Northwords Now Issue 40

The FREE literary magazine of the North

The New Old Age

by Hugh McMillan

I am looking at the contents
of my coat pocket:
a train ticket, a pencil
plucked from the playground,  
a receipt for a steak pie

and large glass
of Sauvignon blanc,
and I think I should put
these on a shelf as symbols
of a lost and easy age

of innocence.
It is enough almost
to make you weep
this sacred detritus,
rubbish pregnant now

with such meaning.
When we emerge
blinking into the future
with our long hair,
our chipped teeth,

our bandaged specs,
will those months
of self-help, yoga,
soda bread and scrabble
swell our brains

to the size of a new world?
Will poetry have seen us through?
I think, jealous
of their high-fiving freedom
through our long days

of want and envy,
we will swarm out to find a rook
to strangle while nature
scatters with a collective sigh
of here’s this lot on the piss again.