Saturday, 5 June 2010

Jamie Grant

I don't know anything much about Jamie Grant, except that he is Australian and I like his poems. Most of them are pretty long, but here are a couple of amusing little ones. As someone who told an oral examiner that I washed up only the forks at home (when asked what I did to help my mother round the house, [all other kitchen implements escaped me for a moment and I didn't know the word 'vaisselle', although it is now etched on my memory]), I identify with the second one in particular:

The Surrealist Poem
My daughter composed her first surrealist poem
when I was unknotting her hair with a comb
and had paused, exasperated by a tangle,
to observe: 'Your hair is like a jungle.'
'Your hair is like an icecream parlour, Dad.'
was her instant reply; she proceeded to add:
'Jock's hair is like a pirate ship, and Emily's
hair is like a hospital.' 'And Mummy's?'
I prompted. 'Would it be a telephone or a fairy?'
'No!' the young poet concluded 'Hers is like a library.'

Mon Pere est Mort
For an oral exam, when aged thirteen
my father was asked questions in French
by a visiting professor in trench-
coat and gold-rimmed spectacles, who was lean

with the thin, pursed lips of an enemy
interrogator. He pressed my father
to say what his father's metier
was - an awkward question, for how many

schoolboys know the French for 'Real Estate
Agent'? Adopting a tragic expression
my father just replied, 'Mon pere est mort.'

The professor blushed to commiserate.
When the results of the examination
were known, my father had the highest score.


  1. haha! Love the second poem. (I wonder if I have library hair. I read so many books.....)

  2. I like the first poem, especially the notion of hair like an ice-cream parlour. That would be my idea of heaven.

  3. Nurse - What section of the library would be most in evidence?
    Madame - might get messy on a sunny day (if they exist - have just arrived in London where it is teeming)