Text copyright © 2016 Jim Young
All Rights Reserved
Feral excitement on a hillside in flames,
running the smoke boys panic in their blue tear games.
The boys of earnest gather in bunches for miles,
reaching down the lanes of their mother's love smiles.
A grey damp wool panic chuffs on a bridge of trains,
devils aiming chippings down the chimney flames.
Posh stories from the richest of comic pages,
only bought now and then by nice uncles' wages.
The field boy's contraband tobacco, dry of breezes,
crumbled, coughing in Sally Rhubarb pipe wheezes.
Painting book with a water blush,
pulling pastel pictures from a startled hush?
Jam tarts warm on baking tray,
fresh from the old oven's warm belly.
Blowing down the chimney we leisurely meet
a genuflecting rouge in a sly azure retreat.
On a pale blue sequined dress, shinning and all,
scratching young legs a checked Welsh shawl.
Toast speared fire-fork close to the coal glowing red,
then running in butter to beg you to bed.
Vignettes that sparkle unbidden in a long drab day,
Back in my childhood. Oh, how I wish I could stay.
Small portions out of all proportion.
Dawn on Kilvey hill.
rolling under a blanket of mist,
turns my village, Pentrechwyth.
Snoozing on this Sunday-chapelled morn.
a skylark, thrilling in a cut-glass sky,
singularly teases, “look here, I’m here!”
Spot the dot in the up and up,
trilling way on up from its nested home,
a dot at the thinnest edge of a whole blue day.
Swansea bay arcs cool and clear,
the tide always going out or coming in,
the hushed docks rumbling to the Mumbles train.
At my feet Port Tennant and Danygraig
drink in the breakfast sun gently fingering
the gravestones in the cemetery of night,
where rust-aged memorials are pointing heavenward,
up to this nether hill of mine.
Weeps a church bell.
The rocks are warming,
between the old windmill and the farm.
Sit there with the ages and look back
out across the sea, or
across the Tennant bog,
afloat the moat of Llandarcy.
Time stops. The bell stops sobbing.
There's a haze over Jersey Marine.
Or lie deep in the dry wine grass,
white below the wakening whisper,
sinking into the land, embracing,
inhaling the morning – so pristine.
The village is tossing and turning in the mist,
that is sliding down the Tawe quickening.
A train cough, coughs.
The cottages stir bleary eyed, and
divest of nightgowns, and slate nightcaps,
turn their stone countenances to warm in the morning sun.
Kettles mist the running scullery panes,
as Sunday scratches a morning yawn.
Down from dawn by the sedge marshes,
the virgin streams turn from the black slag stones,
and the sulphurous testament of an industry dead.
With the morning locked in my heart I turn
into the village where the church and chapel
pour out their dusty parishioners
with their books of common prayer.
But there is not one. Not one!
Who has tasted the aperitif of dawn,
for my Sunday lunch upon this Sunday morn.
The Marching of February
The North wind's dirty duster
smears a bilious brassy sun,
waning any meager warmth,
on this sallow porridge day.
The shrubs shrug, not speaking.
Ask of the weather's revolving door,
brass handles flashing,
dark interior clacking,
will you roulette us golden chips,
or sink our sailing ships,
a-storm on the municipal pool?
Snapping the string of a bitter winter,
the pearls of hail spill down the stares
of that self-same sassy sun.
The winter man of the east spits “relent”,
and with his last explosive gasp
sets the hackles of the hares on end,
jerking them flail boxing red
over the heather buds
over the heather buds
bursting in their sap.
With wild eyes flaring
they are off somersaulting,
a madness born of the March winds,
screeching high upon the hill.
It was your call
You knew you could text,
as you knew you could talk,
as you drove your carnage into me.
But you are simply complicit.
Just an uncaring, in-car carrion.
Now try scoffing your way out of jail,
where all cells are barred.
You know what they call you?
I am dead sure.
Ultimately, we stand alone,
at a point in space and time,
surrounded by the blackest thought,
with no welcome light or sign.
All comforts so craftily constructed,
by a mind to ease the pain,
have simply come to naught.
Thankfully, as I blank that black,
I realise that I will never look back,
nor pass this way again.
Auto More Bile
What is it about this box?
We so fear our silk-lined coffin ere the grave,
and yet we thump shut the door of our daily box,
metaled bright on alloy wheels, with its Gti soubriquet.
What a killer it is.
Don't you think?
But probably you don't, think,
but that's what the stats all say.
Never mind, take the easy way,
why don't you?
What is it about this box?
Not yours of course.
Oh no. You are different.
Yours is eco-friendly my friend.
You have not killed anyone - yet!
But it is so far to go, is it not?
So far to go today, to reach that better day.
So, OK, jump in, why don't you?
It's OK. Today.
What is it about this box?
It's nice, isn’t it? This nice new car.
See how this button does this or that.
Or touch screen, all electric
truistic not pollute
gling this side of your downstream
g, g, generation.
And such a nice colour.
What is it about this box?
I saw someone walking today.
Squeezing past your car, and yours,
parked on the pavement way.
Out of the way of other passing cars.
So considerate to think of other cars.
Don't you think?
They seem such poor folk these immutable,
inscrutable, peasant sidelined aside
the road. Where are they going?
With their prams and their collars
turned against the rain and
what a splashing time we are having.
What is it about this box?
That cocoons these silk worms from the hoi polloi
wombing along their arid way
when their waters break,
and skid row skids past.
So you break the last taboo
and park on the pavement like everyone else,
and devil take the hindmost.
What pedestrian thoughts do
these plebian pedestrians think?
Why car they not?
You care not.
What is it about this box?
That can see it blessed in the church
a-priori of the factory, where
men earn their honest bobs
by fixing various bits and bobs
to your luxury car rolling along the production line.
Much like all the others - and just as nice?
Or see it in a shopping centre - nice to buy?
Or in the airport - nice to win?
Or in the hospital foyer - God forbid
you brought in? What is it saying?
This bacterial analogy infestation?
Words fail my drive to explain.
God only knows this voice crying in the wilderness
of this car park world.
Or the car in the flower graveyards visiting.
Not a hint of the spice of life exsanguinating.
What is it about this box?
That sees the seasons passing by outside,
but cannot smell the hay. Hey?
That prevents the streets from playing
the children one against the others games.
Hey! Toot, toot get out the way!
That prevent a stop and chat, nice day,
and I think the rain will hold today.
And what do you think of ...
Toot, toot can't hear a thing you say!
What is it about this box?
I'm trying to air my view
about your airless box ere you say
it takes me to a view over the sea, you see?
But I don't see, and that's my
point of view.
Do you not see that what you see
is not the sea but a screen shot?
Get out and walk and smell the sea.
But it takes me to the keep-fit gym
so I need not walk there see?
But walking keeps me fit says Jim,
not in the gym but outside in the sea, you see?
Out in the fresh air free.
What is it about this box?
That has closed your minds to fumes,
and assumes you all know best,
and if you all agree, then I must be wrong - you say.
But is a secret, my secret, that will turn to dust
when you consider it in your cars as must.
When all the car shapes and colours
in all the world start up,
the exhausting argument will be lost,
as our world is lost.
So, thank you! All aboard the ark
and start the motor.
What is it about this box?
That makes such slow congested progress
seem like the fastest way.
That makes you so irate mate!
learn to drive you! You! ....
See my finger gesticulate.
That is your box.
Sit in it, stay in it.
That’s it? In it?
But do you care?
Move along now.
How sad you are.
So very, very sad.
Iron men in an iron works
Pummeled by the molten glare,
the furnace-man's sweat reflects the
metal flowing, tumbling into the ladle.
Clay bot, on a metal pole, held ready by
arms that bulge with glistening muscles
and taught vein cords, as he waits to stem the flow.
For at the now! Of ladle-full
he spears the clay bot to the tap hole hard and fast,
as the last drops scum and wart the ladle,
to be raked, splatting on the floor, before the cast.
Gnarled teeth spit a tobacco grin and his gauntlet hands
pour more sherbet salt from the pitcher drink
into his billie can, spilling the half-satiated drool
fast down his leather apron shinning black.
The cupola is charged with iron ore, coke and limestone,
and as the slag treacles out the back,
a wolf-moon gleam of metal derides the furnace red,
to sear the eyeing of the ladle’s level load.
Two fingers whistle up the gantry to lower
the hook-eye, guided and pole located,
to lift the ladle, to cast the mould.
Spit sparking the metal flows into the gates, as
the men, with collars up, watch for leaks,
the sparks buzzing in their ears.
Sand mould smoke exudes, the very life-breath of
these foundry men so strong of the day.
Moulder's tam the sand where the shovel lands
just enough to form the shape, where
the metal will flow to finally rest and solidify,
as was pre-formed in the moulder’s order.
With spit and smoke the men congeal with
the iron as they pour the words of braggadocio.
The jibes and jokes that set them apart,
not from each other, but the men of the soft world.
These men with daring insouciance sit down,
and pour their tea and wait with wit,
for the next melt is well in hand.
The last before they drop the cupola
to end another molten day.
Through the rumbling works in the dust of night,
smoking from the moulds of today, under the light
of the fettlers opening the moulds of yesterday.
Spacemen in their ear protectors and visors
they din their grind, to smooth the cast,
and sand-blast the rough night of a long grind,
to create the moulder’s final plan.
And the ovens grumble as they fire
the new moulds of sand to harden
ready to cast tomorrow's iron,
into the souls of the men who
are the life, and live the life,
of an ironworks beyond all knowing,
of even their golden hearts fired
aglow, that forges iron men from spindly boys.
For only they know the true cast in order of appearance,
in this world of iron forged, and then annealed,
by the softie world outside.
Call the gantry, chain the rods and
drop the cupola.
The sounds from the sixties seduce me.
I sigh as my tears suffuse the glow,
of falling headlong into the open arms
of the days, the seasons and the people
who turn to look and ghost my dream.
An ice-cream head-aching angst
of almost unbearable longing to
return and remain in those halted days.
Each track of music icicles my heart
melting instantly, levitating me above
the days, pouring flower power.
Like cool man.
Falling down time to the time
when the future was just beyond
a teasing skirt swirl away.
The memories squeeze and
ring the last tears of listen.
Sink your teeth into the flesh
of the fleeing quarry and bring it down.
Angst, a vein that runs through the flesh of youth.
The mind of never mind, well OK then.
The angst smiles as you materialise
walking in step and hand in hand,
where butterfly minds dance in the sunbeams.
The beat nails a notice to the wall of sound
that announces the us to all.
The music that spins two into one and
flings all else to the edge of engaged eyes.
We must be still there in the Sixties,
for there is no way that the music of memory alone
can bring to life our life then.
It exists, I am sure, and we can drop into costume
when the music turns the key on cue.
I am going there now to meet you.
The cave diver has lost his way,
there is no way back
from the watery caverns filled with tears.
The beauty gyrating in his lamp suspended,
as he floats forever in his cathedral.
Replay the old songs.
Rebreathe the air.
Hold me tight andlisten.
My eyes blur distant the pages of the book.
Lines double into convict stripes held fast.
My arm reaches through the bars,
finger tips tantalisingly close to them,
so far back in time.
But they are dead of course.
All of them.
They did not know me and
I do not recognise them.
Just the variety of their suffering.
Of all the wars, and
of all the pestilence, and
of all ages, and the far aways,
and days and days and days.
Sink again, my sobbing nods.
They all turn their faces to me
as I tread upon their grimaces.
Tiny last glowworms in their fastness or
their close-up anguished clawing.
Damn them all!
Here and now is fast unraveling before my eyes,
as the cell door slams upon the peephole light.
Tomorrow might parole the book's final chapter,
but will I see the day?
The spinning top of past and present precesses.
Am I racing around a Möbius strip?
Or ticking down my telomere?
My heart aches for them that were then,
beyond these prison striped lines.
Who will write of me and silver
the shellac flaked mirror of history?
A boot splash trembles a frog spawn city,
burgeoning impatient on the top of Cefn Bryn,
hushed high on a spring morning.
Muddy steps, hiking-stick steady,
on this green conveyor of tranquility.
The wild horses in the long grass ponder
through long white fringes, and
with a snort nod of "morning"
return to breakfast in bed.
The buzzards wind up the clock.
The brow of the hill rings pristine in blue.
The mist's translucent petticoat teases damp
over Oxwich point to snooze way out at sea.
The chimney smoke regards the dale,
hesitates, then unfurls over a muted canvas.
As Nicholaston Burrows stutters in sandy boots
down through shady Crawley Woods,
the top path opens resplendent, a peacock's tail of views.
Of Oxwich Bay recumbent,
Tor Bay's secretive tide below, and
Three Cliffs caress, in its malevolently sweet embrace.
The sea spittle froths impatient along the rocky coast.
A detonation of pleasure of breathing in
the day's sun-eyes and warm-cool breezes,
that caress the secret places,
of knowing we are here.
Tingling fingertips to toes.
Lunch is served on a log,
with sand-sea-sky wine, and
sandwich rushes in the sea washed grasses,
served by seagulls spinning on a wing, creaming the sky.
Our thoughts, far away from flesh and blood,
resonate in the benevolent gift of all around,
that the eye can drink and draught a sigh,
for we have a scene a dream.
Heart aching muscles wrap up the day,
in a salt soak of wind dried tears,
spiked sun ward in day-long sky.
How we love this walk and a love requited,
when we return again to sea.
The kaleidoscope will have moved a smidgen,
and our hearts will miss a beat.
The year will have moved a smidgen,
and we will know.
In Glorious Mud
Looking pale, looking shocked,
eyes asking of regret stung numb.
Two six-year old pals of
boys will be boys, will be how
it all went wrong on that walk from school
along and across the shortcut field
that was not quicker in the long run.
Frederick stuck in a muddy hell,
wriggling, wriggling, free.
Then Tomasz stuck, "wriggle, wriggle!".
Stuck! Stuck, stuck, stuck! Frightfully stuck!
"Help Frederick" pleads no ifs or buts,
but a big decision for a six-year old,
with quicksand horrors mired in mind.
Got to. Must do. Frederick in desperation digs,
bare hands glutinous cold black of death.
Alas, alas! Tomasz is stuck, "help, help!"
two voices rattle forlorn. Forlorn
Frederick to the roadside trudges,
but no cars stop for a little boy
so desperately flagging,
dragging himself back down.
Desperately digging their eyes locked in fear
that they will be taken down, down,
down into the bog.
As must is must, Frederick watch-phones home
"mum, help me, help me us, help us, quick, quick!".
Tears smear these muddy dears when
Tomasz's dad arrives and they tremble,
as if re-born, as they are torn, free from their extremis.
Dirty, muddy, smudgy, heads hung low,
with pale faces and dark eyes of terror past.
With the ache of escape of why oh why?
Did we go that way of never again?
Two pals closer to the edge have found
resilience, bravery, friendship, in their fear.
But have no fear, for these two little chaps will
bed down that much bigger tonight.
Mum's eyes blur with kiss-full tears.
Well done Frederick.
My big little one.
Tutt tail, tutt tail, tutt tutt cat,
tail finger tail tutts, ‘tis tutt cat.
Rolling this way, rolling that,
touch me, don't touch me, don't do that.
Smile eyes, cat eyes, slit, slit, shut.
Pert ears, cat ears, eyes tight shut.
In out, out in, out in the sun sit.
In out, out in, fire front sat sit.
Sun breeze chin sniffs up warm,
sniffing up high this morning warm.
Eyes say, here’s looking at you kid,
swiveling, ears to you kid, kid.
