You worked your way round my milk teeth,
sung umpteen times before you stuck.
Soon a chameleonic code,
you were my safeguard from a snatch,
then my duty when staying out,
and recently a thankful leap
from trade fairs and dogged insects.
My fingers refuse to leave you.
When you trace your wrinkles, criss-crossed
like the fine scars of unknown wounds,
and speculate how they got there;
when you’re sure you hid the stained scarf,
the note and the bent bronze bracelet
for some significant reason;
maybe you can’t remember what
you forgot, but you remember
you forgot, which is worse, far worse.
From: Inventing truth, HappenStance (2011)
6 thoughts on “Matthew Stewart: Featured Poet”
Turning a mobile phone into a poem is a great idea and I love this – it is very visual. I can almost hear the mums as they take their children to school – “have you got your mobile?” It says such a lot in so few words and is a great reflection on life today. Great opening line. Once it was a s.a.postcard you sent home to mum that you’d arrived safely. In eight lines you seem to have captured a life in a mobile phone and also the obsession with them. An excellent read.
Epilogue is so moving it made goose pimples come out in me. It is very powerful and evocative, with a hint of fear. And you say it all in so few lines. I’m very glad to be introduced to your work.
Both these poems struck very strong chords. I particularly like ‘Epilogue’ which tackles an ungoing and often unmentioned problem with a very succinct yet powerful voice. I look forward to reading more of Matthew’s work. Thank you. Margaret
Epilogue is a beautiful poem so strong it really knocked me: every word is so assured and so perfect and then the understated last stanza. Great to meet you and lucky Matthew to be published by Happenstance.
The power of understatement. Wonderful! I’m so impressed with how the first poem takes such a mundane subject and turns it into a summary of a lifetime. And epilogue has a killer ending. Thank you for posting these and introducing me to Matthew Stewart’s work.
Great to meet you Matthew. These are two fine poems. Love how you say and convey so much in both of them. Love the dance of words through the first one, and the “dogged insects”. Love the use of repetition in the second, and those few telling details of bracelet, note and stained scarf. And I’ve just started following your blog – Rogue Strands (another good title :-).
Thanks very much for all your kind comments – I’m glad you enjoyed the poems!