New Zealand, (1935-89)
- So that giggly bit Nausicaa’s got him, has she?
- Then good luck to her. She’ll surely need it. If you ask me,
- it will take more than the cool clippers of her legs
- to house-trim him. Man does not love by innocence
- alone, as she’ll soon find out.
- He’ll be off when he gets the first whiff of salt
- behind her musk; then nothing to be done except
- sulk among her father’s columns, and refuse
- to play ball in skimpy gauze for a month or two,
- insisting her handmaids snivel with her, bemoaning
- her wasted hymen. Small satisfaction that, if you ask me.
- I remember crying on my own beach, a silly girl for the occasion
- of his red sail blistering my hope’s horizon;
- and what’s worse, I could see him and his mates frankly
- upending their damned wineskins only a few shiplengths
- off-coast (never mind my feelings) and staining
- the carefully laundered tunics I said goodbye with.
- Oh, he was happy to see the last of me, though
- I’d done no more than peel them to the pigs they were
- under their skiting Greek, so he’d take notice and settle down.
- Yes: the company a man keeps is his woman’s woe. You should
- have seen their table habits: wiping their fruity hands
- on the brocades, if you please, while one even
- tossed his sucked bones on the floor. I’m not what
- you’d call a homebody, but there are limits. I wasn’t
- putting up with a whole stinking fowlyard just for one prize bantam.
- It beats me why I tried so hard;
- swapping to a new face each morning, and pulling off
- tricks I thought would tickle his obvious appetite
- for the incredible-like olive trees dancing, myself
- unwinding snakes from a blank plate
- and crazing the air with all sorts of incense. Why,
- I once turned on a floor show of grade one nymphs, and
- as for loving, we tried everything from tiles to tigerskins.
- But he kept on grizzling
- about the boys in the stye, stubbing disgruntled feet
- on the shore stones, sighing: “Penelope, Penelope,” till
- I got absolutely fed up, gave him his friends and ship,
- then told him he could go sling his anchor.
- What went wrong?
- I was bride to his every whim, as indeed a woman
- had better be, who wants a man to stick in one bed.
- After all, I am Circe, chartered witch, and top wet dream
- under the moonstruck eyelids of every youth from here
- to fastidious Persia. Nausicaa, Penelope-some chance
- they’ve got. It’s not really a woman he wants, if you ask me.
About the Poet:
Richard Packer (aka: Lewis Packer), New Zealand, (1935-89) was a poet, playwright, journalist and advertising executive.
Packer was a protege of the Wellington poet Louis Johnson and was one of three poets who caused a controversy around the 1964 issue of the New Zealand Poetry Yearbook. His only New Zealand book is Prince of the Plague Country (1964).
Packer travelled extensively and never cease to question the world and the role of man and womankind in it. He was a follower of the mystical Subud movement in Indonesia, and he described himself as ‘an existentialist with a religious bias’. He also showed some influence of G. I. Gurdjieff and P. D. Ouspensky. [DES-04/18]