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 //

*** 

Caesarean

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 matthewpaulpoetry.blog and tweets @MatthewPaulPoet.

Matthew Paul – “End of”

End of

Outside Morden Station,
I’m stopped dead
by my late father’s double
ordering an ‘OAP Cod ’n’ Chips Deal’
at the counter of Fish & Kebabs.
The bus shelter’s rammed
with pensioners,
all of whom give me the evils
when I contemplate squeezing in
from the pelting February rain;
so I stand beside an elderly woman
in a dodgy phone shop’s
fire-exit doorway. She’s off
to St Raphael’s Hospice, North Cheam,
to visit her husband,
who’s ninety-four;
no, ninety-eight. He spent last week
in a nursing home as respite
—for her more than him—
but ended up with rampant
pneumonia and bruising down one leg,
which no-one could explain.
I witter on about
my father’s end of life. Our bus rounds
the corner. She tunes me out.


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 matthewpaulpoetry.blog and tweets @MatthewPaulPoet.