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Working Girls -- Redgum

Guest poem sent in by Jennie Godden
(Poem #807) Working Girls
 She said she came from Portland
 Where the ashen skies and leaden ocean
 Left her like the local boys, barren of emotion
 As we talked we watched the raindrops
 Running down the window
 Laundromat in Darlinghurst,
 Like a fish shop from the past.

 And her mother called her Mary
 After Mary Magdalene,
 To deny her beauty
 Would have been the greatest sin
 It was a profile in the neon and a Kings Cross Doorway lean
 To half an hour of tending someone else's tangled dream.

 There were lines of sailors, lines of speed
 Lines upon the Footpath where she stared
 When things were quiet, as night deferred to dawn.
 And the coke cups played red rover
 In the breeze that scuttled through the streets
 Taxies left for greener fields
 While Sydney stretched and yawned

 And her mother called her Mary
 After Mary Magdalene,
 There were virgins in the morning,
 She had sisters in the pain;
 And the wives would clutch their husbands
 Perhaps they shared the shame,
 'cause working streets and Weddingrings are sometimes much the same.

 She tap-danced with the buskers
 Near the subway shouting blues songs
 They remembered from their teenage years of dreamtime radio.
 And the years withdrew behind her eyes
 To let the little girl look out
 In simple childish innocence
 At drawings in the sand.

 And her mother called her Mary
 After Mary Magdalene,
 She had long dark hair and massage oil
 And a key to let you in;
 And the lines upon her face were maps of roads she'd travelled,
 Lined with people throwing stones because they didn't understand,
 That a half an hour of tenderness (perhaps they shared the same)
 'cause working streets and Weddingrings are sometimes much the same.
-- Redgum
I don't know if the Minstrels have ever had a Redgum song but I think this
Australian band deserves a mention. Like most songs it has a rhythm all of
it's own and really needs to be read out aloud and despite the fact that this
isn't a "proper" poem it's worth adding it to the list. They only thing I'm
concerned about is the accuracy of my own transcription. [I crosschecked it
against the lyrics on a Redgum site on the web - m.]

For me the imagery is wonderful, I can really see that Laundromat with water
running down the window, in Britain we still have fish and chip shops just
like that too! Other images that catch the eye include;
"dreamtime radio",
"ashen skies and leaden ocean",
"Sydney stretched and yawned".

Redgum were quite a political group, and the message here gives a new and
Interesting twist to a biblical cliché we've all heard before, i.e. "Let he
who is without sin cast the first stone".

Jennie

Links:

[broken link] http://freespace.virgin.net/steve.godden/redgum/ is an extensive Redgum site

http://hem.passagen.se/honga/database/r/redgum.html has a listing of band
members

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