Matthew Paul – two poems

Butterflies of Vermont

Atlantis Fritillary / Hoary Edge /
Harvester / Mustard White / Buckeye / Black Dash //

Mourning Cloak / Eastern Comma / Bog Copper /
Question Mark / Eyed Brown / Hobomok Skipper //

Coral Hairstreak / Juvenal’s Duskywing /
Tawny Emperor / Monarch / Frosted Elfin //

Milbert’s Tortoiseshell / Lucia Azure /
Spicebush Swallowtail / Little Wood Satyr //

Pink-edged Sulphur / Baltimore Checkerspot /
Pearl Crescent / Viceroy / American Snout //



A week late, my second son, you’d flipped
Into breech. Hipster orderlies scrubbed
Up; told me to do the same. I thought
They said take everything off. I froze butt-

Naked beneath the hospital gown
I somehow put on the wrong way round,
The ties securing the back too slack
For the cotton to cover my crack.

Well gone midnight, Kiss FM boomed
And shook the ultra-bright theatre, rammed
With happy-clappy disciples urging
On the garrulous, blond-curled surgeon.

The trice his knife made the deeper cut,
Out you sprang, my son, bolt upright,
Blotched purple–orange, an angry jack-
In-the-box; in synch with a soundtrack

Of mainstream House: Armand van Helden,
‘U Don’t Know Me’; that week’s number one.
(Your brother’s first incidental tune
Had been The Smiths, ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’.)

Unfastened from your mother’s embrace
To put, at last, the face to my voice,
You crinkled as I lifted you up:
Me cock-a-hoop; you the FA Cup.

Matthew Paul’s collection, The Evening Entertainment, was published by Eyewear in 2017. His two collections of haiku – The Regulars and The Lammas Lands – and co-written/edited (with John Barlow) anthology, Wing Beats: British Birds in Haiku, were published by Snapshot Press. He lives in Rotherham, blogs at and tweets @MatthewPaulPoet.


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