Remembrance Day 2106 by Angela Topping

The train manager requests two minutes silence
as benevolent morning sun touches
middle England’s fields with gilt
while across the Channel, the Somme’s
sweet rolling hills are healing over
despite zig-zag trenches and craters
where paper poppies decay and fall
like blood-stained confetti.

Leonard Cohen has sung his last gravelly elegy,
so long Marianne and all the rest of us.
Obama leaves the White House,
Britain turns its back on the EU.
What vultures are hovering we do not know.
Over Mexican food three poets
talk passionately of politics, uneasy isms.
The papers continue to report things we cannot stomach.

Winning/Losing by Angela Topping

In Ludo, Snakes and Ladders, plastic dots
determined whether you would climb or slide,
and draughts where rules came out of nowhere
the wooden discs stacked up, your win denied.

Monopoly meant scrabbling to buy
and speculate, carve out a space
for cash and rank to grow like greedy plants,
to stand revealed as master of your race.

Moves were studied, learned from books, until
No-one would take you on at war game chess.
And so you moved to cards, to Solo Whist.
Hearts was not your lucky suit, confess.

Till finally you set down like a dare
one perfect unequivocal misère ouvert.

“I wrote it for the Robin Hood book of protest poetry against austerity. Then it was in my collection Paper Patterns (Lapwing 2012) and then it was on Ink Sweat and Tears a while back.”