Letter to Toyota

by Geoff Page

“A poem is a small machine”

William Carlos Williams said.

The reverse, I’m sure, may too apply.

Your spry Toyota 1.3

is very much a kind of poem—

that choir of sixteen little valves

lined up like tetrameters

happy on their breath of petrol,

the torque that shows on long slow hills,

the way it parks on half of nothing

and breezes, effortless, all day

along a reach of freeway.

Your engineers are really poets.

I see them poised there in Japan

dreaming at their robots.

The only problem’s with the name

some Hollywood consultant gave you.

A Starlet smells of celluloid.

I’m calling mine Haiku.

From Darker and Lighter, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia: Five Islands Press, 2001.