Michele Leggott


the digger and the faun

Joe Lynch is that you the    untidy
soldier above the eighty six names
of those who didn’t come back    you’ve
removed your hat you    stare down
the road to where the Kea is embarking
another load of partygoers for the city
Joe Lynch your blue eyes are entirely notional
but he hears the quartermaster’s whistle
and remembers the boats taking them off
under cover of darkness    did he set you up
little brother    a paid job after the war
before you ran for the Sydney boat
the mad Lynches leaving town together

it wasn’t the first time    and maybe
he wanted the face of a returned man
up there on the stone that faces
the harbour    you were both on the turps
in King Street by the time they unveiled it
celebrating another adventure with
the art-loving public    goatfoot dancer
redheaded slinger of mud and one-liners
Joe Lynch you roaring Dionysian    quiet
in bronze above another harbour    watching
the ferries plug around the point    they said
you jumped off because the Kiandra was slow
and the bottles in your pockets heavy
they said you wanted to get to the party
Joe Lynch is that you    digger and faun
watching each other across the dark water



Michele Leggott was the Inaugural New Zealand Poet Laureate 2008–09. Her most recent publications are northland (Pania Press, 2010), Mirabile Dictu (Auckland UP, 2009) and a CD of selected poems, Michele Leggott The Laureate Series (Braeburn/Jayrem 2009). She coordinates the New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre (nzepc) with Brian Flaherty at the University of Auckland.