Author photo by Jonathan Mills
(from ‘A Short Film About Love and Fate and Death’)
Matthew Hedley Stoppard was born in Derbyshire in 1985.
After a brief career as a journalist, he now works at Headingley
Library, and lives in Leeds with his wife and two sons.
Recordings of Matthew’s poetry include Insect Eucharist
and Other Poems (2012) and the spoken-word album Runt
Country (2014), both available from Adult Teeth Recordings.
On the page, his poetry has appeared in Magma, Iota, Cake,
The Morning Star, A Complicated Way of Being Ignored
(Grist, 2012) and Holding Your Hand Through Hard Times
(Osset Originals, 2014).
published by Valley Press on the 15th May 2013, and was
included in The Guardian's Readers' Books of the Year.
More than circumstance in common
Shivering infant in the swimming baths
we’ll have you home before long,
back to your nursery with circus wallpaper,
muffled in cellular wool.
Like a miniature Houdini, you wriggle free
of any burden on your shoulders –
unlike the nearly-man holding you afloat
in the shallow end.
Once you’re reared, these mollycoddled mornings,
soothed and swaddled in honesty,
will be forgotten, but there’s a double helix
that twists in both our blood;
standing up for bastards.
Midlands sinew will grip
the hands you shake, the thighs you clasp
in the bunker of adulthood.
Towelled together I feel
your delicate unfettered breath on my neck
like gale force wind through a keyhole,
an uncertain murmur, not quite a gurgle,
but the first mouthing fumble for father.