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II The School Globe

James Reaney


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The Autobiography of a Marionette

This small manuscript I pen
With the quill of a furious wren.
I write this curious novel,
Within a cardboard hovel,
About my past.

When my strings were stronger
And I was very much younger
I played a primary-coloured figure
In a fairy-tale, with vigour,
And above me floated a hand-shaped cloud
From which a strict, white rain fell loud
Of strings,
Strings that made marionette marry marionette,
Or laugh, or lie, or scream, or beget,
Or waltz, or weep, or die, or foxtrot
Through many a hollow, cardboard grot.
There were dialogues
With golliwogs
And public school
And high school.

In that continual rain
That poured from those distant hands
There came fates, of pleasure or pain,
That tied us with steely bands
To a life where we were a vase of foottracks
All these footsteps must be spilt out,
Each one shaped like a trout,
Before in Death’s cardboard coffin we’d relax.