Zooming speeding, in a wind storm mind,
wrecking, bouncing, mad, mad mind.
Wide eyed with madness, letting it out,
quick, quick, quick, let me out, let me out.
Ambivalent, maybe, maybe not,
maybe rub, or maybe not.
Flicking, licking, washing all over.
Well-fed washing, ears over and over.
Understand a purr, purring purpose,
feed me, lovely, purring on purpose.
Purr purr, wait wait, purr, purr, purr,
quietly slowing, purr, sleep, purr.
Breathing slowly, flicking whiskers,
dreaming, twitching, whiskers, whiskers.
Little shiver, sigh, sigh, silence,
cat nap, gone nap, cat nap, silence.
Touch not, dare not, the cat's fast asleep,
let's all slip down, slip down, for a sleep.
This chair, that chair, where today?
Slept there yesterday, sleep here today.
Yoga cat, yoga cat, paws four tight,
curled up tight ball, tighter, tight.
Humph, yawn, eyes blink at you,
waking up, waking up, blinking at you.
Stretch a little, stretch a lot,
arch back, claw mat, claw mat a lot.
Step up, sit up, look all around,
nice to see that you're still around.
Stroll left side, right side, strolling right out,
where's my food dish? Dish it out.
Sniff sniff, lick lick, yes well OK.
I’ll eat it if I have to, so yes, OK.
Sip of water, stroll up the garden path,
stalking the sun not the shadow path.
This is my post, rub it, claw it, claw, claw, claw.
Scratch it, scratch it, claw, claw, claw.
Statue cat a tweet bird, stalk, stalk, stalk.
Low down profile, paw stalk, stalk.
Eyes, eyes, eyes on target focus,
bum wiggle wiggle down, focus, focus.
Now! Bah missed it! Missed it screech stop,
nonchalantly yawn, course I meant to stop.
Sits sun, sits sun, sits eyes listen,
eyes sniff, nose sees, listen, listen.
Time for another snooze, spin in the grass,
around and around to lay my grass.
Buzzing summer flies, in sun beams gold,
cat gold, fool’s gold, gold, gold, gold.
Tutt tail, tutt tail, tutt tutt cat,
tail finger, ‘tis tutt, ‘tis tutt cat.
Around and around, the cat's days go,
yes out now, but then in you go.
She will tell you when she needs a friend,
that’s the end of your story, my cat story friend.
A life of days with me, with you.
Night moon, night moon, how I long for you.
Snuggle down together just me and you,
for me how, me how I do love you.
You are me cat, I know you know.
Me? I am your man, and I know you know I know.
Bye for now.
A Coral Island in child land.
A linen boarded cover,
smoldering in your hands.
Through the white cloud front pages
dance sunbeams, words.
Muse on the drawings,
milestones of the adventure,
of your invitation.
Please come on in, please do.
Little one tiptoes into the world of words,
to test the air with bated breath.
Horizons flowing on the sea of words,
carousel snowflakes sizzling down.
Before more books, follow books, and
endings yield to the expected,
these first books of childhood,
are the real unknown, unknowns.
To enter is to walk therein, thereon,
and to walk that walk alone.
For the writer left yon time ago,
and although the story will not change,
you are not to know.
That your mind will change on the words,
as you change the words you know.
Those evil shadows on your wardrobe,
you remember, in the dark?
Yes, I remember! But
I hope these words, these words,
will not be scary now?
Do not worry, in you go.
Hold the book tight as the visions flare on
tightrope lines, hand over hand,
climbing the chapters, knocking on doors.
But there is no story now.
Just you in throes of thrall.
With pear drop tears, and fears,
and the glory from there and back again.
No one can know, for it is your book,
and your book alone.
Innocent lines in innocent minds,
believing in words after words,
after scenes, after characters,
after friends, and friends of friends.
Snap the book closed on them,
and they are yours to keep, forever and a day.
But those dawn dew drops, on those first few lines,
are jewels, even as they waft away.
Gulp on the nostalgia, a warm heart in your throat.
Recoil, return to some shocking words,
or dream on the breeze of words high
in the orchard suns of mosaic gods.
The warming mists where you have been
and where back again cuts sore.
Hug the book and rocking incant the words.It is for me, it's mine, it's me.
In the guts of Swansea, under the station line,
there's a white tiled subway that smells of urine.
Graffiti souls screech down from the walls,
"shit to you all" inaudibly, yet desperately calls.
When you alight from the train, as "all change" is called,
and walk down High street, you will be sadly appalled.
Ponder the oxymoron of Elysium's elegant tiles,
that are pigeon defecated and vomit defiled.
High street’s elegant rococo facades,
are ageing, ageless, in winsome brocades.
Whilst the lower floor extractions are filled against rot
in sell-all cheap shops or similar grot.
Yes, there are post-modern, arty, Phoenix attempts,
to create pastel, architect-less, nauseating tenements.
Or the artisan artists living out bids
to bring art to the struggling fag couples with kids.
Behind High street, Castle street, and post-war curse,
the Strand is redeveloping a parallel universe.
Emperor's new clothes, for avant garde young things,
who look out over more deluded avant garde blings.
But drowning out our voices, our every thought,
in Castle gardens sits a giant TV, expensively bought.
Gardens? What a concrete, televised joke,
the grass roses of old were never bespoke.
Whirligig beetles, the scouring machines,
sucking up gum and even more obscenes.
When the fountains are vandal dyed bloody and red,
is the age of tranquility finally dead?
Pub after pub in their mercantile mire,
dressed in Wind street old banks' elegant attire.
Mini-skirted mutton dressed up as lambs,
to the slaughter of alcohol arm in arm madams.
Late night brouhaha slumped in the gutter,
shhnott drunk shee, arms around us mutter.
As the neon rain soaks the poor old dears,
their mascara runs tragic in hysterical tears.
St Mary's church is now selling cakes and teas,
in the graveyard - "that's the vicars parking place please!"
As the evangelists at the kerbside microphone good news
in the church there are rows upon rows of empty pews.
The statue of Old Nick wooden and red
leers down on the lingerie sexshop ready for bed.
The pong from the soap shop is lurid on air
that fights inelegantly with fag smoke everywhere.
The "art" on the black wall says "more poetry needed"
but with not one word of graffiti has anyone pleaded,
that the perfumeries piled up in the department stores,
take just one look at this turgid town of ours.
Dylan would surely turn in his grave
that his "ugly, lovely" town is simply ugly not brave.
Shopping soulless in bustle, in a pestle and mortar,
they have been ground down like pigs away to their slaughter.
Car parks and car parks, over here, over there,
on pavements, in churchyards, there are cars everywhere.
The Kingsway has abdicated to wed a motorway
with central reservations that say “pedestrians no way!”
Wheelie bins and wheelie bins on streets overflow,
that lead to the guildhall's painted fingernail on show.
Virginal white the clock tower condescendingly regales
a pastiche of people, in this second city of Wales.
Funny old Fynone so grand you have been,
tucked up behind Walter road and often unseen.
Mansion houses and broadways and smart little park,
cravat and bow tie where dogs on leads bark.
What Swansea had been Fynone displays
with an aching nostalgia for the grand old days.
In Cwmdonkin park Dylan sings in his chains
and rattles in his grave as anarchy reigns.
Roll down the hillside to genteel Brynmill
now a university dormitory for students. Brill!
Walk through the senescent park, its motor boat gone,
and the menagerie cages so forlorn, so forlorn.
Parks with cycles that are going too fast,
with no park keeper to ring the bell at last
call to vacate and sleep down the tumultuous day,
of a childhood adventure along Swansea bay.
Walled around with hills and a valley escape
Swansea prods inland in a sou'wester cape.
Raining in grand sheets drawn across Penlan
they collapse on the Tawe and its villages in van.
SA1 appears not to be fun,
built it seems for everyone / no one.
Icing coloured apartments, one upon another,
the docking for shipping gone, brother oh brother!
Marina views from more tired apartment’s ambition,
sighs at the well-oiled flotsam detrition,
that stabs their idealized real-estate brochure,
finally lancing their expensive, sartorial composure.
But in the sea at Langland there is a saving grace,
of a swimmer in the winter with the wind in his face.
Away from the bustle of a Swansea forlorn,
a poet can forgive – for a new way is born.
The tears of the day, cut on a sigh,
on an ache, rein back my heart,
teetering breathless on the cusp of eternity.
The dark void snuffs the stars,
blood strings black, wrung of care,
congealing in the cold universe.
The pain of a dreadful augur clamps tight.
Lean my head against no shoulder.
Stare into the abyss of closed eyes.
A relapsing renegade of humanity
seems to be sneering, die!
If I did, what would I see?
What message would I send back so urgently?
The flaming coals sneer in the deceit of night.
In a thick curtained aspidistra room,
with a mock lace sliding tablecloth.
Polished ticks from the grandfather clock,
dock tock, dock tock, dock tock …
The black encrusted kettle tuts
hypnotic on the fender brass.
Silence fingers ears so tight,
wrinkles eyes in the coal smoke curling.
Where am I? A sob-bite through teeth
in grimace on the edge of knowing.
Hammering silently again and again,
the thoughts pendulum back and forth,
laying in the mind still awake
in a day yielding to night.
Such a marshmallow indulgence.
Tell me when it's bedtime andI'll awake from a dream of a dream.
How it hurts when all you have tried to do,
all you could have done, has slipped through your fingers.
An arid sand fist grasping on nothing.
Empty box of a rattling schoolboy, compass-less on a rough sea.
Flashes of sunlight between the clouds of misunderstanding.
Unquestioned learning, the answers were wrong?
Work perspectives in a boring tunnel vision,
unwilling to see past the end of your nose.
Why this way? Was never asked.
Swirl around the empty goals.
Achievement boxes, unopened, most unticked.
Those that were ticked have shriveled away.
Nails claw at the precipice.
Snuffed candles of the glittering prizes
smoke waxing cold in pyrrhic indifference.
Painful slither flat on your gutter.
Every visionary chapter grubby paged,
turn-torn into shredded platitudes
of ineptitude crawling.
The baldness of age revealing
a dandruff of thoughts falling
pallid on the final pages of life.
Rhetorical wrecking smelted,
moulded, and fettled into
an epitaph of a defecated semi-colon.
Peristaltic vowels of a life sentence
directing but one way.
To be hung by the wreck until said.
Aura at the nurse's station,
a pool of light in the penumbra of night,
nurse in a ward of care.
Cotton wool wrapping the ache of a deep day,
sighing in the relief of a moment.
The shift started an age ago with
a report of caring for this day into night.
Nurses conditioned to conditions changing for
good or ill into the wee hours.
Bedded down with care and cleansing,
cups of tea with tablets and soft words.
The day lays down upon them all.
The hospital murmurs, and clicks, and creaks.
Breathing slows as eyes close in the beds,
or strain in pain wincing at the walls alone.
Soft steps ward them end to end,
knowing the need of a comforting word,
of a bedside hand in hand.
The need of this or that to settle again,
to sink back into the soothing care of night.
The nurses softly chat of this and that,
of what a patient's care is needing,
or answering the red electric buzzer pleading.
Held fast in the tired nurse's mind
the ill patient's every need,
when even they know not, or
when the doctor is called for this or that,
until all is fine again. Just fine. For now!
But still held fast in the nurse's mind,
a telepathy of empathy that will time and again
sooth a pain, or change a bed, or wipe a brow,
there now, all is fine and dandy.
Then at the bed trolley pushing against the sleep,
that all night nurses seek at 4am as
the ward round of care steps quietly.
As it has done each night and every night,
nursing taught by nurses in the still of night,
the softness of hard caring, night after day,
night after night, so that all is done right!
The way it should be done to ensure
carefree care at the end of another long night.
The dawn suffused window lightens the nurses cloak
on to shoulders that have borne the cares of night,
that laid a hand on every brow that ached with
help me nurse, please help me, in their eyes.
Of course, of course, the care of the night says
I will hold you safe until the day.
Tired out, yet each one floating through the night
to burst the shutters of another bustling day ward,
where busy nurses are taking the night report,
ready for the day-long down to another night,
where another night shift will bed their day away.
The report says all was well except for poor ...
who died in the night, (nod) and his relatives cried,
as he was dispatched, away in the silver-cloud.
Property wrapped and listed, signed and deposited,
and the bed made up afresh. For the next emergency
is on its way from A & E. Wonder what it will it be?
Goodnight - or should that be good morning?
Too dog tired to smile.
I'm away to me bed.
See you again tonight.
The ghost of a boy longing to play,
turns his face to me.
Fixes me with pleading eyes.
"Come back, please come back.
Come back home, and play with me".
I know this boy,
for this boy is me.
But such longing
I do not recall.
Or do I?
A vignette tear blurs
the surrounding stones.
Home is where the heart is.
But where is home for me?
Give me the child and I will give you the man.
Or so they say.
But here the child is asking of the man,
come back home to play with me?
Oh boy, oh boy!
That enigma so heartaches,
but I am afraid to turn away.
For looking at the child,
I can feel the dark in me.
Dark moonstone eyes ripple
the shallow depths of childhood.
"Hold my hand" he says "come on! Run with me".
And I am gone, fleet-foot on the meadow's
pollen joy coating a summer sky.
Why? Oh why?
Did you look back at me?
Our goodbye fingers slip apart.
Receding faster, smaller, fainter.
Stop! Don't go. I want,
What do I want?
Of you, looking back at me.
Give me a hug, so tight we melt
into each other, to the other side
of time, my spinning won.
Oh how I wish, I wish.
But alas no.
I cannot come out to play.
I have to stay in today.
I have to stay in today.
Ever ready Freddie - Frederick,
chased the girls and made them sick.
Took his Lego to the sea,
made a boat and sailed to me.
Hey ho Frederick, super hero,
what chance switch off iPad? Zero!
Politest boy I have ever seen,
shares with his sisters, and is never mean.
Gave me a lecture at the beach,
where he cracked a rocking speech.
Broke it into two and the impact zone,
was clearly showing on the stone.
How did he carry it up so high?
Looked like it fell out of the sky.
Then on his surf board, oh so brave,
came whizzing in on a roaring wave.
Made a turn as he reached the shore,
laughing ecstatic above the roar.
As a Lego engineer he is supreme,
building things beyond a dream.
Gears? No fears, or rotating arms,
imagination unlimited, see how it swarms.
Insects, animals in a mind to keep,
Nana saw him rescue a lost sheep.
It had strayed outside the fold,
but Fredrick the open gate did hold,
In went the sheep, thank you Fred,
now I can go back to my bed.
What a kind boy Frederick is,
Nothing too much trouble - oh gee whiz!
Fast as lightening on IT
Frederick is full of energy.
Where will his talent take him to?
Unlimited places, I can tell you.
One day Frederick will rule the world,
Grandpa is watching as it unfurled.
Go for it Frederick.
Ready, steady, go!
Go for it Frederick,
Go, go, go ... GO!
In the eye of a storm where anti-silence circles.
Unnatural how nothing presses like nothing.
It might be hard to bare - too soon to know.
Such a warm fur coat, static tinnitus shocking
the woofers of silence into ebb and flow
and a soporific snuggle down and down.
The hand of silence laid upon my neck,
soothes my throbbing temples beside
my unfocused eye. Not drawn to anything,
no attention demanded here or there.
Eyes closed, or open, just the same.
Sighs floating in a warmness rising.
Time is not the essence of silence,
in time, there is no time.
Just simply me and me,
for no you in silence reigns.
But always something it seems.
Hush, hush, flames a hypnotic log fire
slowly eulogising to a metronome breath of thought.
