‘The Christmas Meditation of Concrete Grady’

McCahon - NOUGHTS AND CROSSES, SERIES 2, NO. 2, 1976An old song of the music hall
I will sing, or none at all,
Though women lift their noses high
When I haul out to cool my throat
A bottle from my overcoat
And say a word to make their feathers fly.

On the hills above Kaitangata
A cord of old man manuka,
I cut it in a day.
Then I got my cheque and bummed a ride to town
For a pan of eels and a woman and a shakedown
And sold my traps for a bucket of White Lady.

Mad McAra, John O’Hara,
Swagger Joe and my dry father
In the marble orchard lie.
Their ghosts at daybreak in my room
Beckoning with a wicked thumb
Ask me for a bottle of White Lady.

When I was kneehigh to a gander
I learnt to fart against the thunder;
Big Mother Joseph broke her cane on me.
When the white Host rides in air
I bend my head and say a prayer
For that old harridan hot in Purgatory.

A burning orphan in the night
I took a wander by starlight
To where the Child in a loosebox lay –
‘Concrete Grady is my name
And I’ll be damned,’ I said to Him;
‘Then I’ll be damned Myself,’ said He to me.

– James K. Baxter

2 thoughts on “‘The Christmas Meditation of Concrete Grady’

  1. Dear Jason Goroncy,

    Thanks so much for Concrete Grady. It lit up my night.

    Such a solid poem. All-of-a-piece.

    By an unknown poet (for me, at least).

    With some unknown places, (but no matter).

    I love the rhymes.

    Love the thought,

    And the punch line.

    Keep doing what you do,

    Richard Sundahl

    Melle, Belgium

    Like

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