Finuala Dowling

Four Poems

The listening Olympics

We’ve heard it all before
but even so, we ask for more.

It’s a bit hazy now, but we remember that:

someone peed on her feet to keep them warm
someone’s so clever he only has one friend
someone looked in rubbish bins for a book
someone wore a miniskirt while reporting a riot
someone stopped a mugger by asking how he was
someone has an unusually high number of Neanderthal genes
someone hit his wife for wanting a hot water tap in the kitchen

and one of you found a new-born baby in the morning tide;
you held her against your breast; she lives.

Many of you say: ‘I’ve never told anyone this before’
or: ‘Why am I telling you this?’

There is no end to what we can take in at one sitting.
We have had many hearings; we no longer discriminate.

This is the listening Olympics,
you are team South Africa
and this is your captain,


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