Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Daddy

<Audio>

When my nose peeped out
upon an iced window morning,
dark upon the lake of night,
when nothing would bid me;
he was downstairs 
kindling the cinders,
lighting the fire of the day. 

I lay floating on the nice it is ness.

My “please?” brought toast,
the thick butterness of toast,
and crumbs!
For he has left for work,
and only the door said goodbye.
The hobnail boots crunched away
into the darkness of a somewhere,
until sundown sold him back to me.

His heart wrapped my world as I
settled back to sleep up the sun
of little boy’s nursery rhymes,
of my water-coloured tiny steps
and wide appealing eyes,
tight curls of longing,
for my daddy,
longing for my daddy to return.

To be swept up in his arms,
enchanted by the smell of work.
A hug and a kiss,
how I will remember this.

When our aches swop places.

Walking the plank of childhood 
I knew, even then, that someday,
someday,
not that far away,
his day would turn to night,
and my night would turn to day,
and I would butter the toast.






Monday, 11 December 2017

Winter solstice

Sundial building to full speed,
spinning on solstice ice,
whoops,
over the edge of the year.
For all the good intentions
- yes indeed -
of mortal men and mice,
never will they suffice,
or last when summer’s here.

1967

Washing in a bowl in front of the fire;
actually, a chair without a back.
Freezing outside.
The Monkees singing on the radio.
Putting on my “smart” suit.
Meeting the boys.
We’re going down town
to meet our future
the other side of the sixties.


Friday, 8 December 2017

The sea swimmer in winter

<Audio>

Beyond the breeze,
under the winter sun,
the sea is calling me,
  calling me,
    calling me.
Seething in the breath,
of the north wind’s spume,
in the push and pull of the tides.
That’s where my secret abides.

The blue jelly fish have pulled back
to where the cormorant stands on end.
As a grey seal bobs with ebony eyes,
and the snows press down the bay.
My knees compose some purple prose,
that will last me through the day.

Harder the winter,
larger the spring in my step,
where I see, in the icy briny,
that perennial phoenix of spring.
That frisson of flight,
born in the glassy might
of the quenching, churning tides.

Baptised, reborn, each shingle day,
in my way, in my bay, away
in the dappled waves of my sea,
my sea, 
  my sea, 
    my sea.
Away in the dappled waves of my sea,
  my sea.

When I am dried by the sun and wind,
then, only then, am I alive.
As alive as live can be.
  Alive as the roaring sea.
    Alive as a swimmer in winter.
In the sea where he’s meant be.

In the sea where he’s meant be.


Thursday, 7 December 2017

Swansea, bloody Swansea!

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 staccato 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.




Monday, 4 December 2017

Potter’s bus

It was Potter’s bus, with coal miner’s dust,
 that took us to the fair.
Shiny, threadbare, hardly-seats,
 we thump-bumped mal de mer.

White-knuckled hands,
 the promise of stares in focus.
We’re there! We're there! The wide-eyed looks.
 Now for some raucous, hocus-pocus!



La mort en mer

A dead young seal upon the beach. 
  A grey cadaver of sadness. 
A discarded bag of moonbeams.
  A turgid, sand-teared, madness.

  I can still see it lying there.
I can still see its empty eyes.
  La mort en mer.
La mort beneath sea skies.