How quiet it is tonight?
Silence hand on my silent hand,
upon my silent pillow.
A slowing down of down.
No fast thoughts does silence relish.
No timeless rush to be silent or to be.
A happy sadness soft carpets
the path down silence lane.
Silence of the silence,
gently silencing the thoughts in me.
"Oh" I gently whisper head to head,
I do love you so.
Proud iguana slowly baking up on Mumbles head,
hooked on Swansea bay, baited with blue barnacled hulls,
pier weeded, screaming shite hawks wheeling around
the rattling wind mast's pennant running eyes.
Promenading dogs the icecream kids
blubbing over blobs splat on fishermen's
recoiling baits, wriggling ragged
out to the lighthouse tales
of the treasure never-never land.
Silver railings posh down the pier boards
drumming the feet astride the deep in-betweens
of the slit-eyed glaring sea hiss spits.
Lifeboat orange anxiety whites the fingers
screeching on the rail of any second now,
and down the slip the child is sick.
Turn back, let the amusements cheer
and empty your pockets told you so.
Running red in veins
the Mumbles trains
rail against those who destroyed
the shaking, chili hot leather seats
and brass railed trams.
Oscillating tides full in faces, then at forty paces
the out of in of ebb and flow,
the bottom of top of seabed skies and choppy clouds
that break upon the lovely day to spoil it
for the scurrying crowds. Typical, isn't it?
Wireworm streets in curly back aways,
cottage cringing, pretending sleep for
hi de hi.
Oystermouth castle lording a stony-faced
decorum, unmoving gates the gauntlet of
ghostly intentions of visiting walls to troop away,
high on the day, way above Mumbles.
Castle hates the flashy lighthouse fog horn
mists over allotments seasons pending.
The castle cat struts,
safe in a portcullis purr over
the bonneted lace and feather face of
the headland pointing way out to sea.
Wooded leafy in summer or a stickman winter
waving in rhythm to the day-night seasons.
Chips vernix on hot salt fingers of vinegar
and pie "tweet now love?".
Past the elegiac elegance of ornamental beds
wallpapered in bedding plants repeating the
regimented nursery rhymes,
in such dreary times.
Dear God Mumbles! Cheer up!
Happen, it has happened?
Crashed the wave of grin and bear it.
Me old Swansea Jack.
Tortuous caverns, frozen explosions deep
in rock, sculpted by the leaching rains of life.
Full of the beauty of what has gone.
The years have gone.
The players have gone.
The sparkling livers of life
have left these beautiful vacuoles in
We are such solid citizens.
Are we not?
But how we salivate for their citric eccentricity.
I wish I was a painter, or a musician.
I wish I was a bohemian free spirit.
Instead of an observer of life rushing past.
But wishes are the nails in a coffin.
Lay back, relax, tap, tap, tap.
The punk pallbearers laugh.
Dead funny right!
My words echo off those cavern walls,
recoiling from their resistance.
The artists brush that aside
and sculpt it as they will.
Stand aside hard words,
we are in a rush, no time to stare.
The flow of life is mixing egos,
staining the grain of Bohemia,
mixing palette peoples into each other.
Pissing pastels! Burst the indigos.
Rupture the minds into the mixing bowl
cooking tomorrow's child.
Are my words caveman rock art?
Or the jewels riding out on the cataract?
Does the stream of consciousness
see the bohemian in itself?
Or do the cavern walls see the bohemian
Their walls wrinkling in the rust of lust.
The river flows without question,
guided by the rocks without question.
Bohemia streams through the plebeians.
The sixties axiom:
if you can remember them,
then you were not "there".
So, if the poet sees the stream
escaping from the cavern,
then he is probably trembling on the bank.
But maybe, just maybe,
if the words are pouring fast enough,
he is shooting the cataract? Splash!
Are these words the stream, or the cavern?
Depends if you are the stream running over them,
or the walls looking down.
Hark, hark the words do park.
The doggerels are coming to town!
There's a Dylan hole in Cwmdonkin,
no singing chains, like see?
Boatless in Brynmill, no caged
monkey in about the budgie frights.
Singleton's Swiss cottage burned down,
a replicated replica pretends not.
St James senescent elegance,
dog pooped in pine needles wrapped.
St Thomas's football teams
offside flags the docks are docked.
Underhill carparked by football
parents, let the kids learn the truth.
Llewelyn slopes each and every way
all paths to nowhere.
Cockett woods pretends
in damp, quarried belief.
Jersey (Danygraig) pooless, paddles
around the spinning terraces.
Clyne, portcullised in azaleas
for the blue rinse brigade.
Ravenhill alongside Carmarthen road
forgets the why or wherefore.
Morriston gates into different estates
unsure of its identity.
Victoria's embarrassed statuary
in flower beds and pigeon patina.
Castle garden's dead dyed fountains
and whirligig machines eating gum.
King George Vth playing fields attacked by
painful shingles, crusted in oil drum rubbish bins.
Away the lads on the park,
drop your rubbish,
what a lark!
Oystermouth sucking on chip fingers
fishy crazy golf, around a dried up wishing well.
Paradise on Townhill
The Rec wrecked by cars, where
fairgrounds search in vain for the circus grass.
Bonymaen park bulwark of
adventures which were once all around.
Fendrod lake flooded o'er the dereliction,
Swansea, swanning elegance, tries its best.
Primrose park's secret bowls smack
of wood on wood above the London line.
Dunvant homes for heroes
from the trenches to a park
from the trenches to a park
Singleton botanic gardens seats
the sun's own greenhouse temptations.
Southend gardens - day tripper yeah!
It took me oh, so long, to ride out.
Ynystawe gamely aside the Tawe
on the edges of our city parks.
I park my thoughts?
Play up, play up,
and don't play my game!
The Swansea Vale lab in the late 60s
Sepulchre light, bottles the shelves
whirring the thoughts, hot plated,
fume-hood extracted, rumble fanned to oblivion.
Data points of processes recorded,
materia industrica amber trapped
in a giant book of words.
Men benched in concentration.
Glassware reacting to the ovens' snapping
rhythm of every preset.
Minds and bodies in a motion of exactitude,
replicated, secure, day on day.
A crescendo of danger bottled in evil
colours, clear in dangerous fluidity.
Bromine, H2S, hydrofluoric acid,
colours and smells of careful my boy!
Know the knowing now.
The room stands timeless,
a fairground's penny slot morbid scene.
On the benches, just so and so,
measure the pipettes, burettes dispensing
the gist, of just so and so.
Rooms linoleumed corridor wise,
windows facing in on tests, or facing out
as the works in passing looks back in.
The pulse of industrial processes waiting on the results
that men tease from the samples brought by hand.
Lab coats holy brailled, acid eaten,
mine, yours, the visitor.
Acid lab, effluent, daily, weekly, biochem,
shipped ores or a precious-metal assay.
The three kings of orient are not as dazzling
as these apocrypha pocket-books
of the ways mandated, assay I say.
That's the way to do it.
in a murmuring anthill works.
Data carrying, time and again,
back and forth the wires.
Tea break cups pouring tea-leafed lives,
in conversations weaving through the science,
resting in process pauses here and now.
Life precipitated in pastiche vignettes,
tell of the men when outside these walls.
Lab men trade in analytic data,
set value in values, not in the thoughts
of the men that mind how they replicate
the tests, each day, as the lab goes on, and on.
Marionettes on the discipline of science.
A science club where quiet decorum please
is needed as the way.
The multifarious methodologies set the tone
that slides in processes around and around
the benches with beakers of cause and effect.
A distillery of values settles in the book of words.
Taste the lab lights goodnight day.
The endpoints the way to tomorrow,
when more samples will lay in wait.
But for now, the genie is back in the bottle.
All is safely gathered in.
Time closes on the giant book of words.
Wouldn't yew believe it?
You! Yes! Yew and you,
have all walked past this yew.
In fact it is older than you.
One can see the British Legion blood
pleading from its bark.
Live and let live - eh?
I don't know who planted it - do you?
But a legion of reasons are imbibed
by those who care to stop and stare,
or are waiting for the bus.
It has roots in Mumbles,
and shoots each Mumble's spring.
Our time to stand and stare,
as the tide of life ebbs and flows,
or when the east wind blows,
we flee up Newton's sanctuary road,
scurrying past yew immemorial.
Or the deep blush of its red berries,
warm in tears behind our eyes,
every Mumbles spring without fail.
But we failed yew.
Because I have news for you.
They are going to cut it down!
No longer will our hands rest upon yew.
We did not raise our hands to be counted
when your life was quickly discounted.
They say a churchyard yew has
a root resting on all who are buried there.
Well our yew is rooted in Mumbles
for all who live or visit here.
But it's development is under development.
It asks nothing but to live in peace,
but do they care?
Could they not enfold its charm
in a plan to do no harm?
No! Sorry. Go away.
Well goodbye yew - at least I tried.
They will not miss you, but I will.
It's jobs they say, as they often say,
what rotten, rotten, rote.
But they will miss the green when
corporate concrete sets the scene.
Oh Mumbles, Mumbles what could have been?
What have yew done again,
Do you not remember the Mumbles train?
Bless you, dear yew.
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.
Checkout what's coming …
Bar code, bar code, bar code.
How will the shopping sheep decipher that!
The Swansea Vale – the white man's grave
The Burma road in the Swansea Vale,
a works at the end of the world.
Walking through the acid plant,
where the SO2 hot off the sinter,
in huge lead pipes, crosses high above the road.
For when she blows, and the white gas flows,
into the dark chain stores.
Out the men explode, spitting Sulphur
and coughing blasphemy.
SO2 in confluence to catalytic converters,
where vanadium pentoxide, so elegantly named,
advances SO2 to SO3 in giant vessels,
roof high, sitting on furnaces, manacle of gasses.
SO3 at home in dilute sulphuric acid
concentrates and concentrates, until
even 104% fuming sulphuric I have seen.
An alchemist in rubber apron stands, turns
taps, and down ceramic troughs the magic mixes,
any blend of specific gravity - you choose.
A matrix of lead pipes, a gargantuan retreat
for workmen of the days of apprehension, at home
in a world of hard men who have learnt the ways.
The ferrous sulphate plant, all corrugated red
with rust and dust and murmuring machinery bowels.
On deserted concrete floors a lab boy collects
a daily squirt of liquor to tell the tale
of processes proceeding, all is well?
Cadmium heavy metal toxic, lead,
and zinc, the smelter dirges.
A spaceship control room, the vacuum furnace
distils the zinc and leaves the lead.
But there is also silver and, yes, gold!
Test, the foreman green coated points,
for arsine, carbon monoxide, cyanide,
by God there is!
Men in a man's world.
The liquors run off in effluent tested
into the Nant y Fynn, and the Nant y Fendrod.
There are brook trout there – just alive.
The blue lagoons of the settling dorrs
stir the effluent, dropping grey powders
to be tested.
Everything, but everything, is tested!
The white-coated lab men have the whole
plant processes at their fingertips.
Their samples, then the results
laid down in a book-bible of the days,
and of the ways the plant is performing well.
Time dusty books steer the
chemistry the way it has always been.
Chemical processes make the men, who
make the processes work.
The managers, foremen, workmen, and the leaded,
know their perch in the grand scheme of things.
As the plant murmurs, the
groups of men in their places,
feel the life in other places,
where other men are in their places.
The Vale works the life of the men away,
as their women work at home.
The beast murmurs in sleep - do not disturb,
for lives have been lost who did.
To truck and train, in steam and rain,
and clouds of dust that ply back and forth.
You use the products,
but you have no idea of the works of these men.
Of furnace men and acid alchemy,
that change the boys into men of iron,
annealed in acid, leaded and zinc plated.
Niches spun together by the processes
that the men are welded to.
Clock in, clock off,
spit out the dust and breathe the air afresh,
as they cough out through barrier,
or out the side gate,
the tall wall off Jersey road.
The continental shift men come and go,
up and down the Burma road.
In and out the Swansea Vale,
across the white man's grave.
Sun wine eyelids of a barley dawn,
between thought and breath.
Log flames dancing on Maypole ribbons,
as the warm cat s_s_stretches,
thoughts drift away on the violins of night.
The trout stream wrinkles in mirth
across a midge of meadow, all
cotton grass breezes and buttercup suns.
The water vole is window shopping, as
a shadow fish takes, makes, a splash of chrome,
that ripples across this hay hot day.
Christmas Eve holding its breath,
over the blue snows, under the stars.
Blinking, the children succumb, one by one,
to sleep fast down to Christmas Day,
where rapture unwraps the morning bed
of another comic-book annual.
Merry Christmas, from mum and dad.
See the sea queen's sequined faces,
a mannequin nether to the moon.
Marshalling respect at a high-noon standoff
with the shivering swimmer reading his tide.
Sun, cloud, sun, cloud, willful wind,
excoriating a blood-blue salmon skin.
The blast of a brass blow-lamp sun,
searing in retinal memory.
A soul harmonica low cats the night
shadows around street corners
the mist streams away.
The sadness darks down the walls
to pour over the pavement's
tears of neon snappiness.
A lone harmonica inhales a sob.
The poet alone,
tossing and turning in words,
longs for the sleep of the full stop.
Longs for the peace of the word,
in a world of words,
that is just the right word,
with all the other words,
that will lie in a reader’s mind
as just altogether right,
to Lazarus up a special memory.
Is that an abstract?
Is that an abstract?
What right have I?
Dark veins of the valley terraces.
There you see, above the London train,
see their doors, two up, two down in stone.
What right have I, to that leaching nostalgia?
The iron works blazing red in their faces.
Families who lived and died in those dripping days.
For the struggles born and bred there,
what right has my comforting words?
Frozen, dead, the pit head's silhouette wheel.
Sadness etched deep in coal line faces,
that tethered men so deep.
What right have I to look upon their countenance?
Coal and iron emote the Welsh in song.
But the neighbourhoods are bleeding to death.
For, no work now - sorry.
What right have I to consider who they were?
Or are! For they live on.
Their way of life is deceased.
Only they can know it in the full.
What right have I to question them?
Are the valleys a museum now?
How dare we venture to bestow upon them
our own interpretation of the past?
What right? None at all.
What right have I to ask them what is right?
They are not my ancestral collage.
Should my words even attempt paint them?
Probably not. But surely that cannot be right?
How sad that what makes us Welsh,
or so we like to think,
has rushed right past now.
So, do we not belong at all?
Am I not Welsh, who has lived my days
in another deprivation in dereliction?
Where I played among the ghosts.
What right had they to speak to me?
Every right. For I saw the old men's faces.
I saw their coal tattoos, their scars.
I listened, as their dusty chests spat.
So, I have a right. Right?
For I have seen a furnace splat slag - watch out!
The sand-mould gas ignite and slam the floor.
I have felt the glow of hot metal on my face
and the fizz of a spark burning in my ear.
When the ghosts in the stones bleed cold tears,
and the buildings crumble under my feet.
I hear the stones repeat.
S’alright bachgen. S'alright now. Having a nap see?
Art records the times.
Colours of toil, and death, and suffering.
Varnishes the dignity of the people
who stare back at me.
I cannot sing in a male voice choir.
I cannot play the national game.
I cannot speak our native tongue.
But I have the right to my past.
See the vision of my forebears,
there, above the mantle shelf.
See how they entreat of me,
make tomorrow a better place, son.
For the past was the death of me.
I have the right.
I hear you now.
I see, I see, I see.
Tethered brainstem flame to flame.
never the same.
