The Ballad of Donna Quixote

The ballad of Donna Quixote

I want to be
a Viennese lady
eating up Art in a cloche.

I want to walk
down the Champs-Élysées
with a husband who drives in a Porsche.

I want to be posh & benign
at the very same time
& to survive entirely on spinach -

but I'm Donna Quixote
so as likely as not
my dreams are all there is in it.

**

My Sancha Panzetta
my faithful my friend
she's round she's short & she's homely -

she'll never leave me
alone in the lurch
nor will my car, Rosinante.

I want to propose
with the tip of my nose
to my gallant my handsome Don Duce -

but I've learned like a wallflower
to wait in the wings
till his stirrups spur him

to send me a rose
to tell me I'm comely
to say I'm his only.

**

And in the meantime -

**

I want to know love
like the back of my palm
I want regents and rajahs to woo me -

To have portraits by painters
Of numberless charm.
I want Cleopatra to sue me.

I want to float down the Nile
in my very own barge
whose oarsmen make off with my booty -

I want to be loved
by the man in the moon
who'll say simply, my Donna, my Beauty.

**

I want to know poets
to speak in their tongues
& converse with the mighty & learned

I want to move mountains
all on my own & if lost
be found by Saint Bernard.

**

I want to have style
elan & pizzazz.
I want to be kind

most refined
non-aligned.
I want to be mother of millions.

I want wandering souls
to find rest in my tent.
I want them to say

I'm better, Ms Quixote
for your tea & biscuit -
you're sort of a Florence

though without a lamp -
thanks very much
for my time in your camp.

**

I want to live life.
I want to be raucous & wild
or demure & most mild -

but I'm Donna Quixote
& my dreams are all
windmills and tulips.


from Only One Angel (University of Otago Press, 2001), copyright © Jan Kemp 2001, used by permission of the author

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1Puriri

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2Hexandra in recess

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3Master of Ceremonies

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4Poem for R A K Mason (1905 - 1971)

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5Night Poem

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6Old Railway Guard

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7Turkey Talk

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8In golden smock, walking

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9Down the first road

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10West Coast town

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11Pohutukawa

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12Walking a beach

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13Atalanta

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14Melanion on the waterfront

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15Chagall windows, Fraumunster, Zurich

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16To my father, M.H.K.

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17Hong Kong sounds

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18The other hemisphere

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19The dance of hemispheres

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20Father's metamorphosis

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21Sky crosses, Singapore

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22At Kikowhakerere Bay

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23The terrible angel

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24Truth

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25Song of Noah's wife

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26The Ballad of Donna Quixote

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27Ship

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28Wedding / Naming / Bells

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29Snow or Alles ist klar

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30Centuries

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31Crux Australis - Te Paki o Autahi - Southern Cross

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32Dante's 'heaven'

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33'We are all newcomers'

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34Our Paradise

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35'Naked ladies' near Otama Beach, Coromandel Peninsula

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36A pukeko's trip south

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37Swimming

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38Bowl spoon table

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39Best friends

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40A childhood secret

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41Glance

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42On news of a poet's death: I II IV

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43Someone kissed me

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44E la selva oscura, non c'e?

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45He reads his poem aloud

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46Being Beatrice

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47Beatus

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48crossing fields

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49Swiss apple

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50Cornish hymn

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51on Shepherd's Hill

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52blasted harvest

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53Millet's L'Angelus

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54Red Lamp

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55Sue sewing

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56Chronoclocking

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