POEM: ‘These Scholars at the Picnic One Day’ by Anne Kennedy

Anne Kennedy poem

The Sea Walks into a Wall

My poem about the hot day Susan and I

lunched by the river might be boring with just

us in it so I’ll add a man, a scholar I think

and give him an elbow to lean on while talking

to my other invention, the other scholar

who’ll be nutting out an ontological problem

and so gazing upwards glassily and of course

nestled up to me. But here’s the thing,

just for a laugh I’ll dress these scholars.

Yes, I’ll give them black serge jackets

although it’s like 30 degrees, grey flannel

trousers, thick shirts and cravats. Hey,

and a fez each, not to be pretentious

but they’ll look a little pretentious

and perhaps even be a little and Susan

will go to swim half-dressed in the river.

I’ll be a bit pissed at her for ditching me

and truth be told self-conscious at being left

the only normal one on the grass. In the

struggle to dress the men we’ve spilled

the picnic in the leaves so there’s no food.

Eventually I’ll realise that the first scholar

is not talking to the other scholar but to me

expounding on the nature of art. I will find

it boring and will be sorry I ever thought

to add these men to the lunch on the grass.

I will look away, I’ll look, reader, at you

hoping you’ll interpret my pleading expression,

take off your clothes and drop them one by one

on the grass as you come over

to rescue me.

Credit: The Sea Walks into a Wall by Anne Kennedy, Auckland University Press, RRP $24.99