Play It Again

C.K. Stead

For Les Murray on his 60th Birthday, 17 October 1998

Corporate raider
in the larder
of language

with more than a tyre
to spare
and girth to go

he lacks the classic
pose of restraint
his motto

‘Never say When’
his poems pack-horses
unloaded

line by line
under a blazing sky
or in the

downpour that speaks
in gutters and spouts
of Excess.

Here the Golden
Disobedience
is practised.

Here the Dark Celt
meets Anglo-Oz. Here
the Fat Boy

cries in a cave
for his Mother
and tries to grow

into the shape
of a woman.
Here the Poor Cow

finds words to match
its beautiful eyes
and takes heart.

Here the Coolongolook
stops
to reflect and the

Jindyworobak
finds itself
sophisticate.

None-the-Les Murray
now that the Black Dog
is gone

this day brings you to
a number
cheerfully round.

Nouns will be busy
at being
verbs at doing

down the long road
where gums flap
their bark bandages

at a rush of galahs
and the world
(your reader)

urges you
in the glint of webs
and the scents of

morning
to go to your desk
and play it again.