Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tuesday Poem: Penny Lane

 she says, I’ll get my hat 

We meet at Heketara Street
by the seawall but sometimes
if I’m early, it’s the lane
with the crabapple tree.

In truth, we meet where we
intersect. Sometimes I get as
far as her gate, she my door.
Penny’s always ripe in red

or orange wool, and old
Molly's at the end
of a Thai scarf, her hips
barely holding her legs in.

I’m scraped together, really,
bits of this and that – mended
boots, Adam’s jacket 
Ruby gasping on the lead.

– she says, there’s this poem

And there’s something in it
about being in labour
and the cabbage tree pom-poms
cheering her on but Penny 

isn’t sure it works. We walk 
under the power lines and the man
on the ladder, and we talk
about cooking cabbage trees.

Before we know it, we’re at the end
of the sealed road and touching
the gate and turning – back past
the car park and the spent condom

and the buses, back past the man
up the ladder and the woman
with the dachshund. At the lane
where we part

– she says, crabapples!

what a shame, Elsie could make
jam with them.  I get home 
and the phone rings. She's lost 
her hat, have I seen it?

I look, but we both know 
it’s not here. Within a week 
or two, she’ll arrive at  Heketara 
Street the hat on her head.

– she’ll say, I picked up a book

and there it was. And
we’ll turn into the wind.

                                  Mary McCallum

I used to treasure these walks with my friend Penny, when we were both writing and needing to talk about it. She left Eastbourne a year ago, so Ruby and I walk this walk on our own now.  I sometimes think I see Penny coming along that lane I think of as her lane. And for months, Ruby would pause and wait a moment where Penny and I used to intersect before moving on. When Penny returns for a visit, we try and do the walk. Hats and wind and all. 

Do please click here to enter the Tuesday Poem hub where our global birthday poem is posted. We had 26 poets from six countries and 12 cities posting a line at a time over a fortnight. It was terrific fun. And now it's done. Visit do. 

Happy Birthday to us. Ra Whanau ki a korua. 


Alexandra Lutyens said...

Love this poem! Such fun to read and so evocative of person and place.

maggie@at-the-bay.com said...

I so like the image of Molly at the end of a Thai scarf and Penny in red, so very evocative of her and of your friendship with her.

AJ Ponder said...

I knew I would like this as soon as I read the title - so reminiscent of Penny who has left such a quiet but gaping hole with her departure from Eastbourne.