Poem of the month


Feedback from the Assessment Centre


I’m too old for this.

Sweating but competent

I pass the numerical

and verbal reasoning test,

though I’m too aware of my feet.

Do they realise who I am?

But I’m old enough to know

that as soon as the generic they

turn up to be dressed down

I’m lost.

In the interview,

my wizened judgement

of the paths

combines surprisingly

with a stubborn late belief

that things – my things –

might work,

and so make something fresh,

with the clear eyes

of a man of experience

in driving spray.


It’s by the roleplay

I’m rocked back,

in the lifelong incapacity

to think on my feet

when under attack:

this young thespian hireling

chief executive for the day

snacks me for breakfast

to demonstrate my lack of sidestep.

It’s a primitive transaction

from way back where through red mist

I would retaliate without a strategy,

a neural disconnection

channelled into burning cheeks.

I didn’t get the job.

I got feedback and sympathy.


I think of my father-in-law

under fire on the Normandy beaches

at twenty-two

laying out tracks for the tanks

above a toppled hulk in a hole

that had men in.


The morning after, the wind

still whistles in my pockets.

Returning to the old zoo

there’s a few more cages empty,

the possibilities thinned,

more things I didn’t do.

My life still stretches out before me.


© Steve Griffiths 2018





This is one of a number over the years that reflect a working life that has kept well away from the parallel life of a poet. Strengths and weaknesses in an ageing bloke who tried to make his way, he really did. From 'Surfacing' (2012), published by Cinnamon Press.

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