by Matthew Page
Minister of war, wherever men have walked
You have followed –
Thermopylae, Austerlitz, Damascus, Ukraine –
Ruddy orb, savage eye,
Eternal standby light between the trees,
Perpetually pulling us into orbit,
Just as we'd begun to believe
That the old hope would reign,
That we could circle distant dates,
Become voyeurs of wars in interstellar space;
That on the featherbed of Europe,
We might sink into civility, without end;
That fear of mutually assured obliteration
Had given way to finer feelings
That in your darkest core would cement,
But here we are, afraid, uncertain. Again.
To Cut a Long Story Short
by Matthew Page
He slogged an assembly line,
Dampeners one week, height risers
The other: a world of ghosts
With bodies in the Orient.
She worked in wholesale
And got calluses from ripping boxes open.
Only Sally from Health and Beauty
Had a higher score on Candy Crush.
When he'd flee from the estate
In search of water wide enough to skim stones on,
She'd watch the Emmerdale omnibus
And light a Yankee candle.
At some point, he became
Mr Half Decorated Rooms,
She became Mrs We Don't Eat it
Unless Iceland Sell it as a Ready Meal.
The Berlin Wall was back up.
Three children pole-vaulted between the two
(Occasionally evacuating to their nan's
When spuds were fired).
He never wanted a microwave.
She never wanted a mattress on the floor.
But something (necessity, austerity,
The devil himself?) made it so.
Matthew is a trainee psychotherapist, freelance copywriter, and poet. Much of his recent poetry concerns his working-class background and experience of growing up in an economically deprived part of the UK.