A log shrouds its shoulders,
settles down, on a
cinder bed, red,
to ash greying.
eyelids flicker, as
the shadow of sleep stalks.
Dry logs piled on either side,
of the black stove hearth.
Tabbi catatonic rugged and
rolls and stretches beyond reason.
Warm says safe, away from
winter waiting out the flame
of our furnace bound.
Driftwood along summer days.
Collected, cut, stored
in a woodshed of emotion.
Smell the sun-long resin
of the once quick trees,
before their final journey across the seas.
Now salt leavened, weed slimed,
pebbled on the mottled storm beach.
Armfuls to heart and carried away,
in a demise of autumn days.
Weep no more as you lie still,
dead in a woodshed mausoleum.
Armchair deep with newspaper paring
layers of the world outside this glow.
A primordial hearth of hunter’s alarmat the demon circling beastly roar.
Safe in our genes we rest our spears
facing out the night.
Feel the eternity of the Big Bang
deep behind the flames,
toil of blood collected.
This is the fire of your being.
Your childhood days are wrapped in silk,
silver safe in my treasure chest.
For you have changed from a child to teenager,
about to become a beautiful young woman.
You are a blossom opening slowly.
Your smile a warm flowing tide,
full on a sandy shore.
A thoughtful, sweet, considerate big sister.
You wrap mum and dad, and your brother and sister,
deep in your love.
You are your mother's daughter, smile in smile.
Your father's daughter, look in his eyes.
Your self-assurance growing strong,
all that is good in the world I see in your eyes.
Your open face an embrace.
A precious stone shining soft in the sunshine.
Look at Grandpa looking at you.
Love is in our eyes.
Across the sea and
across the years.
Everyone loves you,
so sweet and special.
Keep blossoming, my love.
Keep spreading your love.
Dear, dear Caitlyn.
The trilby-man, swinging, one arm braggadocio
on the tryttz sparking, electric pole,
thump-bump directing the petticoat
bumper car rearing raw emotion.
Musk shrieking girls cling together.
The waltzer music booms the spinning neon,
bucking the bowels of the night.
The girls flirt-tease the older boys.
Music sirens up down up, over here, over there,
start-stopping the riders. Next, next!
In deeper, in deeper into the shows.
People in coloured motion, flashing, mirrored,
trying their luck, they lay their money down.
Damn the bloody coconut's stubborn stare.
Dart it, shoot it, whooo o whooo!
Around and around and bumple,
Tuppence in the machine for Woodbines two.
Anonymous tonight, nameless, ageless,
floating incredulous as the cacophony
bubble bursts upon the night.
Zinninging, grinning, delirious,
hot dog onions, smoking hot.
Roll up! Roll up!
All the fun of the fair.
A buffalo ring of blue smoking generators,
snorting, tethered by conger black cables
snaking danger across the mud 'n grass
morass of sinking footfalls numb.
Then we turn away.
Goldfish sad in a plastic bag,
a ready, teddy, go.
The ghosts have inhaled.
The boy’s and girl’s goodnights
slip through their fingers.
See you tomorrow?
Enshroud the night andDevil take the hindmost.
"Hey Jude, don't make it bad,
take a sad song and make it better"
sang the Beatles,
and those words burst into my mind
on the day you were born.
So far away in the USA.
I was at the beach in the sunshine
and suddenly it was suffused with joy.
I wrote your name in the sand.
I wrote it in pebbles.
I wrote it in seaweed.
That is happiness.
You were 3,000 miles away,
and probably fast asleep,
and you knew nothing about me.
But in my mind, you already had a special place.
A place that has got bigger,
so full of the things you do.
Now you are a talented young musician
and the Beatles, "Hey Jude" has been left behind.
For now you are the best there is!
With your sense of science,
and of art at heart,
you are like a rocket,
tethered, full-fueled, all set,
start the countdown - launch!
Nana and I bounced you in your pram,
from Cambridge, down to Harvard,
then in Cambridge, England too.
You were a precious little boy
our first grandson - yes you!
You were small like Grandpa was
when he was a boy like you.
But your cleverness seems to be
growing faster than Grandpa’s did,
Your mum and dad now take second place,
for you are the future now.
Growing in stature as the knowledge
is processed fast by you.
It is your understanding of things
that will take you on from here.
Grandpa will listen carefully to you,
and we will learn from each other.
Either side of the span of life.
You seem to be waiting,
probably like all children do,
to take the things that come your way,
and harvest them onto shelves.
Then when the recipes of life
no longer satisfy,
you will have thought out
your own recipe,
to go one way or another,
as you will be free to do.
Throw some things far, far away from you,
and keep other things especially tight and close.
We are all on the cusp of tomorrow,
but at your age Jude,
tomorrow is so very, very exciting.
Your harvest, recipient of childhood days
is waiting to explode.
In the dew of the morning of knowledge
you are a tear in grandpa's eye.
I would love to travel with you
through the mountain passes new,
where the pristine mountain meadows of life
are waiting there for you.
Will you ask Grandpa along for some tea,
when you get where you are going to?
"The minute you let it under your skin,
then you begin, to make it better"
(Adapted from Hey Jude by the Beatles).
Most of us have to adapt to life,
But hey Jude! Remember,
you can insist, that life adapts to you.
Cue: a drum solo and a reverberating organ finale!
What is the charge for a charged conversation?
Monetarised and excited.
around my digital surround.
Will the news horizon exsufflate
if they ever pull the plug?
the power makers.
Big screen, medium screen, small screen.
PC, laptop, tablet, phone.
How smart yours if they pull the plug?
Let me put my arm around you,
whisper in your ear,
look you in the eye.
Some never joined of course.
But, far from being shepherds,
keepers of the digital sheep,
they seem like hermits,
in a hermetic hermitage.
Digitally the world is brought close,
the horizon but a chimera.
A boundary condition with no outside,
around and around the conversations. Go!
Would a digital blackout guillotine the revolution?
Would the dark ages return?
But we make love in the dark,
do we not? Slowly on a slip road
just off the superhighway.
Did not our forebears live
without instant distant information?
Did not the threat around the corner
Darwin constrain them quite enough?
Who will be the better warrior when the
the digital lights go out?
The inter-connected may win the battle,
but lose the war.
Unless - unless a digital genocide culls the digiterati,
to conserve the preserve for the few,
with power just enough.
Would the de-digitised underworld
fight a guerrilla war?
Probably not, for the meetings could not be posted.
Ask not for whom tolls the bell?
It’s roaming tolls for you.
Text me now.
If the Net is down,
call around for a chat.
What did you say?
Or if the world boils over,
should we mix the atoms from the pyre,
and build, phoenix-like, a specious species silicon?
Scintillate with me?
If the world news is weeks old - so what?
When the algorithmic disseminator lies dead,
what lies ahead?
For lies, truth to tell, will come closer.
Sit here and look me in the eye.
Now say that again.
Daughter-mother of the Faeroese sea,
mystique of northern lights.
Elegant of the mists
on the blue island sounds so deep.
The very depths of you.
From an island, with an island's horizon,
to the big horizon always there,
you looked out over the sounds and wept,
the day you left your native shore.
Butterscotch and wine complexion.
Sunset cheeks and a soft knowing smile.
Sometimes, a childhood's wind tousled hair.
Sometimes, quiet as a boat waiting on the sea.
These islands of people slowly formed
your conversation to lay in a timely way
your feelings, to bring the sun, to
turn nature at its bleakest to warmth.
Strong silence of the land and sea
resting upon the days and ways
at top of the world.
The very heights of you.
A natural mothering mind to mind.
Time in mind of island times,
and the sea between, and the boat to shore,
to meet and greet, and laugh and dine
on cakes and coffee, bright in colours
striking at the grey days – be gone!
An extended family in your face,
from the precious land, from the sea.
In your manner, solid solace day on day.
A language veil of life beyond our understanding.
Knowing that we are in awe of you,
but softly, softly, soft-eyed kindly
you stroke the awe away.
All bright upon our countenance with
the rare sun, wind and grass,
and sea shore powerful waves.
Hush down our attempt to meet you half the way.
Your sweet strata of joy
parses the pressure of the hard rocks of life.
In rough days, our Faroese anchor,
so vulnerable and yet rock solid.
Then your golden children - what alchemy?
An amalgam of the mighty Faroese sea-skies
and the thunder of Welsh furnaces.
Annealed the white-hot metal
fizzing in the freezing ocean.
The stainless steel of family life.
The light of our lives.
A rare Faroese faerie.
Our dear, dear Fridbjørg.
A snow boy’s Christmas
Recoils the war comic's desert blast,
or a saddle dust cowboy stampede book.
In distant adventures settling warm down,
as the hearth fire slowly bleeds.
Late in the day, late in the year.
Christmas not too far away – but hey!
Yes! It is! It is, it softly is.
Child cheese clouds press
the snowflakes to rime the day.
Snow swards -
"Deep and crisp and even".
"Brightly shone the moon that night."
Around the Yule fire cruel,
stinging the boys’ chilblain fingers steaming,
dreaming of the Day.
Joy suffused from head to toe.
A Christmas gift for me,
just one you see?
Times are hard.
But an arm-deep stocking of
nuts, and tangerines, and chocolate money.
Always the Dandy, Beano coloured funny,
to float me, float me, far away.
Then at dusk the cliché stepped
right out of the Christmas card,
as we walked in a swirling snow carol,
mince pie lantern night of holly breath
and voices sweet.
A tattoo of childhood says,
I remember it, as if it were yesterday.
Iced a salt in the wind tears and
snow flake scarves and eyebrows.
Sniffle, shuffle, crunch the virgin snow
in black footprints, soon to fill.
The snow lamplight swirls the curtain
back over hearth and home.
Hush. Just hush. That's all.
In the night, and in the mind, and
where the sky meets snow. Hush.
Pressing harder and harder, down as down,
as can be thought it will never stop.
A child’s warm heart meek and mild
eyes the nativity in wonder.
It is coming around
if we wait right here.
Lowing down the deep day's
snowy warmth of mind and eyes wide.
"... We three kings of orientar ...".
Drape your decorations around my words.
This day is mine, forever.
But now you have yours.
Rapt golden in my ribbon lines.
This is my gift to you.
Your thought before my thought.
The bright silence of knowing.
Knowing that outside of my closed eyes
you are here inside.
Every sigh understood.
Every glance watched to fend
away a hurt.
Silence in my silence.
Answers without questions.
The love reactor, sub-critical, shielded,
a half-life all life long.
Blush smiles to the end of blood.
The embroidery of time,
of woven days.
Two trees grafted at the bud,
in autumn leaf one turning to the other.
Laying on the night, hand in hand,
two moonlit faces cheek to cheek.
Tides on the turn, lap the shores.
Two vacuoles of night.
Black hole where no love-light escapes.
The event horizon where
the gravity of love hugs tight.
A binary system spinning.
Together forever - Forever together.
Kara, you are 1,000 Kilometers away,
and we are 57 years apart.
Your school is new and nice, but
Grandpa's, built of stone is not, for
it closed long ago.
But we learn the same things.
I was on the school stage,
just like your love of drama, art
and writing, just like Grandpa's poems.
Grandpa's father liked art,
so, I guess we all draw together
and are not so far apart?
The same stars above,
and the same colours in the rainbow.
The same Gulf Stream to warm our swims.
Just think a thought and we are together,
or in our stories and poems.
Do you agree with me?
"Hi" always makes us smile,
while you stroke your cat
and I stroke mine.
We love them in the same way.
And your brother and sister, we
love them all together.
Grandpa grew up after the war
when there was not much money,
but he had lots fun when life was sunny.
He grew up in the ruins of the Swansea valley,
but you Kara are as free as the Norwegian forests,
in the snow, with your friends of the days.
You live a perfect life.
When Grandpa takes his sea swim each day,
he always thinks of you so far away,
you are there with me in my mind at play.
You know that I know that,
for I sent you a secret kiss to keep,
to use at any time.
We grow each day together,
although our countries are far apart,
we can hold hands in our minds eye,
and in each other's heart.
My dear Kara flower
here is another kiss
Keep it safe.
Keep it in your heart.
Bricks and Stones
Look at the old stones cold
in mind, warm in the sunshine.
How can we breathe life into them?
Who laid them thus?
Who mixed the mortar white,
and what smoked it grey?
See them in the walls, and in the houses,
and in the works derelict.
What men sat around the firebrick hearth
at break from work to talk of what?
See the brick as grey as a corpse,
eyes blank looking at your inquisition.
We're gone, be gone!
What billycan spat dust and tea
in denigration of their lot?
Who laid the wall slag stones
in order, whose shining hands
with cuts bloody?
Was it this way or that,
that they were laid like that?
Who were the men, and of what did they chat?
Those days on days.
Then see the pine-end of a house
collapsed away, and on the other wall
we trace the chimney flues bifurcations.
Who sat at that fire toast, or flat iron casting
a shadow on a shining brass.
One to this room, which was that?
One to another room, the parlour?
Or kitchen hob or scullery oven?
Or bedrooms one, two and three.
Life orbs dangling on a brick red Christmas tree.
Who ordered the stone built,
and who took the men to task,
and who supervised, and who
carried and cut and fetched?
All our questions echo back.
Stone blank they look at us.
Not a blink as the spider in the crack
wraps a fly as dead as the men who
laid the stones just like that.
Did they place their thoughts,
their sweat and tears just here and there,
and did they see us seeing them in their stones
and not seeing them recalling.
Recoiling even at such thought.
Hobnail boot minds, and firm
muscle hand veins.
But they were men, in the works long gone,
and women polishing homes.
Children laying meaning on the stones
often horribly grim.
The stone cannot be dead for
live hands placed them where looks said
there is best, and looks best, and so is best.
Once placed the manner described the man
who walled his world in stone?
Even the red brick housing estates
so alike one another, the men who laid them
were not indifferent.
See the sky-high chimney stack
that killed a man for every many bricks.
It took a life for life,
on that power station altar.
Or the stone dressed damp in the railway
culvert drains, with scarce a crack between them.
Live in stone and on and on,
I drone and drone, looking at the stone,
and I see the ascent of man
and of woman.
Inscribe the smooth tombstone that
a man has chipped away.
Place your hand on the stone
and embrace another day.
Autumn fine and dandy
The music wafts the perfume of my heart,
to fade silently in the autumn sunshine
of an Earl Grey morning on the cusp.
The last leaves flutter in the sunlight,
shadows on a blood red wall.
A silent tango, a dream.
My damp eyes clear.
Rest my arms on a poem's loving gate
to shawl a shiver in the mind,
to quiver on these lines.
Simple. There, you see?
See how the words tickle the trout arrow,
in the platted gold streams, time in mind.
Slowly, slowly, land it glistening,before it skips back, a rocket straight upstream.
Leave the too-loud music at the party.
Conversations just out of earshot.
Motion and emotion stir
hot in the air.
Outside, winter cooling to cold.
Step out, a long way home.
Flowing in thought
into the lake of night.
Close screw tight eyes.
All is dark.
Open up to the stars.
Floating no hands and feet,
just a heavy heart.
Same thought over and over,
forgotten over and over.
Darkness flows under the bridge
and is lost in the shadow.
The edge of the world it seems.
Same old way,
same old thoughts.
My pals noise the party,
talking to the girls.
The girls add to the noise,
talking to the boys.
The motion pulsates.
The music recycles.
Darkness as quiet and deep
as the party music is loud and bright.
The world is listening walking alongside.
Now up hill,
around the corner,
He cannot even get the question straight.
Answer! You echoing cobblestones,
you tunnel wet walls.
I'll go back and ask.
