Friday 1 July 2016

"Al Purdy's Star Wars"

Here's a little lark that arose out of an exchange with poet Kevin Spenst a few months ago. I don't see this poem going into a book -- or anywhere else, really -- so I'd thought I'd post it here, on Canada Day, just for fun.


— say the names
Tatooine and Dantooine
Alderaan and Hoth
Coruscant and Mustafar
Geonosis and Naboo
On Tattooine they were moisture farmers
            scrap dealers and smugglers
desert men with senses welded shut by the sand
wandering the dunes, Jawa and Jedi
            dewback and bantha
            living on the verge of their thirst
            beyond the Jundland Wastes
On Hoth they froze
in their bunks
            toes curled so black not even
light could escape
but with the sun they laboured
against an empire while their sweat
turned to ice and the Tauntauns and Wampas
            remembered an age of lizards
that basked long ago
in subcellular sleep
— say the names
Tatooine and Dantooine
Alderaan and Hoth
Dagobah and Mustafar
Geonosis and Jakku
not the guttural names of the Hutt in Huttese
but in the beep and chirr of droids
in the startling whine
of a mynock
in an asteroid’s heart
On Dagobah the secret was kept
the darkness in the dark place that slumbered
in the thickness of its biomass
a long forgotten conscience
that roused to the laughter in the cave
— say the names
Dantooine and Tatooine
Hoth and Alderaan
Mustafar and Coruscant
Geonosis and Naboo
            a starfighter lands by the waterfall
in a hail of blaster fire
            and champions are fed to the wilds
of ceaseless appetite
            and the spies die like spies
and a lake of magma
boils and senators
vote on their own abolition
And Kashyyyk is distant and evergreen
And Mon Cala shines
like a disc-shaped orbital sea
There are drums that sound in the forest
            a city that waits in the clouds
            forgotten worlds
            forgotten republics
            a family scattered by war
            and reunited in the stars  

And Alderaan remembered. 

1 comment:

Jocko Benoit said...

Love this. And I'm not even a big SW fan, but this is incantatory and evocative. It's actually just the kind of thing I want to be publishing in my vanity mag, Rumble Strip. If you ever have any other not-going-to-publish-this-anywhere poems, let me know. I like pieces that avoid conventional realism (unless they are about work, or are funny). And I'm trying to take the vanity of my mag one issue at a time.

Jocko Benoit