‘Some reasons why I got this job’, by Brian Turner

Because I’m charming, elegant, gracious.
Cultivated, strapping, and look good on the box.
Because I haven’t appeared on
This Is Your Life.
Because I don’t sit up late
and watch sad movies on TV.
Because I’ve given the effigies to charity
and thrown away the pins.
Because I’m fast on the bike
and cast very nicely when standing
in ripples in high country streams.
Because footie’s no more important than art.
Because there’s love in a cool climate.
Because I accept that we just have to live with sandflies.
Because, when Americans began talking loudly
outside the motel window at 6:15 this morning
they weren’t threatened with weapons of mass destruction.
Because I’ve been surprised by what I’ve written
and perseverance isn’t to be sneezed at
except when caught in the middle of a bull paddock.
Because there’s no good reason to give up trying
to do the decent thing, now and again.
Because annoyance or irritation
make more sense than anger and outrage.
Because there’s room to do better.
Because we’re not yet lost nor found.
Because my grandmother was scared I was drawn
to depravity, and her husband told me
if I wasn’t careful I’d become an anathema.
Because … because this is not the sort of poem
I’m said to write. Or is it?

– Brian Turner, ‘Some reasons why I got this job’. New Zealand Listener, March 15, 2003.

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