Lindsay Smith

Rookie (December 16,1939 / Mataura, Southland, New Zealand)

Opulent Riddles For The Fairies - Poem by Lindsay Smith

to a dandy lion
the rosy race no long supreme goes off
so little slight admirings become
polished blackened imagined gladiators
gone to sugar daddy
soon kissing the sweet clod
shot thru with literal fluff on the nose
& there is no better way to go
air wigs
a pate full of skaters glower
on flying bent surly white
offer snap shine first like sharp sentence
cupola copula cornucopia
well blow the doodle off a sticker's natural low
carbunkle spread
birdie breath flows freely
on this carmelite daze`
speeding the gratis pulsator
unto golden tensor
beautifully broiled
a new tome filament in pod
with corbeau drawn on the outer


Poet's Notes about The Poem

I wrote this poem in 1968 in Cashel Street, Christchurch, NZ over three nights. Unlike Partyline which took me 18 years to get right 'Opulent Riddles' has remained unchanged. It was one of the poems I recited in the great hall at Canterbury University that year with James K Baxter & Father Weir, a poet & Jim's biographer.

As an musician I have always been interested in rhythm & texture & as a poet very interested in the multiple meanings of words & the implications of the overlaying of sounds. In this piece - 'unto' sounds close to 'on to' & 'daze' like 'days.' For many years I carried a 2 volume set of the shorter Oxford Dictionary around with me & cross referenced the meaning of the words in some sort of attempt to cover all the implications rather like a composer orchestrating a score. I studied Music at Otago Uni 1963-5.

My intention was to reflect on the circle - the circle that is the fairy ring in mythology, the race track, the theatre in the round, the circle of Salvation Army bandsmen standing on a street corner & so on. But I also wanted, as in Partyline to have counterpointed theme running thru as well.

I admired the epigrams of the ancient Latin & Greek poets which I could only read translated into English. The professor of classics who I'd met at a party used to bail me up when he saw me around the university & as me to recite & he'd laugh & often say, 'pure Cattalus.' That I found interesting so I went & tried to read everything I could find about the great writers of the ancient world.

As a youth I admired the writing of Lewis Carroll because of the crazy absurd way he opened up new ways of thinking about the world.
As a Hypnotherapist now I have some understanding about where he was coming from.

I admired Edith Sitwell's work & didn't realise that I'd absorbed it so well until a friend. MA London after she heard a poem said immediately, 'Edith Sitwell.' I liked the sprung rhythm of GM Hopkins & his references to nature but not his priestly anguish. I liked Dylan Thomas.

Ezra Pound - I got the annotated index of his cantos as soon as it was published & before it was available in the shops & libraries in NZ. I found something in common with many of the American poets even though a lot of what they wrote about didn't gel with what I was experiencing.

I read Eliot & Pound, Satre & Camus & whatever was in vogue in the 1950s & 1960s when I was a student & up until I left NZ & moved to Australia. Since those days I have become interested in other things - reading anthropology when I was teaching aboriginal kids in the bush & when I was teaching in Papua New Guinea. the Dao, taiji & qigong - which I've been doing 36 years now. Meditation & Yoga - following the teachings of Swami Satyanada. Buddhist dharma & so on.

A few clues - lion, that the poms have as their Emblem & used to call their rugby team even tho' there are no lions in England - colonial arrogance - red rose of England - gladiators gone to sugar daddy - lords who can't get it up - & it's not only the British but the Vatican - - making tourist dollars out of their very valuable historical holy relics.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, July 30, 2012

Poem Edited: Tuesday, July 31, 2012


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