About the Poem
About the poet
Peter Goldsworthy (b. 1951) has been described as "one of the most skilled and satisfying poets...
Don't tell me jokes,
I know about jokes.
They think they are funny.
They think they can get away with things.
I don't know everything about them,
just enough. I know this:
that they refuse to be remembered,
slipping the mind's fingers,
a shoal of laughter, vanishing.
And this: that they hide still inside,
deeply. Delinquent poems,
absconders from custody.
Of course they think it a great lark,
sneaking back again and again:
the grenade of laughter,
I prefer to find it tiresome.
And a little sad.
All that repetition!
Don't pigeon-hole me:
I appreciate a good joke.
I said appreciate, not laugh at.
For I will no longer laugh.
I will not answer their ridiculous summons,
I refuse to accept their subpoena.
Never again will I eagerly rip open
the scented envelope
filled with strange plastic.
There are only four jokes anyway:
the custard pie, and the breaking of taboo,
the game of words, and the thing
we are each most afraid of.
from New Selected Poems (Duffy & Snellgrove, Australia, 2001) and This Goes With That (Leviathan, UK, 2002 - further information from firstname.lastname@example.org), © Peter Goldsworthy 2001 and 2002, used by permission of the author and the publishers.
Peter Goldsworthy Reading from his Poems. (The poems on this tracklist are not currently available to download. You can purchase the full CD via the link below.)