A Trouser ecology

by Garry Robert McDougall

Men of the Marquis strive
where the enemy dare not,
cede the embittered valley,
our doctor, tormented and shot,
teachers, beaten before roses,
men shunted to German factories,
the Rhone groaning liberation borne
of worn trousers and dirty socks.

In night's wilt showers, chill cascades
and ice, trousers and I on Venterol's
sleeping slopes, my breath warming
a cold weapon, dreaming of my wife,
a back to stroke, fingers in hair,
eyes of smoke- cheek of the Marquis-
discomfort blankets me.

Sunrise to armpit normality, watershed eyes,
forehead a palisade, a nose for no-surrender.
When the microscopic invades your scalp,
and Nazis your land, all shall itch.
People call for action, & leaders for patience.

In the Baronnie's soiled reality,
hiding refugee, airmen and escapee,
learning regimen and drill, in forty-two,
pushing Will uphill to cache and carry,
driving our trousers to the world's end,
Free France of the farm with
hoe and rifle, plough and grenade,
ready for some-day-soon.
Won't the years run Nazi's ragged?

Our leaders speak of springs welling
beneath our dirty boots, flowing
from the grit hills into valley,
nurturing the fruits of liberty.
In forty-three, we farmers forbid optimism,
the grace to fine words- infected toes bloody,
knees without sanctuary, thighs of toad and boar.
Itchiness is spiky time, all of us thinking,
some-day-soon, some-day-soon,
our trousers bearing the years as interlude
to victory.

Garry Robert McDougall's picture

A Sydney poet and novelist, Garry gives Spanish Pilgrimage presentations, writes novels and occasional opinion pieces, teaches poetry and exhibits paintings and photographs. He is a member of the DiVerse poetry group and the South Coast Writers Centre executive. In 2013 To San Domingo de la Calzada won Second Prize, Glen Phillips Poetry Prize. In 2012, Beating Time won Highly Commended in the Peter Cowan National Short Story Prize. In 2015, he won First Prize in the Peter Cowan Short Story Prize. His early walks guidebooks, Great North Walk and New South Walks Heritage Walks, were both published with Kangaroo Press. His two novels, Belonging and Trust, are Australian stories based on historical events around 1900 and 1988 respectively. His third novel, Knowing Simone, is set in Victor Hugo's France. He won artist/author in residence with Arteles in Finland, combined with long distance walking journeys in Spain and Portugal, soon to be published as Damn! His novel's common thread is respect for people caught in hostile historical circumstances, dramatising their negotiation of powerful social and historical forces. His poetry might rhyme, be experimental, lyrical, visual or sparse, but time, word, place and the human spirit are paramount.

Last updated July 07, 2016