For a black velvet drink,
on a black velvet night,
at a bright black party.
More party people.
Take another noisy, lousy, think drink.
Who would want to be a teenager?
Cheer up! Might never happen?
I don't want to write this.
You don't want to read this?
I have to write this.
You don't need to read this?
Sitting here with dark thoughts in a bright room.
Swarming dust, bright in a sunbeam.
Dark when the sun sets.
You do not have such dark thoughts?
Vacant eyes the future in such comfort.
Beware a quicksand of the mind.
Where are my opinions?
Propagandised, rattling in an empty can.
Where are yours?
What about this one light thought ...
We are falling fast into a mass extinction.
How does one comprehend that?
No one can.
How can I fight human nature?
But it is our plight - ours!
Walk in front of the cars?
We live longer to count the diseases.
They are coming, and the wars, and
the droughts, and the sea level rise.
Will we rise to the occasion?
Tell me how?
Population growth does not increase the answers.
Would you vote for that?
What faction of your nationality would?
Let's run far away and hide.
How many killed?
Here are the sport results.
Much more fun.
Don't you think?
A hospital in every football star's bank account.
We are dying to see them
playing in their economic bunkers.
How can we reboot?
The impotence of the fit unwell.
Don't worry - take another antidepressant.
Shake the fiscal intrusion from the pot.
The information superhighway
will talk from the burning bush.
The tablets at home are speaking.
Trust the cohesion of the disparate?
The impotence of human behaviour,
touché the social imbalance rapier pinioned.
The deprivation of history.
The longevity of the instant.
Are you still there?
The weight of seeing the precipice
and not repairing the fence.
Death by a thousand worries or
simply death at the end of the end?
Words are not what they used to be.
Immaterial as time immemorial.
Tip toe on the suspension bridge,
the child sees the massive cables,
the adult sees the drop.
"Bad news" said miss Pink, the cat woman.
Delilah has died, ever so peacefully.
Fifteen years since I rescued her
from that squalid city-centre alley.
I tried to tempt her with her favourite food.
With a soothing word.
She would (cat)not be tempted.
She seemed weaker.
Then she slept,
one down from her usual winter bed.
So I put two hot water bottles under her,
and smoothed her night down.
She has always been a bit skitty.
The next morning,
she was in her summer abode!
In her outside box?
Then I knew,
I just knew,
she had gone to die.
I could feel her going cold.
I smoothed her. I talked to her.
An hour later and she was dead.
So I will build her a warm wooden box,
and bury her on the mountain.
Enclose a kiss wrapped fresh with tears,
for a very special part of me
lies with her now,
in her mountain cemetery.
Next March when the heather
buzzes in the spring,
she will purr with contentment,
and roll her scent back down to me,
stirring in the valley with a kitten on my knee.
sleep tight now,
my delightful Delilah.
Leaves, rain-torn, speckle the wind in a
flash shower, like flakes of skin at an Apollo launch.
Propellant leaking from a heavy sky
smears my visor, misting this roaring day,
mirror a dandruff moon.
Look! A blue autumn sky is escaping.
Pushed back into the sofa by a
cloud-flashed sun-speeding sky.
Nostrils flare an intake of breath.
As the mind reaches escape velocity,
the words your life support.
Weightless, fingertips look for walls,
but there are no edges to thought.
It is as frightening as it is sublime.
It is infinite.
Don't you think?
Don't you think?
Last night of the young fox
The old boy's tale takes flight.
Nose drip, tea slurping,
his eyes focus distant.
His top lip tight, biting his bottom lip
he sighs long.
Glasses off he rubs his eyes,
takes a big breath, and
slowly replaces his glasses.
Aye, aye, son.
It was long, long ago, you know.
A long time ago.
You don't want to hear this?
Yes grandad. Yes! Yes!
It was when I was a little boy,
just like you, my lad.
In the crack between day and night,
the fox was shot.
The clouds were red with his blood.
A silence poured over the day.
A chill in the air and in my thoughts.
A long day's path there and back.
The giant moon rolled up the dark
and the night spoke.
You are going home?
Aye, I am.
Footing the leaves of autumn,
step by heavy step drawing
down the cloak of night.
Home, home to a hearty table
with a heavy heart.
The day lies heavy,
the night syrup seeps.
I am, I am.
Yon small light my totem,
my lifeline thread.
Home in the down deep day.
Home, plod home, plod
foot in front of foot.
The stars know it all
you see. They saw it all,
they saw old foxy fox outfoxed.
The chicken coop will be quiet tonight.
I was a statue where he passes
the time of day.
Gun cocked the while I waited.
Then he sensed me there that moment
when I blew the light out of his eyes.
Lithe no more he lay heavy.
Off with his bush and boot him over.
You'll no more throttle my hens.
The hunters moon has seen it all before.
Has stopped time.
Has wrapped a cloud around the corpse,
and the breeze that ruffles his fur goodbye.
The dark has drowned the day before.
The stars have shown the way
to eternity in the big bang.
The door creaks open.
Spreading through the cracks the lighthouse beams
snatch at the night then slams it out.
Warm on the inside.
Supper on the table.
Cold on the outside.
Reynard's brush swings on the line of night.
The gun is in the rack.
Boots are by the hearth.
Goodnight down the chimney whispers.
A deep bed ends the day.
One day sonny boy
you too will shoot your fox.But sleep warm now
For the gun is in the rack,
As time goes by
An old book with a lock.
A faded cover, illustrated, no words.
Listen to the pages turning,
Gold leaf crying.
Music box mesmerising.
Around and around and around.
The spring unwinding in the heart.
Dancers in the tiny mirror,
totally engaged with each other.
Mother of pearl singers
unlock the book,
uncover the longing.
Mouth-wateringly happy, fingertip
away from a tap on the shoulder.
Flowing over the waterfall,
closer and closer, close your eyes.
A heart without a partner
stings in the melody.
Hearts on sleeves.
A chest full of sunshine.
Empty-headed, floating no hands.
Carried by those friends
and never put down.
All the time in the world.
All friends together.
Flowing through the days
of the loving gate.
What were the words?
Swimming in the moonbeams,
petals off the sunflower.
At what age did time pause
for us floating on the music?
Listen ... listen.
Our eyes meet across the years.
Tears of love mingle.
Stop again transcendent,
back in that time,
at that age,
with those thoughts
My teeth tingle.
My eyes mist over.
My heart stops outside of me.
Just before tomorrow,
in the songs of yesterday.
Ahh, the old songs.
Sitting here, loving again.
Breathing the taste.
The words might fade,
but never the tune.
Is that it?
ponder the body complex.
And the imponderable mind??
Countless books on both,
so why no sole truth?
The words skirt the whole.
Is that it?
Is it the hole?
The whole is the hole?
Is that it?
The eternal question.
The interminable wait.
The poets' crazy paving
closes around the hole.
Stones from behind placed in front.
No way back with the truth.
Gossamer reflections oscillate
in the dew on a vibrating web.
The Pitcher plant.
The Venus fly trap.
Sweet words again
from the gossamer neurones and
we are caught in their short attention span.
Next please! Start again! Pay attention!
You neurotic neurone you!
Mumbles whispers as they pour to the end
of their seaside day, and looking down
at the little bay, and
the bottlenecked islands'
rushing Atlantic spate.
How do you do? Now we gotta go.
Runs on and on the tide away, as
they stare and stare with eyes undulating
on the fast flow past, and raising a
longing for lighthouse smuggler tales
from childhood books, and rock cave
secret tunnels treasure ever.
Slow wooden steps of bare nostalgia
fading on the Pier's Victorian elegance,
as the tears in the wind curtains a cry,
as the gulls cry, and as the day cries.
Back! You have to go back and retrace
your happy bouncing steps to the end,
now peeling back from the primeval sea,
from an almost-discovery.
The sail boat's windy lanyard masts
clap their solemn procession.
People expatiating weekend thoughts
process back along Southend promenade,
past the fishermen’s don't care ripping casts.
The windward wind's cold finger prods,
move along, move along, time to go.
Leave the Mumbles where you do not belong.
You've dropped your unguarded thought
of naught, with a senseless bravado,
sensual in the sea that you came to see?
So back, and dry, and warm away,
in the car salt sucking on a bag of chips.
The hush light lies bleeding the day
away, and an amethyst dusky voice
whispers they've gone.
Come out now and know the day, the way
of locals breathing Mumbles air.
Dog-men walking, talking, warm pub cheer of
corduroy-trousered oyster-men sweaters,
fish-scale boots, and pipes aglow
at the end of the day pier darkening.
The city across the bay so wane and
anaemic, came and went pallid.
The velvet sea with golden beads
fills Oystermouth lapping over with
the promise of a good night's sleep.
Hush the buzzing velvet of us
being here under the stars that
drink the lighthouse four quarts, then pause.
The small light watching from the lifeboat station
says, away to your beds for a sou'wester
lullaby is blowing up a treat.
The song lanes of Mumbles
sponge up the slow tread people,
as the village steepled church bell
byes you bye, byes you bye.
Goodnight my sweetheart Mumbles,
dream on your tide of stars, your moonlight bay.
As always with you my darling,
today has been another lovely day.
The opiate needle draws down my eyes.
The outside horizons draw close.
The inside horizons expand.
The terminal singularity inverts.
The March hare summersaults
over the wine white grass,
and I am back in my childhood.
My friends, my lovely friends.
But isn't it cold?
The bright icicle is melting.
The light, the light,
oh, the beautiful light.
Fading ... fading,
going out ... going out,
I am going out now.
Getting out in winter.
Out of my clothes.
Out of your mind!
Out of my depth, struggling.
Getting out of the sea.
You must be mad!
No! No, you are
out of step with nature.
Is it cold?
Brrr*dy freezing. Stupid question!
That - is - the - point!
Out of my comfort zone.
Too wet too go outside? No.
Soaked through? Yes.
You'll catch your death!
No! No, I'll catch my life.
Icy east wind - poke it in the eye.
Head up to it.
Stepping out, striding out.
The tide is ebbing.
Time is ebbing.
Life extraordinary in the ordinary.
Not Everest, not the arctic,
not around the world,
but outside of my front door,
if [IF] I take the first step.
I did it! I do it,
again and again.
Cold blues the blues away.
Standing, asking the wind why
I feel so attuned with nature.
The last piece of the jigsaw,
the picture is finished.
You cannot see.
My words can never ...
get out, get in,
getting out.Forget in.
The umbilical cord is cut
and the poem cries,
the frisson subsides.
Farewell my child.
Worm's Head (Pen Pyrod)
and the poem cries,
the frisson subsides.
Farewell my child.
Bright shining clouds in frogspawn eyes.
The hare flies over the heather,
summersaulting over the wine white grass.
Under winter, bubble the springs of Spring,
twinkling deep and drinking cold.
Choppy showers swamp the
boat race gunwales blue
bells carpeting woods under
blossom powdered skies.
Calm, rough, ambivalent days.
Red tulip sentries in stone grey cemeteries.
Donkey fart blossoms blush of childhood.
White garlic swards on dry stone walls.
Cold seas bely the warm sunshine of
this phony summer.
Lizards boundary the cricket match downpours.
Roses climb and foxgloves cheer,
over singing, stinging nettle seas.
But when the storms reign,
the flames of June exsanguinate.
Cows sitting on an evening tapestry
of sunlight low on a midge meadow,
the hedgehog snoozes on.
Rose hips, and cuckoo-spit on daisies.
The trout takes; the living is easy.
Persistent wasps on buzzing cream tea lawns.
Pigs guzzling apples piled sun high.
Beer hops snoozing on a deckchair breeze.
Children reach, reach, reach higher
to prickly pick their bloody blackberry tart.
Autumn is arguing with summer.
Sunny tears blear a few russet leaves
that run from the scolding rain.
The sun bees yellow out and about,
to spring on the last low lavender oil.
Which way to go?
Mountainous eruptions in wrecking clouds.
Glorious sunsets sad down to twilight.
The cat is sniffing the sun leaves,
hanging in the cobweb days.
Misty lamplight bonfire nights draw in.
Log fires and stormy seaweed mountains.
The sand blows, the leafless trees bend.
Light rain reflecting on Christmas.
Hail fellow well might snow.
Wrapping up the dreams of childhood.
Walking the Boxing Day dog.
Snow you know, but what if it never ends?
Gather each other around the fire.
All is well.
Churches buried in bare trees.
Snow wind icing gravestones sad.
The cold presses down hard.
The sky infinite, blazes blue.
The cat on the hearth rug dreams.
The playing fields soften.
But the cat still stands on her tail.
Crocuses and hail.
Ice on the tide line please let go,
for the daffodils are signaling Spring.
Three score years and ten?
Whatever your innings,
play to the boundary.
The years are yours.
Share them, fare them well.
Ticketless fans plat the platypus.
In the deconsecrated church
the cat wipes her feet.
Helter-skelter the choleric leaves
crispen under pewter skies.
For when the wooden steamboats shine,
and the puppet-masters flobberlop,
we'd better listen.
Death from a thousand groans
at the wayside pulpit.
The disadvantaged are delisted
and plastic bags plummet.
Time to fill in the urination diary.
When the intoxicated festival goer
is bedazzled by the pyrotechnics,
it's time for the pub and some
great food, open fires and free wi fi.
Don't worry the police have guns.
Walkie talkie, walkie talkie, over.
The CEO stands on the creaking glass floor,
from below it is not all it's cracked up to be.
Poems, readings, prayers and songs at the crematorium
where the unretired vicar earns a few extra bob.
When the guns in bunkers fall silent.
Who is the therapist's therapist?
When the air conditioning pushes up global warming,
the nipples frantically dial up "Come in Tokyo, Come in Tokyo!"
Gob and dog grab the mouldy bagpipes.
When the piper dies who will play the lament?
Ask the shepherd where can you post your Christmas card,
for the hubbly bubbly water pipe sent the wrong message.
The scent of a woman in a second-hand book,
always one step away.
Let's all drink to fecundability and fecund kids!
Microcosmagraphica he said.
Well he would wouldn't he?
The pendulum shadow of a leaf bat
swinging on a cobweb.
When the cats eyes go blind,
it is a dark road to take.
When you expire
who will re-breathe your last breath.
On a wet night a sundial worm
searches for the sun.
Is the moonlight from another time?
The music of the Cyanobacteria
is so infectious.
The cat is cooking by the fire
how do I change his fuse?
How to end a nonsense poem?
Worm's Head (Pen Pyrod)
Tip toe onto the croc’s head,
half submerged, snouting the Atlantic.
Eyes half-closed, half asleep,
malevolent breath drawn.
If he goes down, we drown.
Trespass with care across
the causeway’s split fingernail rock,
in barnacled boots, the sea parts.
The wind waves lap backward,
the clouds scudder our way across.
Landfall’s dusty path lays the lawn
of welcome at our feet.
Between the blue-grass tussocks
steps away to the end.
Cut off thoughts of cut off,
loads of time astride of bottom water.
See the brass bell sets the tenor:
“Keep ringing and wait here to be rescued”!
Winds halt on the grass blue altar,
from tussling the hair blue day.
The sea breathes, the Worm stirs,
sleeps under our steps.
But as the long hill drops
our way is rocked, our steps much harder,
and ardour picks our way.
Devil's Bridge by God!
Snarls a flash of sea.
Organ-stop gulls hang
in a cantata of wind and spray,
for the Maritima is conducting
an amazing symphony.
The sun-warm kestrel hovers
above the damp napkin of a
dinner’s bloody pillow fight.
