Blues for Sam

Was reading through your
Collected today; I still like
the cover - with you propped up
against the old Valiant Cheveler;

it's at twilight - kind of Romantic.
It made me think of that time
I came out to meet you at your
boat house in Mana, (just before

you got kicked out for walking
the dog). We drove down to
the local café, and inside it
some girl wanted your autograph.

You gave it, but secretly wished
she'd leave you alone.
(What a bore it must be,
I thought.) We talked of poetry,

finished our interview
and returned; me, self-conscious
about my car. I explained
I'd just borrowed the Honda

for the day. You nodded your
understanding. Cars, after all,
were poignant accessories
but never of more significance

than the Word made flesh. I left,
and drove home, and later received
a fax containing some extra poems
for JAAM. One talking of Dylan,

of revolution. It seemed after only an hour
I'd already made my impression with you.

Poem © Mark Pirie, 2005

Author's Note

'Blues for Sam' remembers a visit to Sam Hunt's old boathouse in Mana, for the JAAM interview in 1996. It was the first time I'd met him though I'd seen him performing regularly over the years. I was with Paul Wolffram, my fellow JAAM founder and student at Victoria University. When we arrived Sam joked that the university should start a 'course in screwing' because 'if you can't do that right you're not going to have much of a life'. Sam was one of a kind. He could rattle off a line of Yeats or Housman mid-conversation and then in an instant introduce a line by Bob Dylan or Lou Reed. He remains for me one of our most talented poets. After the interview Sam was kind enough to allow his picture to be taken. Paul took the front cover photo. This small blues is my humble tribute to Sam.