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.
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