"A New Shirt" Why?

Year: 1942

by Paul Grano   

‘A new shirt!’ Why?
I have a shirt-two-three!
worn a bit, not many days to them,
nor perhaps to me.

Soon earth’ll have one of them,
my body in it:
and later an end
to their identities – quit

wholly the shirt, and no resurrection!
and the body’s? What date?
and will it ask covering?
Let a new shirt wait

convention’s ultimate need;
much else the money buys
that may go with me
when the body dies.

The body dead and I,
senseless of the teaching Five,
suffering strange converse
would you have me strive

with my lustrous Mentor
eager to assert
‘Sir, in the sun time
I remember a shirt’?

or wouldn’t you prefer
me to recall
that day on Coot-|tha
when we saw fall

from furnace clouds
rain sifting down
like golden ash
on Brisbane Town;

or of a certain night
make cry
“Sir there was a coffee shop
and there my friend and I

sat in the far corner
of the chattering scene
elate with the fragrance
and bright bitterness of the bean,

great thoughts within us
and, by the lips of each,
not us but the vital dead
making high speech.”

A new….We’ll go to the bookshop
where small money buys
the richest minds, or out to Ashgrove’s
twisted creek, there bellywise

to watch the ants, lumping,
(how man-like!) each its load of dirt
up sheer blade-cliffs and down-
and forget the shirt!

                          Paul Grano (1942)