Baudelaire in Balmain

kiera-photo-by-trish-daviesI was walking my dog, a Manchester Terrier bitch called Kiera, down to the local park early one recent morning – one of the many parks in the leafy Sydney harbourside suburb of Balmain. I noticed a local municipal council truck parked by the kerb. Two of the council workers were in the cab of the truck reading the paper, and standing by the truck was a worker I’d noticed from time to time, sweeping leaves from the street or clearing weeds from the park, or sitting in the shade of a tree during his lunch break, reading a book. That is, I recognised him, though I had no idea who he was, and we had never spoken.

As I walked by he said ‘I liked those Baudelaire poems of yours.’

I stopped. I must have looked surprised, for he said ‘You’re John Tranter, aren’t you?’

‘Yes,’ I said. ‘Uh… the Baudelaire poems…’

Thinks: My new poetry book, my twenty-second book, «Starlight: 150 Poems», included an ample section of poems which were my updated and drastically changed versions of poems by Charles Baudelaire in his collection «Les Fleurs du mal», second edition, published in Paris in 1861.

(You can read ten poems from that book on my Main Site.)

‘I thought they were great.’

‘Thanks, mate,’ I said, and continued my walk…

…Thinking that no council worker in London would have done that, nor, I suspect in Prague, Paris or New York.

Only in Australia.

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