Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Tuesday Poem

hit the road, Jack’

Our mother’s a witch

with a hooked nose

and she’s going to eat you up,”

my sister tells the postmaster’s son

after he’s overstayed

his welcome.

No second warning’s needed.

Long after he’s turned

McAllister’s corner, we still hear

the clatter of his trike’s metal tray

leaving us the gravel road

with its centre line of mayweed

and silky potholes,

once again, quiet, empty

and so much ours that if we wanted to

we could lie down

in the middle of it

and sometimes did.

Kay McKenzie Cooke

This is a poem from my next collection titled 'born to a red-headed woman'. Each poem has as its title the name of a song that is relevant to the time in which the poem is set - which in the case of this poem, is the early 1960's. The song, 'Hit The Road Jack' was a hit for Ray Charles in 1961 when I was eight years old and in Standard One.

On my recent trip back to Orepuki, I stood at what we knew as McAllister's corner and took a photo that shows the view down towards the ocean and town, thus standing once again on 'our road' almost fifty years on from the time the poem describes.

For more poetry, go to Tuesday Poem .


Catherine said...

I'm enjoying dropping in every Tuesday - look forward to the new book

Tim Jones said...

Though the view is different, I once lived near a road corner like that, not so many miles away: it was in Otatara, not Orepuki, and there were more trees around, but the narrow tarsealed road stretching off into the distance looked much the same. I never thought of laying down on it, though.

S.L. Corsua said...

I like your sister already. The seven-year old with the fashionable white handbag in the photo in the previous post? The handbag makes me like her tons more. (Have a happy birthday celebration this Friday, Kay.)

I like reading family poems that are (or read as though they fully are) grounded on real events. Here, I get a sense of that, of roots. Such poems cling well to memory, even to that of a stranger's. So thanks for sharing it. Cheers.

Kathleen Jones said...

I really liked this poem. I liked the economy of words and the humour.

Kay Cooke said...

Catherine - Thanks - I was surprised that Blogger's 'Scheduling' option worked - I blogged even when I didn't have access to a computer - felt a little remote tho'.

Tim - It's an a-typical little Southland gravel road isn't it? (And yes, I often used to lie down on it! - it was so quiet - not used by much more than the odd tractor and of course the grader).

S.L. thanks! :) This was actually another sister - I have three! Yes it is all very real - thanks for your kind comments.

Kathleen - Thanks - much appreciated! :)

richardg said...

I've recently discovered you and am most impressed.
"hit the road jack' and "Sometime" were both very evocative so hope that new book is not too far away.
Keep up the good work.

Kay Cooke said...

Richard - Thank you - much appreciated.

Clocking Out

 I have been neglecting this blog for some months. I think perhaps I should face facts and accept that it is indeed time to retire this blog...