Martin McLean

Rookie [Horsetail]

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Best Poem of Martin McLean

True Vitality

In the mid-seventies, on board a flight
From Tanga to Dar es Salaam, the seat
Next to me was taken by a woman
With baby. She was dressed unsuitably
In tweed, most probably for the first time.

She tugged repeatedly at her thick skirt,
Though it quite fully covered her knees.
I wondered whether I should promise
I would not look, then thought better of it.

The plane took off. The woman, on my side,
Pulled out her breast and then fed her baby.
Shamefaced, I reflected what little worth
Our wazungu codes of decorum had
In face of such natural life ...

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