Explosion - by Mary-Jane Duffy


by Mary-Jane Duffy


Camel-coust, you said as

we passed the photo. 

Camel-coust indeed.  Helen

has been running writing workshops here and

there have been tears.


People are prone to tears in Palmerston North I ask. 

Well she said, if you're someone who ignores things

being confronted with a seagull whose stomach

is full of plastic,

or camels caught in the Iraq war

it's moving


Yes I'm moved by camels silhouetted against the flames

by burning oil wells. 

But I can't help think of the camel

in the Wellington Zoo, manky now

after years of mooching about it's paddock

The moment anyone goes near him

he makes a sky sized belch

his tongue bubbling

ballooning out in an explosion.


This poem was written by Mary-Jane as part of 'Poets under Pressure' in response to National Geographic's '50 Greatest Photographs' and the scene overlooking Moscow, with five pears adorning the window sill.  Poets were given ten minutes to create poetry about a photograph chosen from a member of the audience.