where my mind went as I walked alone during lock-down

by Sandra Renew

I bet you wish you were famous, I thought, so the Walk of Fame would immediately bring you to mind… but we don’t know if you’re a magpie or a pigeon…and we don’t know why you left your anonymous footprints in wet concrete. 

I remember my Great-Aunts being sad when Errol Flynn died in 1959. They made jokes about his hard drinking, womanising, how he ‘had trouble with his tights’ during kissing exploits, and the phrase ‘in like Flynn’ had the Aunts in stitches. One claimed to have met him as a famous film-star when he was visiting his birthplace in Tasmania. They were greatly excited on his behalf when he was given his star of recognition and industry achievement on the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame in 1960. I remember asking who he was to have created all this thrilling and they said cryptically ‘swoon Robin Hood’, a film made in Technicolour which was, at the time, almost as exciting as the lead actor himself. 

In 2009 Errol was given another star in wet cement, lodged in Hobart in another galaxy. To honour the flying high Hobart boy in the 1920s who achieved Hollywood glitter and fame. 

And, on any other slab of wet concrete, anywhere, another magpie or pigeon walks the walk, anonymous, but leaving footprints for posterity.

This ekphrastic prose poem reflects the thinking time, the slowed down world, we encountered when COVID-19 required us to spend time alone that we would normally have spent with others. The prose poem form allows a slow and reflective reading in keeping with the subject matter.

Sandra Renew’s collection, Acting Like a Girl, Recent Work Press, 2019, won the 2020 ACT Writing and Publishing Award for Poetry. Her poetry is published widely including in Griffith Review, Hecate, Axon, Australian Poetry Journal.

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