new zealand electronic poetry centre

Michael Harlow

online works

Voltaire: question & reply

‘I want my lawyer,
my tailor, and my wife to believe
in God. So, I imagine,
I shall be less robbed and less deceived.’
‘Ah, well, dear Sir:
even if it is spring & there are girls
the colour of honey in the wide streets
boys singing madrigals under the trees
my lawyer has left
his wife for mine & she’s too mean to make
a deal. I have pawned my last three-piece suit
& can’t find where the church has got to
& the last, bright
time I saw God he was flat on his ass
in the middle of a small war & didn’t
know which side he was on, now
I ask you, Voltaire
where do we go from here?’

From Today is the Piano’s Birthday   (Auckland/Oxford UP, 1981)

Michael Harlow

Last updated 20 March, 2005