Three poems from Matthew Stewart’s Inventing Truth

Matthew Stewart

I saw one of Matthew Stewart’s poems on Dan Wyke’s Other Lives blog recently, and was drawn to its combination of emotional impact and impressive restraint. Having since investigated further and discovered his use of syllabics, knack for concision and love of Keith Douglas I’m doubly delighted to have been introduced to his work. Matthew blogs himself, at Rogue Strands, and his debut pamphlet is out now from the high-calibre hothouse that is Happenstance. Here are three of my favourites from the collection, which have previously appeared in Poetry Nottingham International, New Walk and Rain Dog respectively.

After the party

Saturday, gone midnight, and trains
are heading out from Waterloo

with half-a-dozen rows of space
to separate each passenger.

The track’s set on jerking failure
left-left, right-left-left through my skull –

her thumb round the lip of a glass,
her goodnight kiss to cut me off.

I’m ignoring the tidal wave
of a single couple’s laughter.

Guisantes al vino tinto

Crushed and sautéed garlic, smoked paprika,
a long dollop of wine and just-shucked peas –
this is still her dish and far more daring
than sly rummages for battered photos,
especially now I’m serving it to you.


for Josefa

When you trace your wrinkles, criss-crossed
like the fine scars of unknown wounds,
and speculate how they got there;

when you’re sure you hid the stained scarf,
the note and the bent bronze bracelet
for some significant reason;

maybe you can’t remember what
you forgot, but you remember
you forgot, which is worse, far worse.

Read more from Matthew on Ink, Sweat & Tears

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