Ivan Head: ‘Australian Icon’

Australian Icon

Grown men weep on cue to camera
when the young god dies pre middle age.
Hair transplants work wonders
but we are spared the naked Olympics
where immortality was on show.
Immortal is still a club award
to which the best aspire.

Phar Lap’s heart is venerated.
Is it oozing perfumed blood?
We see no fraud, only the good,
and had a bet on it and won.
What’s the surf like at Bondi?
The key-test on the wicket
never reached what lies beneath,
except in retrospect when death’s heavy roller went over it.

In the Ladies’ Stand a poet
is removed for sledging.
She keeps calling out
“Because I could not stop for Death—
He kindly stopped for me.”
She is excused as mad.
We ask no questions of the dead—
good blokes and mates instead.

Ivan Head

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