Pastoral seals hauled up dry
asleep they peep at our demise,
for unlike the birds and beasties,
no further can we go,
on Worm's Head's silhouette, low set,
way out on Rhossili bay.
A slumbering summer's day,
do not disturb,
What a swell day,
to picnic on the Worm.
Return says he,
and so we will.
So fare you well Pen Pyrod bach.
Whenever we gasp back across the bay.
Whenever we look across the wildest sea.
Remember when we stood and whispered
“I love you”.
Our dragon of Wales.
Our Rhossili bight
into this briny sea.
into this briny sea.
Old man prints a peace
He's trying to print a form.
But he's actually running from his ghost.
A shadow, a person beyond a shadow.
A malevolent trickster who is laughing
at his discomfiture.
A sneaky form of genius who
has placed traps at every bolt hole,
and every helping hand is behind a veil of
interlocking gates and fences.
How can someone design a system
to be so unfriendly?
It must be by design and not by chance.
The time that he has been interlocked
with his phantom, is time wasted,
and frustration feeds the fire of ire.
There must be hundreds of people
trying to print this form.
Am I the only dunderhead?
Or are we all being lined up for execution?
The form will not open.
Over and over, and then it does.
Is it triggered by a boundary state
of a physiological circuit breaker?
Then the printer is sulking,
and will not recognise the format.
Well I recognise the floormat
as I kick the cat across.
Format that – you, you!
Then it has an epileptic fit and
attempts to vomit paper.
Then self-defibrillated it assumes
the opiate simile of a bon-vivant
and agrees to print at leisure.
Not good form says the form printer
awaiting the form and half expecting,
the dreaded words. "Out of ink",
out of ink, out of ink, out of ink,”
There's an online manual,
but he's lost the will to drill
into his memory, or the computer's
He cannot remember,
but there's a printed manual somewhere.
If he can find it.
He cannot think straight.
How do you find out which ink is empty?
Where is the inept ink kept?
There's a malevolent spirit at work here.
Of that he is now certain.
Can I write on the online form and save it?
He asks himself.
Just as he would have asked a child,
one who would regularly poke malevolence in the eye.
Go on try - "no PDF writer".
That is why I am printing it out he castigated
Ink man ink!
Slinking on the shelf the ink smiles
a dusty laugh line dry.
Shake the thing!
Open the thing!
Press enough buttons and
Abracadabra pops open.
He's in control now
as the ink goes in.
Looks like I was only fighting a machine,
he catches himself thinking.
But who made the machine?
Who taught it its wayward ways?
Why couldn't they have posted me a form.
It's bad form, and if I had a form,
I would inform them.
A kid’s design, that's what it is.
Us older folk know better.
Get a form,
fill it in,
stamp on envelope and
send it back.
But why do kids think digital
is simply fine and sublime,
and ever so fast and easy peasy?
Really, is it a young brain thing?
Or have they grown up in the digital fast lane.
Will I never learn to speed around the track
with a mental map of all the short cuts,
instead of my "this way's quicker in the long run".
So here it is.
Opened, sent to printer, printed,
filled in, and in the envelope.
There must have been a quicker way to
digitise it back forthwith?
But he doesn't want to think it now,
for the puzzle will surely slow,
his path on to his death’s door.
What a palaver,
what a chore,
but at last he's filled in the license form,
for his trusty old 12-bore.
Is there such a thing as printicide?
By shotgun shot,
when hot and fraught.
But no, but not, he will not.
For it would be such a waste of shot.
Shut down - " do you really want to shut down?"
All of you!
Cooking up the world
in your cars.
Let me be!
OK no - but less?
Stop heating our homes?
OK no - but less?
Stop eating too much?
Stop "them" breeding?
Stop global warming a little?
Time to belittle a little is too much?
Place the commas where you will and
propagandise it you ... you ... Bastards!
Listen, if our carbon footprint is too large
can we walk on our hands?
What can we do?
If we wanted to ... don't want to!
So there, go and sulk.
It's not too late to say it's too late.
Too late to make difference.
Anyway, we'll all be dead and gone,
and I like sunbathing.
We have more pressing problems.
An airline ticket to the global warming conference.
Service the car on the way to the beach.
Buy an electric car and upstream a generation.
Enlivened by a flood, a storm,
driest, wettest, coldest,
Mercury popping the thermometer
somewhere - but not here : )
Switch on the radio for
the war of the hoses.
Spitting image, all of you.
Science spitting in the wind
of counter-argument from you all.
Science in agreement, you disagree.
International agreement never (,) too late?
Shadows are lengthening.
The winter of the summers aggregate.
The misty mountain looms.
An impossible climb.
Such fateful masochistic helplessness.
Unconvinced we shelter in life's distractions.
Until the water reaches us and
we drown the downward spiral.
Anti-depressants ship in the sand.
Who can we turn to
when bemused by contradictory opinion?
The more consolidated now.
Fight for minds.
Soon we may need to fight,
for water and for food.
Escape the planet, come back silly!
Seems as farfetched as end of world.
Do our ancestors mean nothing at all?
Better then, that it does end? But for who?
The World? Inanimate.
The Universe ignores our minuscule brouhaha.
Do you see now?
Do the others see?
Do we agree? On what?
If we agree not to see, we fail.
But to see it coming and to shrug
is to spit in the face of death.
Enjoy the hospice while the funding lasts.
For my words predict no future.
A violin is crying for my ancestors.
From my scions no reply.
No music lilts their pen.
The heat has burnt them all away.
The final bonfire of the vanities.
The final bonfire of the books.
Unless? ... but no
I sat by a fire dwindling low,
the final ashes crackling epitaphs.
The windows were in crispness balmed,
fresh diamond snow from winery chaffs
took refuge against the leaden panes
and misted up my view upon the world.
In the corner,
on a stool inlaid with the dust of years,
a candle flickered,
While in me died the hope of dreams.
And the winter wind was the one who cried,
when one more ill-begotten soul did yield.
Slowly Slowly Catch Sea
A collage by the sea
Sea serpent hissing.
Long, gravel-crunching steps to the burial over the horizon.
Purring catfish, belly-up sunny whiskers
and shining seaweed eyebrows.
A blue gingham tablecloth on a linen breeze,
that can suddenly blow up, winnowing the seagulls,
wingtips rattling along a spume fence.
A congregation of white eyebrows undulating in admiration
as the tiaras dance at the coronation.
Waves jostling to spit at the harbour wall.
Shite hawk on slate, their icing running down the tin.
Grey metal curlers in grey thin-thinning hair.
Battleship grey on a grade A day.
Cantering white horses, cantankerous,
frothing malevolently at the bit, way out to sea.
Grey blood pulsing in the cold cadaver
over a rib cage's quivering muscles.
Black, necrotic, flesh-eating rock crocs the surface.
Chopped waves racing to the shore
spilling skimmed milk to slide along the tide.
Rippling sand, mirroring an undulating retreat.
A legion of lonely footprints in the sand.
Meteor pebbles in the pull back tide.
A legion of lonely footprints in the sand.
Damp grey hair plastered on a frowning forehead,
steel blue, cold, the shiny perspiration of death.
Sublimating sea into sky on a misty horizonless day.
Streaky white lines ridged in cockleshell fingernails.
White bitten lips chewing over and over.
Towering mountainous step-child waves propping up the sky.
Salt tears from the stinging wind fresh off the sea.
Criss crossing wavelets of an undecided sea,
one running with the tide, one from the wind.
Cross-armed, disingenuous, pointing he went that aways.
Tide edge, cake knife, slicing up the beach.
Aquamarine in the tube of a breaking curl where
the lightening mackerel's platinum javelins play.
Flat calm, summer-warm, honey-comb caves.
Waves flaxen hair warm on the breeze,
shine, shine, shine.
Sometimes ripple-less, breathless, dare not touch.
Late summer evening breathing so slow,
walking hand in hand lovely and cool.
Exhaling, bored under an Autumn drizzle.
Chesting up Winter's icy needles.
Playing bounce the Spring rains.
Sleeping through a Summer sun shower.
Shoulder to the storms.
Running from the wind.
Going to pieces on a dirty day.
Chattering to no one all day long.
Wave after wave,
Me sea, me sea, me sea.
Gulls on a roller coaster.
Seals diving into the ghost train.
Candy-floss jellyfish, sometimes poison-pen blue.
Mid-winter screaming, spitting abuse.
Get out! Get out! You bloody fool.
Lead in water heavy and cold,
claws back the swimmer so old and so cold.
Two steps forward and one step back,
a catfish is tearing at life's threshold.
Glaring eyeball to eyeball, tight clenched teeth,
struggling and tugging at Davey Jones's chest.
For as the sea is ripping the reef,
a love/hate relationship has weathered a test.
The war years’ music halls a veil.
Not of time but of bygone tears.
Children of the fifties perforce to eavesdrop
on ghost voices just beyond sight.
Talk to them? They did not answer.
The people’s harmonious army atop grave times,
so long ago from the fifties viewed,
yesterday for they who were there,
in the theatres of war.
They are still here now, this side of the veil.
The fifties as poor as the forties were rich
in camaraderie’s stiff upper lip.
You cannot know, for you were not there!
We were not there, so how can we know?
We do not choose our times.
We feel for them in their ambivalence,
where past and future resonating teeth on edge.
The music we hear, imagined as then,
teases thinner and thinner the gossamer thread
of glad confident mornings so far away.
Faster downhill to war, the brakes have failed!
Did they not see? Did they not smell the gallows halitosis?
The songs they danced, swirling the veil of
big bands’ big lies, drying the tears
in hollow eyes drooping down to war.
The veil I see, but the chasm is bottomless.
I can see the other side.
I can see them crossing over today
and walking past me home.
I am walking with them and they smile
their wistful lemon drop smiles with
teeth on edge of the chasm no way back.
I can smell the lemon but I will never hear the splash.
No war here in the fifties,
and the veil rations emotion.
Will my war comics’ hero ever look me in the eye?
The elasticity of time draws thinner and thinner.
The magnetism at fingertip to fingertip trembles,
and to release is to fall into the void of veil.
So my child, forget the past, what's done is done,
and best left undone. Chin up lads - eh?
The war a smudge on the
pristine shirt of a fifties schoolboy.
Why it stains indelible, he'll never fathom.
Damp cordite tears, or the coffin's soil farewell,
blasted through the veil.
Their pain is drawn as tight as a bloodless sinew,
that draws a claw at our laughter.
Farewell, we back away,
and rock and roll around the clock.
Unveiled, a brand new day.
Unveiled, a brand new day.
A child's Mumbles pier
The eyes of the child focused,
hands a polish on the brass rail as
the Mumbles train rocks, and
the sailboats tick us to a stop.
A sailor’s knot of excitement.
The turnstile clacks us through.
Confident, the gulls lift warm cries as
we step along the boards with gasps
of sea and dad's hand tight
as he whistles the day high sky.
Warm wood seats along silver rails of
ornate fences above the white waves
tearing out to sea.
Ahhhhh breathes the summer boy's
sunlight morning under God's finger.
To the end of the end,
to the down of the down
dark wrought rusty steps,
in the dank we dare and stare
at the lolloping sea smacking
the dark rusty stanchions,
the sad barnacle weeds,
so forlorn of night,
their last desperate wave,
in the bright morning light of
Bob takes a smile from off the shelf,
just the right one for every customer quirk.
Ruddy complexion, with mirth lines warm,
he reads the label of your smile.
"Never heard of them" then - abracadabra!
There you are.
A glint in his smiling eyes,
the timeless fabric
of our Cash Hardware store.
The flowers beg the windows blue,
steer the gardeners cross the Rubicon,
where the staff are rattling pots and pans,
and cooking sage advice.
Lay quietly on them all your needs,
lists on Aladdin's magic carpet,
where satisfaction floats renascent,
in our Cash Hardware store.
Bob a genie? He'll chuckle at that rub,
then he'll lift your day above the bay,
above the chores of hammers and nail,
to sail away, to the end of the pier show.
As hardware cutleries our crockery lives,
Bob is busying in and out,
to deliver to your door.
Listen up! Mumble's Newton Road.
Where would we be without dear Bob?
In our true blue Cash Hardware store.
Sounds of the Sixties
Sailing on tears,
burning back the years.
I am there again in the song
from so long, long ago.
The words sigh
and rise to my eyes,
an aching gist of time.
Spinning angst on cracking ice
I bear-hug the love, but there is
nothing to squeeze but the breeze
flaring in nostril-wide tears again.
Friends in the sun spun salad days
kiss my neck.
The days fade and today slaps.
The music ebbs and the tears flow.
On the tideline memories wither.
Choking on the wine light tears
I cry for the days when the
sounds of the sixties transfused me.
Poet singers who knew the know
and crawled to say it as we knew it was.
Fall back into their understanding
and lay your life down.
Jingles open the bottle-bottomed door,
into a hotchpotch of sedate waiting.
A bric-à-brac of long-loved possessions,
orphaned, labelled with prices.
Crying dry tears for owners gone. Sad.
Priced for charity, how sad.
Crockery, cutlery, books and beads.
Bizarre, cute, functional, beautiful.
What says the aesthete?
Bargains for use or decoration,
pleading with a dogs-home wide-eyed guilt.
I browse from time to time.
I buy an occasional piece.
I chat with the ladies who give
their time, from time to time.
Nothing changes as the items change.
No dust, surreal, as the visitors
come and go, come and go.
New old clothes embody nobody no more.
Jingles the door from time to time.
But one day, as I dreamed in the door,
there on the wall numbed backward by its enormity,
was a clipper in full sail, high on a full-framed sea.
A painting brushed in amateur oils ablaze.
Clouds in a blue sky on an energetic sea,
in sails billowing, raked back, the bows ahoy.
It held me by the throat, cat clawed dead.
The wind beating in the sails of my heart
missing beat after beat gulping at the wind.
It had sailed home again across the sea,across the sea to me, as it was meant to be.
Step off the map, characterless Dickens.
Slowly, step after step into what?
Time? A mutant underworld outside the airlock?
Where is what is underfoot so muted?
Stomping from stone trough to Tarmac
layered, eroded down to constellation cobbles.
Scattered, the detritus spills out of yards and doors.
Kicked cans backchat and tossed bottles crunch.
Take care the bottomless oil refracted pools!
Fetid cardboard pales the grass hopes,
bramble snakes gesture on to kraken fangs.
On and on the lanes bifurcate the urban mind-
map lost in choice of brick and back.
The alley cat know,s striding the doors and walls.
We? We stall bemused, confused.
The unhinged, flaking, caking back doors
proudly defy their relegated denigration.
Highfalutin, storied, quasi-mansions wrinkle noses
and cold shoulder the excommunicated hoi polloi.
Downbeat in lanes they dare to contest
in graffiti daubed in vibrant colours or
black and white screeching pain that
demands a recursive flagellation - so there!
But there's a beauty in the graphic lines
and text of angst laid bare.
Beauty hidden in the spilled paint or daubed walls
that the Tate Modern would overprice.
Look, each door is different, each weed at home,
every cat an alley prowl from here to here.
They, more than any, see the staccato bravado of
the quasi-people whose thoughts of grandeur
lay defecated on the back lane foundations
of their service doors and car park whoosh aways.
Glimpsed through back doors cluedo culprits
lay the blame for what they do.
Garage doors jammed packed with God knows what.
We swagger along the lanes of stone, and brick
and plaster peeling. Of door posts in a geometric
multi-directional confusion - QED?
Breath caught on the fetid urinal leech in corners
where a crumpled newspaper dare not be turned,
we emerge anoxic, breathless into a pedestrian murmur.
