Monday, February 9, 2009

Christmas Parade

On the train my children are held
toward the sunlit window. They sway in
silence to a landscape not yet filled with
Fat Cat or Humphrey B-Bear; my son wishing

for Star Wars men & Yoda to appear.
We pass factories of ochre roofs, car yards
like gods of steel. Shops and cafés string
past in reminisce of tangy fish & garlic,
movie days of Thai food, coffee & cake.
My son interrogates me with blue eyes, his cool mouth
almost pouting, 'Are we there yet?'

At the parade, we are comfortable in second row
when a clown in red nose, striped suit, paces a single wheel
back & forth like children do in order to pee. My daughter

studies the end of the street, talks up her dancing school,
the sequin castle, Santa & Rudolph without the team.
My children love all this mayhem & noise,
even if the sun burns, even if the wind meddles.
As a family you cannot share their shade as it
threads its coolness over mums & babies in prams,
toddlers shy of motorcycles & whistlestops.
You must admit, you love the sun on the tambourines,
the beat of colour, bagpipe & sporran, a big pipe band.

It's infectious fun when the marching girls come;
a unity of spangles, each lightly twirling a baton

like ropes of hair. We let go of each other,
fantails & bon-bons caught mid-air like awkward balls
from cricketers in the score of one.
'Where is Santa?' my children need to know. No sooner
Cadillacs appear, residents waving amoré. There's a netted

boudoi, courtiers, princesses in gold lamé,
a crowned Christmas Queen holding her sceptre.
In the final car, high in his sleigh, acrobats in front,
the jolly man in red works his hands into canvas,
digs deep for the thrust of toys.
Parcels & balloons float down,

the crowd & my two children
ecstatic in the sweet rain of applause.


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Helen Hagemann's first literary collection, Evangelyne & other poems, was published by the Australian Poetry Centre in their New Poets Series 2009. 'of Arc & Shadow' is her second full collection published by Sunline Press. She has two e-books, The Joyous Lake & Par écrit: poetry of the feminine @​​docs/joyous_lake/


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