Archives for posts with tag: Wales

Lynn with new front door
The New Front Door
by Lynn White

This house used to be two.
Two tiny houses
made one
a long time ago.
I painted the front door blue.
It looked good, made a smart entrance
open all hours to all but the largest of people.

Yes, it was rather narrow
but with 3-foot-thick walls each side
what could I do,
even the window had to come out
temporarily
to let the new furniture in.
That was quite a nuisance
temporarily.

And so it stayed
until a few years ago
when the blue door became
a little shabby with age.
And a shiny new plastic door
was custom made to fit the space
at no little expense.

It was then that the builder discovered
the doorway had been modified,
blocked by broken bricks
a long time ago
and plastered to match the walls.
The original doorway was six inches wider
than the doors,
both of the doors
the old and the new.

But the discovery came too late.
The new door was ready
made at great expense
and so it was fitted
and it looks fine
shiny and white
and remaining open
to all but the largest of people.

The old furniture also looks fine.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy, and reality. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud “War Poetry for Today” competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Rhysling Award. Her poetry has appeared in many publications, including Apogee, Firewords, Capsule Stories, Light Journal, and So It Goes. Find Lynn at lynnwhitepoetry.blogspot.com and on Facebook.

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Abstract Pipe Dreams.
by Sue A’Hern

No thoughts for health and safety, no rules applied;
apart from have fun with your bright orange and blue nets.
No one ever said, ugh or argh don’t fish off the sewage pipes.
The mighty Triumph or Norton parked on the barren ground,
between Swansea Baths and laundry;
often the sidecar roof removed so that I could stand up,
head and shoulders stuck out the top.
I wonder where the big blue bridge is now,
it isn’t where it used to be.
That’s the second blue bridge this week
that I can’t seem to find.

I can see him now squatting down, camera in hand;
brushing the sand off his light metre,
often using the B word in distress.
Saying “don’t tell your mother of anything I have let you do,”
in return I promised not to tell he swore.
I was the tomboy that held the Tilley lamp on the rocks at Worms Head,
whilst dawn broke and fish were caught.
Becoming proficient through his teaching of having a keen eye,
shooting rabbits for the pot.

So many childhood experiences given to me by my Dad;
the smell and magic of the attic room with its red light and blacked out     windows,
where photographs magically appeared on paper.
Pushing the bike out of the garage and down to the end of the street,
not to disturb the birds on eggs in his aviary.
Climbing down into the pit with its sawdust,
holding the light in just the right position while we fixed the bike;
For the briefest of time I became his assistant lapping up his knowledge,
a little girl behaving like the son he longed for.

Wherever you are now Dad,
I hope that you can see that your abstract pipe dreams live,
in the woman that is me.

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTOGRAPH: Me and my brother in the late 1960s, with our fishing nets and no concern for health and safety playing on an outlet pipe on Swansea beach. The photograph was taken by our father Jack A’Hern.

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “Abstract Pipe Dreams” is a poetic reflection on being brought up in Swansea in the 1960s, back in the days when health and safety was not a common term. My father, Jack A’Hern, taught me many skills that back then were usually only passed onto boys. He taught me to ride a motorcycle and do basic mechanical maintenance on his Triumph and Norton, to fish and use a shotgun for shooting rabbits for the pot. Jack encouraged me to read poetry and pursue my interest in photography, both of which led to my chosen career path. Unfortunately he died before his dream of having an adult child that shared his interests came to fruition.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sue A’Hern is a poet living in Swansea, Wales.

ammanford_vintage
Early morning town
by Tim Williams

Here in living in other people’s pockets town
The mad tick-tocking of the clock
Disturbs and frightens the mouse . . .
While buses pass carrying people
Some who wear hats,
Semi-bowed from the weight of constantly rained-upon heads,
Others wheelchair-bound now,
Due to a lifetime of wet dufflecoat and webbed wellied feet

Where in this muffled Welsh town
Where the summer came Saharad for a week,
and burned to a crisp we stood in the melting tarmac streets
looking skywards in wonder and surprise
at the strange glow in the sky,
Still clad in hat, dufflecoats and wellies
I know daft, but it caught us out, see,
we weren’t expecting it

