Tuesday, August 31, 2010

'The Moonmen' by Anna Livesey

On the last night the moonmen came.
We woke at an unaccustomed time and knelt by the window.
The moonmen pushed lines out in front of them,
they marked off their territories with orange markers.
The moonmen made a regular thud thud like a generator.
They walked in spaces we were used to seeing cordoned off.
It was a strange light the moonmen moved in -
a greeny glow they brought themselves, a glow that reflected
off their white suits and off the shiny visors curving stiffly
across the front of their heads.
We were leaving in the morning and so we said
'the moonmen need not concern us', and
'we will pack up the kitchen and say goodbye to the cat'.
Still, it was a funny thing they came at just that time -
I thought perhaps they were acting something out for us
while we crouched below the windowsill
and our knees grew tired and stiff.

From 'the moonmen' (VUP, 2010)

This poem has such a strong sense of mystery, but remains grounded in the real world with references to the cat, kitchen and windowsill - the solid reality that protects the poet from the 'green glow' and deliberate yet dream-like motions of the moonmen. I don't know what's happened here - it could be as simple as roadworks or as devastating as nuclear war - but the image of the crouched observers and their apparent relief at the presence of the moonmen (are they here by coincidence or necessity?) is such a perfect note to end on.

Anna Livesey's first collection of poetry, Good Luck, was published by VUP in 2003.

This week's editor is Wellington poet and teacher Saradha Koirala whose first collection Wit of the Staircase (Steele Roberts) was published in 2009. Saradha has a Nepali father and Kiwi mother who, she says, encouraged her to get out of sticky situations with wordplay and well-timed wit. 

Visit her blog, and then take time to visit the other Tuesday Poets on our live blog roll. 

This poem is published with the author's permission. 


Harvey Molloy said...

Great choice. What strikes me is the almost childlike quality of the language. The sentences that all sit on their own lines and the comfortable way she uses 'greeny' rather than over dressing the poem.

Helen Lowe said...

I think this is my favourite poem in the moonmen collection--& I love the echoes to Charlotte Grimshaw's short story (Opportunity?), the one that won the Katherine Mansfield, about the house being shifted at night.