“Eschew baggage for the expedition is brief” he said and Peter was right, because in this day and age 65 years is a brief expedition. Reading was described as the laureate of grot and as a bleak poet. Seems to me he was a poet with good eyes and ears who conveyed what he saw accurately, incisively and didn’t give a shit if you were offended by it. My kind of poet.
Most of all his poems are hilarious, very funny if very dark also. He is a master at exposing the absurdity of the human condition and pointing out the bullshit we use to make ourselves look important.
He worked for over 20 years as a weighbridge operator at an animal feed mill. It is a repetitive and boring job and it freed his mind to think and to create. Volume after volume of poetry flowed out of that dross. Then a new boss arrived and told Peter he had to wear a uniform to work and you can only imagine the tirade of flagrant abuse eminating from this usually quiet man that led to him being sacked. I like this story because Peter is a poet who strips away the crap that people surround themselves with. Imagine telling such a man to wear a uniform so he can better weigh truckloads of calf nuts and chicken feed!
Soiree; by Peter Reading
One funny thing about loving someone
is how much you’ll put up with – her parents’
conversazione for example,
or being sweet to those fools she works with
who smoke inferior cigars and think
it’s savoir vivre, and drag me back to drink
inadequately and long past my bedtime,
and put on records (God!) stuff like Ray Conniff.
And all their damn fool questions ‘tell me Peter,
what do you write about?’ (cunts like you mate).
‘Peter, you interested in history?’
(Mate, I ain’t even interested in
the present.) Still I’m here because I love her.