I thought of you again today and the way,
as an older man, you sat straight and tall and bearded,
alone on a wooden bench in the Mall.
You were well-dressed but stood out for
the twisted length of cotton, meticulously folded,
that formed the covering or your head.
As you watched the passers-by did you observe
a drabness that made you yearn for your homeland
and the crescendo of colours there?
You were part of our urban life
yet seemingly apart, as if piecing things together
and waiting for wisdom to come.
And I could have bent and spoken to you
but it would have seemed an impertinence,
an intrusion. It was unnecessary.
Now years later I am writing in celebration
to say you’re not forgotten. I took delight
in your composure. And in your bright purple turban.
Elaine Barker was an original contributor to Poet’s Corner in its Independent Weekly print days. A former librarian, she holds a Master of Arts from the University of Adelaide, has run creative writing courses, and seen her own short stories and poems appear in literary journals and anthologies around Australia. She has received the Friendly Street Poets Satura Prize on three occasions, and has published four collections of her poetry, the most recent being See My Feathered Fingers, which was launched last month.