and filed his schedule.

Yes, this is where the People take tea.

                                                      Paul L Grano

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Praise for Little Things

 

Lord in the Sacrament, forgive me,

who am for ever asking, ever taking,

and hear my song of praise

this day in making.

 

I praise You, God, for silver-eyes

that fluster in their bath this morning;

for mares' tails that stream the skies,

and windy dawning.

 

I praise You, God, for homely sounds

of neighbours to their business falling;

of milkmen crying on their rounds

and newsboys calling.

 

I praise You, God, for this and that,

for little things – the spice and salting;

for this, my song, though it be flat

and somewhat halting.

 

Lord in the Sacrament, I ask this day

no smallest gift of all within Your making,

only I pray You, God,

this song be taking.

 

Paul L. Grano 

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