Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2010

I Greet the Blue Water Buffalo of Cambodia

by Wendy Klein

O you are blue, not the casual blue of everyday sky,
the shade a child crayons in above a house
with a chimney and windows for eyes,
not even lapis lazuli, too decorative,
but deep enough to drown in.
O you are so blue, not the faded blue of denim jeans,
run up in a rush by a girl too young to work,
nor the periwinkle blue of tucked-away
blossoms in lands you’ll never see
where your yoked presence is not
known or even dreamed of.
O your blueness is so much deeper than powder blue,
though far short of midnight, closer to sapphire,
cornflower, steel. Yes, steel blue is the sheen
of your flanks, smoothed over muscles that
undulate in time to your master’s demands
as you plough his rice paddies to feed
his family, the world.
O bend down your smiling horns so I can reach your
great blue head, ruffle the silk fringe that springs
up on top, admire those horizontal ears, stretched
wide, as if eager to hear, to understand. Now
introduce me to your calf over there, who
only aspires to your full-blown blueness,
but already shares a pool of water
with a friendly rooster.

Added: 15.03.2010

Judges' comments on this poem


Very patriotic, like the repetition of blue, but it's a bit too fawning.


I liked the lyricism of this. Especially liked last stanza. Overall, an affectionate portrayal which is uplifting- and a bit different.