Saturday, 8 July 2017

A patchwork quilt of Swansea built


A snake street of little shops,
tabernacled in stone.
A church on an island,
an eye on a herring bone.


Aircraft carrier, on its deck lined up,
fleets of new cars all glossy in garage,
hands off, for takeoff, prices and prices.
While stingy terraces strike down the mirage.


Bridged by trains and dark arched through,
monumental black just simply is.
"Bee Brrrp" the diesels comment,
on queue, for cars that just as simply are.

The Hafod 

Tighter knit these matrix streets,
these lodestone houses of industry and more.
Measled by pubs and tiny, tiny shops.
Poor in the richness of its history lore.


Racecourse crossroads, traffic lights abridged.
High rise, city-like, birthing and borne.
Fags seething red on public house steps,
grouped by stringy men of deep eyes forlorn.

Upper High Street 

Last station of the cross,
"All Change! All Change!"
Tower offices nudge the glory buildings, 
surely this crime must be duly arraigned.

High Street 

Artily varnished fingernails pander too dry
under apocryphal wrinkly and fading facades.
Will it ever decide?
This threadbare tapestry of hanging brocades.

City Centre

Where is it centred?
Laying the ghosts that went before.
Now bored in smoke and obesity.
Re-planning? Oh! No more!


All flotsam and rattling lanyard masts,
and upwardly winding and windy mobiles.
Waiting (again) for the lock gate to open,
"Would you live here?" Brings wry smiles.


Tall door steps and coal holes black,
all roads lead to Joe's.
On most corners a little shop 
or a pub, and the next round is yours.

Walter Road

They lived here before the lawyers,
before the business hues,
like the grandees of Fynonne,
they are all gone, to where? Who knows?


Look at the view, the best in town,
and the community spirit is swell.
The number 12 chugs up and down
past the municipal university - well, oh well?


Student-land bustling and dormitory down
to the knot of tight Brynmill.
They walk the paths in the greening parks
yet fail to feel the thrill ...


... that the dead, remembered on the cenotaph,
had felt in their last days on this earth.
Walk along the shadows of the colonnade,
and ask why, oh why? Of the modern in mirth?


Another crossroads for cars not people,
beep, beep, scurry up, hurry up!
Chipshops and takeaways,
for school kids on the hop.

Derwen Fawr

Neater, wider roads,
but can you see any one at all?
All commuted away in their cars,
bought from the garages of Plasmarl


Bathe in the pill and you'll need a pill.
To bathe in pool you must find a space,
while parents a coffee or ice-creams a kid
until you burn in the sun, all red in the face.


Clyne gardens in a Rupert Bear mystery,
of ornamental bridge and follies bizarre.
Below it the sea, above it the common.
The people of Mayals are lucky by far.

West Cross

Council houses and the grand detached,
and West Cross Lane away to the stars.
The dear little green (with a sign in wood),
and Dick Barton's chips "tweet now and vinegars?"


Infusions of visitors in their bleeding queues,
which ever way you travel in your hot little cars,
the lighthouse and pier have seen it all before,
the tenders and yachts, and the jolly Jack tars.

The piers

Mumbles pier all silver and wood,
looks to the West pier all concrete and baits.
But the West pier guards the entrance to docks,
while the Mumbles pier is rotting and waits and waits.

St Thomas

The seamen home from the sea sit to eat
at the tables that look out in distance to sea.
Over stevedore docks that craned all the oceans
for what they have scent - you see?


The end of the houses at the east side of town,
down to Crymlin bog and out to the marsh.
Was bombed in the war, or so dad said.
But today there is nothing nearly so harsh.


Kilvey terrace church shut down.
Oh God forgive us, but do not disown
all the souls who walk this narrow old road,
asleep under Kilvey hill's heather and crown.


The jewel of slag in the city's crown,
where metallurgy blazed and chimneys smoked,
to make the money for the foundation stone,
that now is Swansea, and to that history yoked. 


"Up the Bony" the policemen patrolled in twos,
now more refined, on the green valley side,
with views across this grand poem of ours,
this tasty Swansea where we all abide.

Then ...

Penlan, between the devil and the deep blue sea,
or Fforestfach in tradesmen's entrance,
or Cwmfelin way down to belie,
secret Greenhill cocooned in a trance. 

But what of (and more) ....

Birchgrove, Clydach, and Pontardawe?
Or Gorseinon, and Pontardulais?
Or Penclawdd, Penllygaer?
Well they all warm Swansea, in tears and mirth,
wrapped in this quilt, this heaven on earth.

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