Stranger Poem

A slam piece, came into my mind in monday­after­noon sun­shine
for your enjoyment

One Winter after­noon, fresh and clear and toasted sun warm, I was approached by a stranger
she of a coat green blue like smoke, asked me if this city was magic
pen poised rustle listen­ing paper in the springs­melling breeze,
her voice was like new leaves and paper­cuts across me

Yes I know about the kel­pie in the O’Connor wet­lands,
a most admir­able pro­ject to man­age ducks and the like
bad luck about that lab­rador,
I nearly lost my bike when I went to see it.
What else?”
“Yes I know about the con­struc­tion work­ers keep­ing a minotaur as a pet,
It’s hardly a secret
Build­ing site mazes a pop­ping up left and right around the centre
Pub­lic ser­vants and uni stu­dents now bring a ball of string with them to find their way
But that is beside the point
Can­berra! Magic! What else?”
(a mut­ter from me)
“Yes, I know that the Norse All­father is mani­fest­ing in Woden.
That will hap­pen when you name a val­ley after Him, you know.
Over there where the wind always blows
Whenever I go I’m fol­lowed by a one-eyed dog and a murder of crows
You’re just for­tu­nate that you didn’t name a town centre after Thor, or Loki, then you’d be in trouble.”


Yes, I know there have been reports of Baba Yaga in the Inner North,
and while that witch is magical, I wouldn’t say that she really con­trib­utes to the over­all magic of the place,
would you?”
“So tell me, of this city and magic”
Roused into speech, inter­rupt­ing abruptly I espoused at length about planned parks and pre­cincts, people flows and pop­u­la­tion dens­ity
par­lia­ment­ary tri­angles, pur­view for par­lance and for pen-pushing
pristine points of interest, ports of paper and pic­tures painted by plant­ing pines trees and prunus plums,
purple in per­petu­ity, pink in the spring
the pres­ci­ence of its pre­ten­tious monu­ments, oblique and per­pen­dic­u­lar, point­ing up up up to the amne­siac blue.
I looked at her, to see what she made of this more meas­ured mode of magic,
but she’d gone,
I was speak­ing to Can­berra and Can­berra alone.

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