Mrs. Portmanto dies, a terrible thing,
well I mean it wan’t surprising really
pulling that two-wheeled, tartan-chequed,
full to bursting with tinned food trolley
up a 1 in 3 hill in that heat, in a half damp,
now drying dufflecoat, hat and molten wellies
she stuck to the pavement by Coronation road and fried,
A terrible, terrible affair

The town stands giblets bare to the elements
being probed, prodded and felt up
by the writer pushing his pen uphill
checking every cavity, like a prison body search
No door left unpicked, No window left unpeeped,
No back entrance undiscovered

The smell of smoked Woodbine fish
creeps around a fishmongered corner,
Like a river town early morning mist,
as Dai “I take my bicycle to bed” Davies,
rises early to freewheel after breakfast
down the 1 in 3 , like oil, he slips,
a quiet shadow down to the bakery doors

The early bus coughs, and gear-box grinds
its way up the winding hill
Past number 3 Tumbledown Cottages
third past the post box on the left
Where Mrs. Evans stares through a paned window
at the chapel graveyard where
her best-suited husband
still dances underground,
Other than the incident, she recalls
“everyone said, it was a damn good knees-up!”

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The poem is a comical sendup of the town Ammanford in the Amman Valley of Carmarthenshire, Wales. The weather changes in such small degrees that it is hardly worth changing out of winter clothing, and so should a heatwave happen if only for one day the residents would not be prepared. This is the story of what may happen on such a day.

IMAGE: “Wind Street, Ammanford, Wales” (early 1900s), found at this website.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tim Williams was born and brought up in the coal mining valleys of south Wales, and did various jobs over the years — mainly in the antiques trade. Has been a singer songwriter for 35 years, and three years ago tried his hand at poetry as opposed to song lyrics — and having a little success started performing his poetry at festivals and gigs around Wales. He has had a few poems published in books and on websites in Wales and the UK and in 2014 won an award in Milan, Italy, and has had a few poems published on websites in USA. His first book of poems Are you reading that poetry book you’re sitting on it is due in 2015. He has a Facebook site Tim Williams Welsh Poet and features on Cosmofunnel, an American poetry and writing site.

andy_astbury
A GREY PLACE?
by Lynn White

This is a grey place,
there’s no denying.
Grey slate, grey granite,
grey houses built of both.
And it rains a lot, there’s no denying.
Vertical, or horizontal, or swirling rain
falling greyly from heavy misty clouds.
But when caught by a sunbeam
it makes glistening slides
shimmering across the slate
and falls in bright white tails
or snakes like silver
where the mountains leak it.
And spills heavily over rocks,
its foaming, frothing, yellow ruffed
cascades catching rainbows as they crash
then spitting them back out
in a fine spray of colours.
And now there’s no grey
in the dark blue, black sky
filled with gold and silver twinkles.
No grey at all in this place now,
there’s no denying.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The small town where I live has the reputation of being grey, rainy, and therefore miserable. I have taken this idea and used it to show the positive side of this which reflects how I feel about the place.

IMAGE: “Snowdonia, North Wales” by Andy Astbury. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

lynn_whiteABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy, and reality. Her poem “A Rose For Gaza” was shortlisted for the Theatre Cloud War Poetry for Today competition in October 2014 and has since been published in the Poetry For Change Anthology by Vending Machine Press. Poems have also recently been included, or are forthcoming, in Harbinger Asylum’s A Moment To Live By anthology, Stacey Savage’s We Are Poetry an Anthology of Love poems, In The World Of Womyn’s She Did It Anyway anthology, the launch issue of Anomalie and Callope and Phizzog among others.

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A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES (Excerpt)

by Dylan Thomas

One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six. 

All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find. In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea, and out come Mrs. Prothero and the firemen. 

It was on the afternoon of the Christmas Eve, and I was in Mrs. Prothero’s garden, waiting for cats, with her son Jim. It was snowing. It was always snowing at Christmas. December, in my memory, is white as Lapland, though there were no reindeers. But there were cats. Patient, cold and callous, our hands wrapped in socks, we waited to snowball the cats. Sleek and long as jaguars and horrible-whiskered, spitting and snarling, they would slink and sidle over the white back-garden walls, and the lynx-eyed hunters, Jim and I, fur-capped and moccasined trappers from Hudson Bay, off Mumbles Road, would hurl our deadly snowballs at the green of their eyes. The wise cats never appeared. 

