Marcus has had two poems nominated for the prestigious Bridport Prize, which attracted 7,700 entries.
Old people like me, Norton (I belong
to this category now) take practically
everything as it comes. If trains are missed
or running late, we sit with folded hands,
staring in front of us, uncomplaining.
That’s because we’ve come to terms with life,
which means: we’re learning to accept.
We know we’re old. That makes us
different from the uncompromising young.
Children laugh at the idea of time,
don’t realize life is an overland journey,
a slog of indeterminate duration
to be made as comfortable as possible.
Our feelings have never been more alive
but nobody sees them. That’s the difference.
We have been shunted into a grey siding
on the edge of history, we are no longer news,
don’t figure in the polls. What’s left to us
is a voluntary exodus into the forests
of Southern India, to start again from scratch.
Knowing that war was coming soon
my parents decided to have me
just in case ….. too early to be
a Baby Boomer of the fifties,
a Beetle Collector, a San Francisco
butterfly. After all there was room
for me on the schooner’s deck,
enough big-breasted Italian skirt
to milk me, British education
to be had for a thousand a year.
They were right, poor sods. Little
did they know I’d be awake alone
under the falling bombs of Aleppo
(sorry, London, 42) while one worked
behind enemy lines, the other slipped out
for a whisky with the neighbours.
I know now they wanted the best for me,
died with my name on their lips. But why
did you leave me and go to Ireland,
hoping Rita will buy a holiday cottage?
Oh well, I’ll be seeing my granddaughter
in May. Just two more weeks to spin out
looking at photographs before dawn,
spending money I don’t have in tearooms,
losing the lotto, breathing, pushing myself up.
I was somebody in the nineteen sixties.
They sent me to a conference in Paris
where I seduced an Indian tea-lady –
your mother’s mother. I very much doubt
this piffle will make my readers warm.