The New Old Age : 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.