mervyn miro

merv worked in grey lynn
in the shoe factory his job
in the storeroom turning
big uneven pieces of leather
back and forth in mind on
the wooden table to count out
see clearly just how many uppers
the flattened spread of the upper
part of the shoe could be
cut from one such
piece all day
turning the leather
thinking a headful
of Miró
shapes under a
electric light
come winter
summer in an
air that fairly
come back in from
lunch i’d tell him
times it was
beautiful out there
he’d always reply
“i call this kind of
good weather
‘grey lynn weather’”
and i’d think what he
meant the blue out
there all uncut and
clean yet perfectly
edged along rusting
iron rooves of
left-over paints.

merv, i’d like
to think, well retired
now alone in his
mother’s house is
looking out on a
garden he fusses
about in under
a sky that times
looks like his
typical grey lynn
good weather
nothing to cut
just the days
to fit into
a smaller



3 thoughts on “mervyn

  1. As John says, what a great portrait! I love this poem. You have a unique way of tying people and places together, as if they were simply cut that way. This one has a sadness, but also a sense of ‘stability’ that lingers there and might be nice. I know Grey Lynn a little bit 🙂


  2. Thanks a lot, guys. Marlers Shoes was tucked away in a steep little street running off Great North Rd. Since it was many a year ago I worked with Merv, and even Marlers Shoes has just become local history now, I think sadly Merv has only a small piece of time left from which to squeeze out his final days. Someone else commented the same as John, that is, they ‘knew’ Merv, though they never met him.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s