Did the time warp snap on that post traumatic walk
along the back passage of the regal boudoir buildings?
Step back and stroll and re-commune with the outlines
that adumbrate the camouflaged people.
Agree to disagree with the incongruity of the annuity
of business conducted up there behind grand windows,
while down here the cat is pissing.
Shit and broken glass.
Kick the death rattle can.
Harvest of the storm.
Pounced upon, retrieved, owned.
Wood on the tideline mine.
Long pieces, short pieces,
thick pieces, thin pieces.
Summered in my hands, cut
and carried. Woodsheded.
The reason, in this season?
In this summer sea?
I see winter, I see cold.
Saw to Lamb's Well bay to cut
and bag the flotsam free.
Strew over the storm pebbles,
hundreds and thousands.
Warm to hand and heart. All mine.
Some sun bleached boned,
some soaking wet.
Some with sap, all sea salted heavy.
Green seaweed drying on the
windfall branches, the man-handled planks.
Collect them all, cut them quick.
Winter is closer than we think.
Carried to the woodshed, finally safe.
The hunter-gatherer has prepared for winter.
For the snow footsteps will melt at the hearth
of this summer harvest from the sea.
Safe in the embrace of the woodshed
time to savour the light behind the eyes.
Cobweb dust caressing the wood-down days.
All shapes and sizes stacked to the roof,
way up to the skylights peeping.
All colours and aromas nostril
the saw-sap drying wrinkling days.
From distant forests’ long journeys to the sea,
or ship deck jetsam across the waves to me.
Welcome, welcome, on long dark winter nights
re-burning hotter the summer suns.
Clinking up the black stove pipe,
radiating deep warm happy days.
It will never go out, if we go out
to quick shed the bundles in.
Fireside racks piled high. Aye.
Doors open airily as eyes close on the flames.
Nutcracker figures dancing the Song of Songs.
Dream makers waltzing, the manic tango flares,
Spins the red dress paso doble’s flaming wheels.
Wicked winks the wicked pyre.
Rest back you the summer harvest days
and winter logs’ long sleepy nights.
Walking the tideline day after day,
finding, cutting, piling away.
Seasons in the sea-wood seasoning.
See son? See the cat knows,
asleep in front of the stove, spread-eagled
dreaming, steaming on a deep wood sea.
Resolute in yellow and red
Canutes the lifeguard.
Eyes high to the sea,
shore to point,
boisterous boys the girls,
as the serious swimmers go.
Walkie talkie - walkie talkie - over.
Walking the tideline, or
atop their high seat,
strapped to buoyancy lifelines
Boards ready, steady.
Nod to the regulars,
enjoy your swim.
Dry day, wet day,
rough day, calm day,
Walkie talkie - walkie talkie - over.
Midsummer heat raises the sea.
The budgerigar kids swarm,
it's warm! It's warm!
The lifeguards' hawk-eyes combine
to scour between the flags.
For when the sneaky rip current
slips its smile,
death is not a cartoon.
On guard the lifeguards
Walkie talkie - walkie talkie - over.
All responsible, alone together,
weaving the sun warm days.
Or clenching the rain to the tide,
as we venture in for our daily swim.
We know they are there
as we ride the swell, bite the breaker.
We know we are safe,
watching, watching, watching.
But then they are gone
at the summer's end, and
a cold dread has to be faced down.
No more first aid,
or inshore lifeboats,
or helicopter rescues.
Just me and the sea in a deadly dance.
The old, cold, grey towering sea
Roll on summer and the lifeguards return.
They still train of course.
When the kite surfers ride the horizon
and the winter swimmers look to Langland,
the lifeguards are straining sinews in the sea.
They board it out to bright coloured buoys,
the boys and girls are training,
to pluck us from the sea.
Come next summer they will be here.
We need them,
we plead them return.
Swallows for our summer make.
Splashie dashie - splashie dashie – under.
Sisters howl to the pulsating walls,
Arms sky-wide clap hands pleading,
White fingers entwine pain with pain. For
Little Leslie has run away to sea!
Pinafores sodden with tears screw tight
To red-eyed horizon's non-farewell.
A boy! He's only a boy!
Why? Why? Why?
Those seven seas of why?
Mmm grunts his brother,
Over his paper, over his dinner's
HP of empire saucily says,
Gone to his head see?
Ship's head rides down the sea,
Ploughs the howling waves,
Spits back the wailing tears.
Down the sisters drown into
Each other's enfolding arms,
As the long days of waiting begin.
Their spice of life gone away
To sea, a cabin boy.
To be an able seaman.
Call of the sea
Small fingers on the window ledge,
His tip toe chin levers him up to
Cold nose the misty bottom panes.
Pecking past the railway lines steel lines
The dockyard derricks are natter knitting
A balaclava for the sea.
Flashes of mercurial water,
Funnels colouring dock to dock,
The ships of cargo weave the wharf,
Of this brief encounter.
It is murmuring to the boy, but
He cannot quite decipher the signal sound,
As the Sirens of the sea snap back his eye.
The pilot tugs swing around the visage of
Land to sea, where you must go, for then
The whole wide world will open up to thee.
Falls back the boy to blink away
The flash from the horizon,
Where he has never been.
The three wooden crocodiles freeze.
The ivory elephants pause trunk to tail.
Iridescent butterfly wings halt powdery sad
Under the cracked glass of a tray.
Oriental thought home from the sea, where
Seamen sailed to lands and people far away.
The ukulele splices the main brace
Of the boy's tether to the land.
Face back hard to the window
His entrails entreat the pilot.
Wait for me! Wait for me!
The salt is in his veins,
Enthralled the more his uncles' tales
Of jolly Jack Tar and Singapore.
For he knew what they did not,
But suspected from the glint,
In the eye of the boy who felt,
The fall of rivers to the sea.
The sailor salt has woven its spell.
Way past the docks the sea ebbs,
And back against the hillside the boy intones,
I have made my choice,
It is the sea for me.
The South China Sea!
The Indian Ocean!
The trade winds!
The high seas!
From Arctic to Antarctic,
The storm petrel thoughts
Will deny him rest, until he too,
Has sailed the seven seas.
Nursed on a precipice,
Just that far from the shore.
She can rock you gently,
Lay you down gently,
Back on the sand of land.
But an aquamarine malevolence
Salts dark the arteries
The unseen reef,
Talk to her respectfully,
Ask her permission
To be there under the sky,
Upon her sequined bodice,
Where heartbeats entwine.
East wind in your hair.
Run from her,
On spume feet.
The waves pile up,
Granite steps in the high sea.
The sky is too heavy,
Welds the horizon
Grey to grey.
Foam, upon foam, upon foam.
Daisy petal seagulls stumble
Down the wind.
Enter if you dare!
But only so far.
Numbed to the bone,
Skin dyed to death.
Just one more ...
One more wave to peril
Crashes, tumbles. Grrr!
Brrr. Sh-sh-shoulders shiver.
Out. Out now!
Shivering smiles the swimmer.
Spins to face to the sea.
Chest out, chin high,
The anchor flails.
Needles reign in
The rain that reins.
He pulls away.
Heart beats a thank you,
For the barbed-wire sea
Of this winter's day.
We'll meet again soon.
So dry your salty tears
And the sea looks inviting.
The day is warm, the sky is blue.
The cold winter swims are palling.
Into the sea again.
Cold_errrr than it looks.
March winds scudder
The clouds reflect.
Deeper, deeper. Under!
Winter under Spring.
What does the sea know of these?
As the water warms - slowly.
Head under now but
The swims are brisk.
Out of the sea
The winds cheerfully
Berate the Winter - be gone!
A summer sun is out
Walk amongst the flowers of
The Spring in my step.
Summer is waving, by
The sea, the sea, the sea.
Winter runs down as
Spring surges up.
Mistress sea caresses my
Salty tears of joy.
The boy is back.
Sea the crocodile of winter snaps,
Spring pulls back.
Summer charges in.
Chatter the beach people as
The sand migrates
Over the winter rocks.
Now is the time,
The real time,
Coy, the maypole spins the bay.
Tomorrow is going to be
Another lovely day.
And the children claim the sea.
Roaring gay abandon.
The waves electrocute!
Bedazzled colour toweled heat
Beats the bodies to the sea,
Cool in pool where fish and crabs
Populate the storybook long days.
Dams and spades and castles
Hand in sand and glory,
A toddler's new found power
Stamps them to the ground,
And around and around the boat
They dig, as the sea holds back.
They don't believe,
But they will not leave,
Their stance against the sea, that
Advances no holds barred, to
Trammel them on their island fortress
Obliterating the fortifications.
Washed away, reclaimed.
Disappointment stands with
Ruddy neck and legs, and cheeks all
Red and fed with chips and lollies,
Protesting - not time for bed!
The sea heaves a sigh,
The sky cools to cobalt,
The heat wavers, decides to stay,
In the bay,
In moonlight floating.
Don't move a muscle in
Of this one day,
In this year.
Of your life.
The water’s edge
Disappears into the sand.
The sun trips over the horizon,
The moon swoons.
Ahhhhhh inhales as a
The schools are back but
The lads linger the evening
On the rock, they shock jump
Demanding the girls' eyes.
The girls splash, so can we!
Sliding down from high summer
They only see a summer sea.
But the lifeguards have migrated
With the birds of the sun.
How far on the tightrope of
This facade of summer
Will our longing suspend the fall?
Tides push in, stirring the sand,
No more crystal clear flashing fish
Or splashing battles.
The tides are stronger
Pushing over summer.
Unable to stand,
Autumn lies gently in the rain,
Stirs the mists,
Raises the warning
Of storming the citadel of summer.
Tearing down the north wind
Pushing the late swimmers into
The warm sea.
That knows the time of year,
And will take its time to cool
Then as Autumn swirls the cloak
On leaving centre stage
The flood tide floodlights
The white surf high sea.
Cooling all comers.
Warning all comers.
Too cold, too cold!
They fall away one by one,
To leave the sea to me.
Will I survive?
Our beach hut
The nucleus to my electron cloud,
Langland spins around
Our hut impertinent to the sea,
Balanced, poised at the edge of land.
Row upon row of identically different,
Huts in Buckingham green,
Percentaged in bye-lawed white.
Conformity treated with indifference.
But always the sea.
In the sea, out of the sea.
Welcome cuppa tea.
Refuge from the storm.
Or sits the afternoon,
In the wood warm sun.
Patches of a patchwork quilt,
Part of the scenery.
Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!
Buckets and spades
And bodyboards and nets.
Jolly Roger the children cutlass
The day pool treasure.
Sit and sit. Inhale.
The towels hanging,
Betrothed to the sea.
Best man pebbles in two
Noah's Ark. In the mirror
The Atlantic rolls away.
The horizon rushes in.
My beach hut is my secret door
To a secret world at
The edge of daring.
But do drop in for a cuppa
Red door - no more?
The mad wood whittler of Rotherslade Road
Has painted her shed red door - white!
Terminally pallid dead eye,
Retinal artery bled to death.
No longer a landmark for our steps
Our milestone to the shore?
I pleaded sanity consider
Neptune's crab red blood,
Not the bloodless Excalibur.
Not the milk of the land of
Cow herds, white walls, dairy floor.
But blazing sunsets bleeding the bay
To roar in the homeward door.
Blood tears fall before
This cadaver's pulseless morgue.
It need not be this way I say!
Red paint again the door.
Knife the valley's wooded side
With a marker for the King.
We will stride abreast the ardour
Swimmers to the sea.
As rule Britannia burns heraldic,
In yonder red, red door.
So please don't say
No. No more red.
Permit this mad whittler
To whittle your argument down,
And red door and turning
We'll admire your Trafalgar.
My madam, armada, amour.
Ricky Ticky Tabbi Woo ...
Look! Don't look at me like that.
Head to one side, eyes wide.
You usually blink away.
You must be narked.
Doh! You silly cat,
It's not my fault,
I didn't do it!
It was the vet.
I just took you there.
Look, I'm as sorry as you.
Oh don't look at me like that.
The tooth had to come out - right?
Look, come back here!
Come back now!
Listen, I'm talking to you.
Oh God! Don't sulk away
And turn your back on me.
Miaow. Tail in the air.
Don't strut away and
Sulk, slink, sulk.
The vet said you were a friendly cat,
Talking to them all day.
You were purring later
When she checked you over
And sent you on your way.
But now you are home
Is this what you think of me?
Well go and sit in the greenhouse
And see if the tomatoes care.
I'll put your box away
And have a nice cup of tea.
So now you're back.
Rubbing for your dinner.
You've made your point,
Well there you are.
We'll say no more.
Washing over your ears.
Are we friends again?
Yes, she blinks.
Yes, she thinks.
Nice to be back home.
My life-long friend.
Ricky Ticky Tabbi Woo
Bait the night
West pier floating on a dark, dark night.
Pirate baccy teeth bite the rust flaking rail,
Guarding us, on ancient planks, from the mariner's
Deep black well. Glow worms wriggle.
Jim-Lad black patch slips aye the moon.
Peg-legged fishing rods bob, bob, bob.
The unseen horizon haunts seaward
Heaving our shoulders, shivering the spell.
Hands cold to the rail we droop our eyes
On the river in spate of ourselves.
The electric eels dash back and forth
Between the dockyard lights and their rebounding.
At the edge of light, velvet darkness.
At the edge of land, a silky sea.
At the edge of fear, panic in the womb,
As the waters break, no blazing light,
But a dark slow beckoning from yon tomb.
The end of the pier show.
Doleful, as dark men work the docks we hear
A clanking chain, moans in the night.
The rod end dances in the stars, A bite!
No, the rod is teasing the milky way.
Eyes hard to the tip of the rod,
Hark the pegged bite bell divines.
Misty inland, silent between the hills,
Lies our homeward beds. Empty beds,
And empty fish bags stay our feet
Stamping cold on the frosty wood.
Shadow rats in the corners of night
Brandish their impudence.
The vacuum of this secret night
Draws our breath heavenward.
Cold hands bait the silence as
The black sea snaps its fingers,
Beckoning us down to the bowels
Astride the pier's slimy boulders.
Down the rickety ladder,
From deceased joiner’s hands,
Closer periscope the sea, beg
Reward my rectitude madam,
Let the fishes bite. Please.
The lugworm has gone, along with
The coffee flavoured sandwiches that
Bloody recipe bizarre had garnished.
We peel ourselves away from the night.
With plum-bob lead feet, we turn,
To plod depleted home.
Deep in the shoals of night
A memory has taken the bait.
Recollection in my reflection.
A dead image of dad.
Eyes interlocked, unmoving.
Timeless in our time,
Frozen in his time,
My time to stare and stare.
What is he thinking,
About me, through my eye?
Tip of the tongue we hang
Silent across time.
Close my eyes to ask myself
What did we do?
What did we think?
When he was at work
And I was at play.
It was home there where
I stare and stare.
Not here, not there.
Did we talk? Think!
He had a feeling for history,
A care for the past.
He explained things.
But his past he could not share
Of war where separation stung.
Looking at me pleading softly.
No money then,
Hard work all day and after too.
No fun really.
Some sparky anecdotes and
A simple view of death.
He was well thought of.
But who was he?
Who was I?
I was a boy.
An old man?
A young man?
One of the boys?
Away at war
One of the men?
Why does he not speak to me now?
With a voice remembered?
Did we speak? We must have.
What of? Say!
Why am I caught looking at him
Looking at me
Was he what dads were made of?
Or did I make him dad?
Or did he call me son
Eternity in an instant,
Gazing back at me.
