For my next response to Les Murray’s poetry, I’ve chosen a deceptively simple four-line poem as my starting point. I suspect Murray’s poem speaks for itself. I hope that mine does too.
First Things Last
(After “Incorrigible Grace”)
Saint Vincent de Paul, old friend, my sometime tailor, I daresay by now you are feeding the rich in heaven. (Les Murray, “Incorrigible Grace”)
Grace gives surprise, like sunshine reversing floods,
like the plenty of a crop we did not sow,
a brown trickle amidst faithless dirt,
or tears that wash unbelief to the ground;
like a home found, unexpectedly, on Samaritan turf,
a harvest of smiles when we have paid only in frowns,
the mercy of a hefty but finite price for carelessness,
of lessons learnt in coins, not in souls;
or like the men who wait at the platform, tablets poised
beneath their noses, soon to learn
from the woman in the beanie with
absolutely nothing to her name.