Geoff Page: ‘I used to be afraid’ and ‘One good poem’

I used to be afraid of hell

but now it’s waiting rooms that spook me,

the way they’ll soon be more recurrent,

the magazines on motoring,


on golf, on renovations or

celebrities off-guard.

Sprawled there with my fellow hapless,


we’ll feel our old friend moving closer—

always at his lazy pace.

A medico will call my name.


I’ll read the shadow in her smile.

Later, blessed with news, I’ll pay

the pert receptionists,


each day growing younger,

and prove more skilled at waving plastic.

The smell will be of indoor plants,


chronology and fear.

No doubt the illness will require

the patience of a saint,


as my late mother used to say,

not having it herself.

I used to be afraid of hell


but now I’m fairly sure these hours

so filled with ennui will be

punishment enough.
Geoff Page



One good poem

“Everyone has one good poem”,

David Campbell used to say,

and seemed to mean it, more or less,

half-joking in his gentry way.


Was poetry an art, we thought,

that everyone might master once,

should the winds be favourable

for hours or days or weeks or months,


a wide, benign democracy

where talent was of no concern,

where dedication mattered least

and every hopeful had a turn?


More likely he thought life a poem

whose unique essence one might seize

if one’s eyes were sharp enough

and one’s rhythms at their ease.


What other art, we thought, behaves

like this one with its zest for chance—

and no materials required

beyond a biro’s fitful dance?


Did everyone have just one poem?

For D.C. two might overlap.

“Mothers and Daughters”, I’d suggest

but in some weathers, “Windy Gap”.


And if, by chance, you’ve missed his work

it still sings on the internet.

Decades on from David’s death

those “cruel girls” are smiling yet.

                                    Geoff Page





















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