The transit of Venus
The tapestry has been darned,
Dross threadbare gold.
The scene can be seen - just,
But it looks so old and so cold.
A miniature of the masterpiece,
For he has stepped outside.
It is smaller, it is older,
He is older.
Both have been darned.
Old buildings have gone.
New buildings irritate.
Lanes of memory brambled,
Overgrown, stand waiting.
The gutters spluttering,
Game for a laugh,
Brook no more fun.
The artisans have lost their hands.
Handsome in their talent
The transit of Venus.
Shops, cheek to jowl,
The child's excursion
End to end,
Now time takes time.
The adult recoils,
The village stares incredulous.
Who is this old man lost?
Who used to cycle - look no hands!
Who used to ... used to ...
No mind now,
Too late in the day.
Summer has overgrown Autumn.
Cold will anneal.
As I kneel
Wrapped in the old tapestry.
The children of Spring are dancing.
The transit of Venus.
D A R K
D A R K
D A R K
Dark cold chilblain childhood
D ----------------------------- D
Dark street lights
Dark church walls
A ----------------------------- A
Dark whispers of
Dark empty purses
R ----------------------------- R
Dark cobbled tears
K ----------------------------- K
Dark blood on snow
Dark rough roads
D ----------------------------- D
Dark diets after a
Dark ink in milk in
Dark stone schools
A ----------------------------- A
Dark threads of life
Dark finger nails
Dark carbon rats
Dark tar roads
R ----------------------------- R
K ---------------------------- K
Dark hobs of hell
Dark in this dark
Dark Lucifer will
Dark drag you down
Down, down, down
D A R K
D A R K
D A R K
Feelings spin feelings,
Falling back forward a
Memory of memories
Rattles the words.
The cacophony of a soliloquy
Slips into a duet.
Orchestrated, the sluices of the mind
Compress the flow of words.
The lake fills.
The dam poem is born.
Look inside for the words and
They are gone.
Look outside and
There is nothing there.
Look down at the silent words,
Then spin shiver around,
There is nothing there!
Wait and the ghostly words
Cloak the mist astir.
Widens the cockles.
The writer in the writer writes.
The inner tears weep.
At a critical point
The poem takes control.
The words have a life of their own.
They are talking to me now.
The words are the poet.
The poet but a bridge.
Where is it coming from?
Perhaps I'll never know.
But here it is.
So there it is!
For all eternity.
Now you're 64 – A love story
47 years ago
I held you in my arms,
The dance floor dancers receded.
I was wrapped in you and
I knew, you were the one.
Love at first sight.
I met you again
When the snow swirled in the lamplight
And you might not turn up.
But you did, and we swirled
Many conversations that year
When our shadows walked in step.
When our hands clasped dreams
The year of our first embrace.
46 years ago
We mumbled "forever"
In the lane where we always
Stopped to kiss.
Our arms more ardent,
We held each other tight.
Each with the same thought.
The future lost from sight,
Just the moment.
Then we got engaged and
The world knew.
But our world was each other.
Too young to plan
We moved forward on wings of love.
Shut everything out until we were together,
Eyes in each other's eyes.
The year when we became one.
45 years ago
We floated in the stratosphere,
Breathless above the clouds.
The sunshine continuous.
Gliding, soaring, wheeling
Around, no need to perch.
Ballast the vicar church.
Who tried to bring us down to earth.
To set the enormity of our journey.
We did not listen for
It was another language.
All we hear is each other.
I took you,
You took me.
With my body I thee worship.
But we were already one that day of
The year when we got married
44 years ago
Behind the closed door
Of our first home, waiting for
Each other together.
Sparse the furnishings.
Spartan the days.
Rich together - always.
Meals and sitting,
Burning with love.
Needing no one.
The year we built a home.
43 years ago
And we were in your belly.
Family progression eternal.
How right it all seemed
As we drifted along together.
When morning sickness stopped
And you blossomed.
Love of an intensity
Of which we had an inkling
When we snatched our courting kisses.
Now laying with us as we dream
Of tomorrow's baby - ours.
Closer the day speeds.
Longing enough for three.
Kicking in your belly.
The year we finally realised.
42 years ago
And you went in
And they took control as
I held your hand as
Our baby was born.
Back home and
You were a mum.
How I loved you both
In my arms.
Huge love affair.
Excitement in another routine.
Leaning against each other tired.
The year Andrew was born.
41 years ago
Nappies sagging the clothes line.
Baby crawling on the grass.
Another on the way.
You were caring for us all
As you always did,
And do to this very day.
Then in you went,
But you were in control.
No sooner there,
Than he was there,
With his mum.
And dad was beaming
At you both.
The ward receded.
Eyes only for each other.
The year when Mike was born.
40 years ago
On the factory floor
Of talcum, pins and poo.
Our team designate sorted
This and that in turn,
Bringing order to the zoo.
One to bed,
Two to bed,
Finishing up us two.
Sit beside me,
And so to bed,
The four of us,
Until one wakes.
The year of a family new.
39 years ago
We stride out at last
To the beach to splash.
The boys on all fours
Bums in the sea.
Sunny love rising.
First steps on our way
Hand in hand again,
Two hearts in a double buggy;
If you knew the trouble we've been!
Smiles kissing smiles through
Weary days in love, with
No time to savour the moment.
Surges the sea in
The year of dawn to dusk.
38 years ago
Mum dad and the boys.
Had we ever been two?
In each other's eyes did
The crystal ball foretell
Of this fullness of time?
Were the boys there?
Well here they are.
A bigger part of us than
We are of each other.
Until they grow we are in them.
They are us.
Is us, in
The year of us four.
37 years ago
There was no time
To savour storm, the
Tumult of personalities
Who jigged the web,
As they spun cocoons
Of silken thread.
Rattling the cage, and
The pots and pans.
Top spun out in blended colour,
Wobbling as it sang.
Bouncing off each other.
Leaning on each other.
Making each other.
Never without each other.
The year of a busy family.
36 year ago
And off to school and nursery.
A little bit of us left with them.
Our eyes held hands
As you adjusted their coats
And lunch packs of love.
Little shoes unsure.
Routine walks for similar folks,
Mums and dads so proud.
Little boys and
And little left to say.
How was your day? OK.
How did it go today? OK.
Lunch OK? OK.
What's on TV?
The year was OK. OK?
35 years ago
And our love was annealed
In the hard work of home and
Striving to make ends meet.
We were in harness together.
Family crises, dogs that bark
As the caravan passes.
Our love over the years had
Ensured that we trusted
Each other to be there.
Two together stronger
For our family.
These were the days we clung together.
The days we needed each other more.
We rested in each other's knowing.
Tested, we cared one for the other.
The year we levelled out.
34 years ago
Nice boys growing,
The centre of our world.
We were venturing further afield
To Gower beaches and adventures,
Loving in nature,
Sharing experiences that
Laid down memories,
Colouring who we were.
Walking back home as one,
Remembering as the day.
Mum and dad we
Drew breath at dusk,
As the music took us
Hand in hand back to
The year we fell in love.
33 years ago
We luxuriated in the boys’ minds.
Shared their thoughts original.
They turned to us again and again,
Bringing themselves to us,
As we held hands and
Spun the web around us all.
We all wove in and out
Of each other's perceptions,
As we forged our oneness
As a family and as individuals.
Peaches and cream,
High days, low days,
We were enjoying the feast.
The year we were comfortable.
32 years ago
You were 32.
My sweet 16 now
Twice as sweet.
Andrew was 10.
Mike was 9.
I was 35.
But numbers naught,
We were the Youngs.
Young by name,
Young by nature.
And proud of it.
Who would have thought
When we kissed and cuddled,
That a generation stood
The year of us all.
31 years ago
31 Pentrechwyth Road.
Nanna and Grandpa and toast
On the fork at the fire.
Through the generations.
Hands holding hands, holding hands.
All could see each other
In each other, unspoken.
Dad of dad, and son's sons.
Tell us about Cairo!
On the back step warm.
We cannonade the pinballs.
We sit fast, slow and listen,
Nan and Gramp are talking
Of the days.
The years beyond years.
30 years ago
Andrew in comprehensive.
Where has the time gone?
I remember secondary school,
And now he's there.
The family has crossed the Rubicon.
Mike next and then?
The boys are drifting away,
But we feel the acceleration.
The run up to the hill of knowledge.
The leap across.
We are proud of them,
Of each other.
Gramp always said.
29 years ago
Both boys in the big school,
School uniform days.
We feel their homework
Picking up the homework
Of our nurture days, those
Side by side at the door
Waving down the drive
At satchels full,
Side by side,
They chat away to school.
mmm we sigh,
Eye to eye,
Hand in hand,
All as planned.
The year it need not be spoken.
28 years ago
The boys were sailing
On worldly words,
Expanding horizons of
We were lost in them
Losing them slowly.
Our love for each other
Added to more than the sum,
For they were proof
Of each of us in the
Our love shivered
Between the family and
Between our hearts.
We were melded in
The year we grew even closer.
27 years ago
The first brow of the hill
Beckons in two years.
First big exams.
There will be brow after brow,
We are pushing them up,
Although we know it means out.
This is why we are in each other.
Stockpile the love of harvest.
For long dark days, for
So they will seem,
On the trajectory in
The year of the glittering prizes.
26 years ago
Hard work every day.
No holidays away.
Summer talks in whispers.
This is when we lean on each other.
Not always enough.
Doubts don't dent,
We still cling cheek to cheek.
Is clearly not clear
Where we are between
Who we were then
And who we will be.
The year we were not sure.
25 years ago
School day exams,
Beach days, sun, swim.
Off with their mates as
We lie together
Heart beats together apart.
Breathing in and out.
Tide ebb and flow.
Days and nights
Clapping the moon.
The days we all waltz
In and out of each other.
But we were partners in step.
Thinking in each other's arms.
The year we welded.
24 years ago
We have been subjugated
To pushing the rope.
Andrew has passed,
Mike half way.
Half empty nest.
One so far away,
Yet close in our thoughts.
One so close,
Yet working away,
Keep working together as a team.
Anxiety the electric magnet.
Spinning tops again.
The year of the almost.
23 years ago
Mike has excelled
As we knew he would
But dare not say.
Now both are away.
Hi - Goodbye.
Time with each other
Time all together
The year of the colleges.
22 years ago
And the boys have matured,
We can feel their independence,
As we feel our interdependence.
Proud love for what
Each of us has done together.
It was in our eyes
All those years ago.
Realised now, we were
Mum and dad kids.
Has flowered, seeded,
Blown away in the warm wind
The years of the harvest.
21 years ago
My age when we married
And we owned each other.
When you blossomed
Pink confetti icing.
I have that image
In my heart.
Soft, misty veil of
Tears of love.
I fell into you then.
I am in you now
And you in me.
There is only space for love.
The year of nothing else.
20 years ago
The boys have girlfriends and
We meet in them ourselves,
All those years ago unsure.
They are far more sure
Than we were.
We were so young.
Our hearts are honed
Tears to the stone.
Rock solid soft in love
Hold my hand.
We see, we smile.
Embracing then, living
That year again.
19 years ago
And nineteen was your age
When we married.
Younger than the boys today,
As they graduate higher.
You have graduated as a mum,
Supreme in all our lives.
The centre of all our worlds,
Our family and of our marriage.
You are in us all and
Always will be for the betterment
Of the whole family and
Our love was ardent,
Was taken for granted.
We were so busy.
Now my love for you is an ache.
In the year Suepreme.
18 years ago
We had no money,
But we were rich.
What more could I want?
You cannot buy the days,
Sad / happy days.
There are no other days.
These were our days.
We made them.
You made them.
In this year you are them.
17 years ago
The boys have PhDs.
Gradually the family has graduated.
They are away in other countries.
We have a longing,
Long for them.
We long for each other, alone
At last? Inevitably.
They belong to their partners.
We know they must have
What we had.
Their first embrace.
Their soft kisses.
Eyes only for each other.
Give me that first kiss again.
The years expanded.
16 years ago
Our second honeymoon,
That we realise has been lifelong.
We cling to each other
In a shared vision of the boys,
Their partners and
Obviously you will say.
But we knew all along,
But dared not voice,
That this is how it was to be.
We made it.
The boys did it.
The future is theirs and
You are mine at last,
The year I was yours
15 years ago
14 years ago
What changes now?
13 years ago
Caitlyn was born in Bergen.
Did we see her
In the boys’ eyes, in our eyes?
Probably not but
Were the boys in our parents’ eyes?
Time to see her beauty,
With no nappy days.
Time to see her ways,
As she loves us all.
Love from all envelops.
It's hard to believe
That Faeroese and Celtic
Pasts can create such
A beautiful granddaughter.
The year of the grandmother.
12 years ago
We can see our early days.
Were we like that?
We were so much younger.
How did we do it?
But love did it.
We had enough love for three,
And now we have enough love for seven!
Dolls not cars.
Picture on the wall.
Boys, wives, couples,
And now Caitlyn.
The year that saw tomorrow.
11 years ago
Sharing with the other grandparents
The total joy
That Caitlyn has brought.
Our love is boundless,
For all the families,
And for each other.
Joy in joy,
We are so blessed.
This must be a common emotion.
But we remember those first kisses.
They are ours alone.
They seem so important in recall.
Love can be thin out of mind.
But always there.
The sweet sixteen thread.
To the year before ...
10 years ago
Jude was born in America.
I was at the beach in the sun,
When the call came through.
I drew his name in pebbles in the sand.
In seaweed, and took a photo.
Grandparents again shared
The enormity of a life created.
We have love enough for eight.
We cannot believe it.
Boy, oh boy!
We melt together again,
Hold each other tight.
Try as we might
Our tears mingle.
The year global.
9 years ago
And Kara was born.
A personality among personalities.
Richness beyond our dreams.
We have come a long way
Since our day.
You retired, and Nanna
Was around much more.
I was left alone with my thoughts of you.
I am sure you were too busy
To think of me.
But I thought of you
Thinking of me.
A golden thread.
The year of Susie Q
8 years ago
And our beach hut expanded
To take the buckets and spades,
And bats and balls,
And fishing nets.
You do so love the beach and
The kiddie castles.
Each shriek a golden grain.
The tide of our life
In full spate.
In the summer sun I see
You as you were when we were young.
You were innocent,
Breeze in your hair.
That open smile,
That loving embrace.
The year of summer suns.
7 years ago
And I retired.
Time was ours.
Your time to help everyone
In the family.
Mine to tag along again,
As I did when the boys were small.
It was you always
Who built the home and
Led the caring way.
I was there at the edge,
A support in the storm.
Girdled in love
You spin the days
Of fun and caring,
The year you were a mum again.
6 years ago
Frederick was born.
Last but far from least.
One boy each for each.
Two boys two girls
Flash the rainbow.
Nanna, Nanna come quick!
Yes, come quick to me
Kiss me and spin to see
My darling one
Your warmth is
Given to all
The year of you and me - and them.
5 years ago
Looking for roles.
Visits to the boys less often.
Our new house and
Our walks to the sea.
You and me
Preparing for visits.
Waiting for the kids
To share the sea,
And to share you with me.
They are the making of us.
We see their ages
Of our ages.
Of our walk through life.
Of you and me - think back to
The year we said forever.
4 years ago
Routine as set in - a bit.
The sea swims,
The years float by.
But after all these years.
The children chatter
Any weariness away.
Laughter all the way
From dawn to dusk.
The year of sunny smiles.
3, 2, 1 years ago
I DO LOVE YOU SO
Kiss me quick xxx