Poems from The Full Dress

"Under the Banana Mountains" first appeared in Subhuman Redneck Poems (see Bibliography). "Young Surfers" is by Mark Kimber, 1985.

Other Poems from The Full Dress

Mark Kimber: Young Surfers


Under the Banana Mountains

At the edge of the tropics
they cut on the hills
raw shapes of other hills
and colour them banana.
One I used to see towering
each time I came away
climbed up and up, dressed in
a banana-tree beach shirt
with bush round its shoulders
like thrown-back jersey sleeves
and the rimmed sea below
drawing real estate to it.
Two islands were named Solitary
and the town wharf was crumbling
but surfers climbed sea-faces
on their boards, hand over hand.
The perched banana farms
mounted thousandfold stands
of room-long Chinese banners
or green to yellow lash-ups
of quill pens, splitting-edged,
their ink points in scrap vellum
each time I came away,
shiplapped fruit in blue mantles
all gaslit by the sun
and men drove tractors sidelong
like fighter planes, round steeps
worse than killed Grace Kelly.
Their scale came down to us
or caught round high-set houses.
I had shining hospitality
in dimmed subtropic rooms,
I unveiled a pastel school
and swift days keep passing
since I came away.


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