We were so still, Eskimo-footed arctic marksmen in the muffling silence of the eternal snows – eternal, ever since Wednesday – that we never heard Mrs. Prothero’s first cry from her igloo at the bottom of the garden. Or, if we heard it at all, it was, to us, like the far-off challenge of our enemy and prey, the neighbor’s polar cat. But soon the voice grew louder. 

“Fire!” cried Mrs. Prothero, and she beat the dinner-gong.

And we ran down the garden, with the snowballs in our arms, toward the house; and smoke, indeed, was pouring out of the dining-room, and the gong was bombilating, and Mrs. Prothero was announcing ruin like a town crier in Pompeii. This was better than all the cats in Wales standing on the wall in a row. We bounded into the house, laden with snowballs, and stopped at the open door of the smoke-filled room.

Something was burning all right; perhaps it was Mr. Prothero, who always slept there after midday dinner with a newspaper over his face. But he was standing in the middle of the room, saying, “A fine Christmas!” and smacking at the smoke with a slipper… 

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Read the rest of the story here.

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“I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea.” DYLAN THOMAS, A Child’s Christmas in Wales.

Photo: “Zensnowman” by Kyle Miron, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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Photo: President Jimmy Carter and nine-and-a-half-year-old daughter Amy participate in a speed reading course at the White House, February 1977.

In his latest book,  THROUGHOUT THE YEAR WITH JIMMY CARTER: 366 Daily Meditations from the 39th President (Zondervan, 2012), the former president states: “My favorite poet is Dylan Thomas.” So, with this in mind, we will feature an excerpt from one of our favorite Dylan Thomas poems.

FERN HILL (Excerpt)
by Dylan Thomas (1914-1953)

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
     The night above the dingle starry,
          Time let me hail and climb
     Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
          Trail with daisies and barley
     Down the rivers of the windfall light.

 
And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
     In the sun that is young once only,
          Time let me play and be
     Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
          And the sabbath rang slowly
     In the pebbles of the holy streams.

Read “Fern Hill” in its entirety at Poets.org.

Image

A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES (Excerpt)

by Dylan Thomas

One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six. 

All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find. In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea, and out come Mrs. Prothero and the firemen. 

It was on the afternoon of the Christmas Eve, and I was in Mrs. Prothero’s garden, waiting for cats, with her son Jim. It was snowing. It was always snowing at Christmas. December, in my memory, is white as Lapland, though there were no reindeers. But there were cats. Patient, cold and callous, our hands wrapped in socks, we waited to snowball the cats. Sleek and long as jaguars and horrible-whiskered, spitting and snarling, they would slink and sidle over the white back-garden walls, and the lynx-eyed hunters, Jim and I, fur-capped and moccasined trappers from Hudson Bay, off Mumbles Road, would hurl our deadly snowballs at the green of their eyes. The wise cats never appeared. 

We were so still, Eskimo-footed arctic marksmen in the muffling silence of the eternal snows – eternal, ever since Wednesday – that we never heard Mrs. Prothero’s first cry from her igloo at the bottom of the garden. Or, if we heard it at all, it was, to us, like the far-off challenge of our enemy and prey, the neighbor’s polar cat. But soon the voice grew louder. 

“Fire!” cried Mrs. Prothero, and she beat the dinner-gong.

And we ran down the garden, with the snowballs in our arms, toward the house; and smoke, indeed, was pouring out of the dining-room, and the gong was bombilating, and Mrs. Prothero was announcing ruin like a town crier in Pompeii. This was better than all the cats in Wales standing on the wall in a row. We bounded into the house, laden with snowballs, and stopped at the open door of the smoke-filled room.

Something was burning all right; perhaps it was Mr. Prothero, who always slept there after midday dinner with a newspaper over his face. But he was standing in the middle of the room, saying, “A fine Christmas!” and smacking at the smoke with a slipper… 

###

Read the rest of the story here.