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The Dream Of Wearing Shorts Forever Analysis

Author: poem of Les Murray Type: poem Views: 2

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To go home and wear shorts forever

in the enormous paddocks, in that warm climate,

adding a sweater when winter soaks the grass,

to camp out along the river bends

for good, wearing shorts, with a pocketknife,

a fishing line and matches,

or there where the hills are all down, below the plain,

to sit around in shorts at evening

on the plank verandah -

If the cardinal points of costume

are Robes, Tat, Rig and Scunge,

where are shorts in this compass?

They are never Robes

as other bareleg outfits have been:

the toga, the kilt, the lava-lava

the Mahatma's cotton dhoti;

archbishops and field marshals

at their ceremonies never wear shorts.

The very word

means underpants in North America.

Shorts can be Tat,

Land-Rovering bush-environmental tat,

socio-political ripped-and-metal-stapled tat,

solidarity-with-the-Third World tat tvam asi,

likewise track-and-field shorts worn to parties

and the further humid, modelling negligee

of the Kingdom of Flaunt,

that unchallenged aristocracy.

More plainly climatic, shorts

are farmers' rig, leathery with salt and bonemeal;

are sailors' and branch bankers' rig,

the crisp golfing style

of our youngest male National Costume.

Most loosely, they are Scunge,

ancient Bengal bloomers or moth-eaten hot pants

worn with a former shirt,

feet, beach sand, hair

and a paucity of signals.

Scunge, which is real negligee

housework in a swimsuit, pyjamas worn all day,

is holiday, is freedom from ambition.

Scunge makes you invisible

to the world and yourself.

The entropy of costume,

scunge can get you conquered by more vigorous cultures

and help you notice it less.

To be or to become

is a serious question posed by a work-shorts counter

with its pressed stack, bulk khaki and blue,

reading Yakka or King Gee, crisp with steely warehouse odour.

Satisfied ambition, defeat, true unconcern,

the wish and the knack of self-forgetfulness

all fall within the scunge ambit

wearing board shorts of similar;

it is a kind of weightlessness.

Unlike public nakedness, which in Westerners

is deeply circumstantial, relaxed as exam time,

artless and equal as the corsetry of a hussar regiment,

shorts and their plain like

are an angelic nudity,

spirituality with pockets!

A double updraft as you drop from branch to pool!

Ideal for getting served last

in shops of the temperate zone

they are also ideal for going home, into space,

into time, to farm the mind's Sabine acres

for product and subsistence.

Now that everyone who yearned to wear long pants

has essentially achieved them,

long pants, which have themselves been underwear

repeatedly, and underground more than once,

it is time perhaps to cherish the culture of shorts,

to moderate grim vigour

with the knobble of bare knees,

to cool bareknuckle feet in inland water,

slapping flies with a book on solar wind

or a patient bare hand, beneath the cadjiput trees,

to be walking meditatively

among green timber, through the grassy forest

towards a calm sea

and looking across to more of that great island

and the further tropics.

Anonymous submission.


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