(PHOTOS by Marc Mordey – the Penrallt Eagle, created by the blacksmiths
at Dinas, Pembrokeshire)
(The music, like the bird itself
Above the Dyfi Estuary,
and over the mangroves
fumbling their way to the
Isle de Palétuviere
as the pirogues drift down glassy water
and a pelican dominates the jetty)
a red kite
eddying the cloudless sky
imperious above our crop dusted fields
siskin, finch, wood pigeon
a thrush, jack hammering a snail
between two stone dogs
keeping their green mossed vigil
A young jackdaw
striking a cormorant pose
bewitched by the chimney
beating time on the ridge tiles
(It’s hot, this year)
There are swallows skimming
and Amazons at sail in the bay
muted blue below
(and the harp still swoons
and the kora
flying fingered fishing line
rocks a gentle rhythm
whilst I am at sea
in a pyjama striped hammock)
Blue tits, dipping for water
in the stone bird bath
that celebrates a golden grand-parented wedding
of 50 years ago
There are lilies blooming
amidst the dying embers of foxglove
and jasmine perfume teasing
romping in a green gaged balloon of bush
St John’s Wort in full throttle
And pink flushed, sunset resplendent
oliander, a whisper of Greece
and the road to Milapotamos
that we took
so long ago
(and the opsrey, Dinas, fledges
takes fleeting, freewheeling flight
and feels Wales on its wings
instinct, deep chested and hidden
fat flowing river
sea hawk’s delight)
The honeysuckle is draped
whilst the weather vane is stilled
the umbrella stifled with gaffer tape mends
blowing the wind southerly
to lighten the atmosphere.
(but, no fear
for the music still plays,
swaying, stirring, evoking
and the Land of Song beyond
I see you, in my mind’s eye,
as the rail skimming miles slide by.
You are peeling apples
in our kitchen,
two ageing, worsted cook books,
flour dusted, unflustered
by your side.
Chunking, slicing, chutney dicing.
Slooshing, whooshing, liquid reducing.
And that, which cannot be denied?
You’re the jam, the jelly roll, adoration preserved.
The unadulterated, unreserved,
honeyed, sugar coated,
The core – I’m sure,
and yet, by me : surely undeserved?
The bowl of cherries and more.
Dedicated to Jules and Bea (Beazley) for their wedding, 6th December, 2014. May all your wishes come true.
How I wish
You were with me now,
On this west bound train.
Your head nestled on my scarf shrouded shoulder,
As hills, estuary and city-scapes slide by.
Seeing occasional bouldered tops, and
Winter scarred fields, with
Cows and sheep reddened in December, shadow sharpened sunlight.
The train roars by, and
Crows scatter, shocked but unruffled.
And the tinnyness of maddening music
Moleing in someone’s headphones
Is suddenly stifled.
How I wish I was with you
In Oxford Circus sunshine.
Salvation Army songed,
Peacock motif light strung
And subdued Swiss shopped.
Walking wok wards
Or sipping our piping hot coffee
In the Photographers Gallery.
After viewing wind chilled,
Snowbound and desolate Finnished landscapes.
The portraiture of Martina Lindqvist,
Startling and sublime;
Living and loving, on
best borrowed, London time.
How I wish I was with you in an Uber car,
Being teased and cosseted all in one go.
The South Circular,
Wedding party bound and perilous slow.
The paper lights
Small globes in a sun boundaried marquee.
The confetti, floating ghost petalled toward the uneven floor.
The rusted statues gaping at a glitter of guests,
Speeches, stumbles, extracts and jests,
Celebrating this days marriage –
And other such states of union.
Past, present, the family bond,
Wherein New Zealand Eritrea, South Africa
Wales and well beyond,
Played their part,
In sumptuously stated affairs of the heart.
I’m here, and the glass raised is in genuine spirit, but
In my mind I’m on a Lizard Mountain
Canadian roof topped once more.
My word is forged, feather breathed,
To cherish, to adore.
How I wish I could be with you,
lovely photos and a nice piece from Diana – we had a brilliant evening, a richness and diversity of poets , wonderful music from Lowri Evans and Lee Mason, delicious crepes provided by Beatrice of Ffwrn (and served – with great aplomb – by Helen Carey) ….think we will return!!
I was very pleased to be invited to join the Writer’s Blog Tour recently by my Twitter friends at Mirren Jones – please see www.mirrenjones.wordpress.com
The introduction on their blog tells you how this works ….”Welcome to the Diary of Mirren Jones – a new stop on the Writers’ Blog Tour. We hope you’ll enjoy your visit, and will go on to sample the blogs of other writers, highlighted below. We are part of a growing international community of writers, working to introduce each other’s blog to a wider audience. Christine Findlay, Chair of Bookmark Blair, (Blairgowrie Rattray and The Glens Book Festival) in Perthshire, Scotland invited us to take part. (see www.cfindlay.blogspot.com) We in turn have invited the writers Angela Jeffs (Scotland), Heidi Garrett (USA) and Marc Mordey (Wales).”
So, now it’s my turn and there are 4 questions for me to answer :
1. What am I working on? Well, if I ‘m truthful, not a lot just now! I have a new poem prepared for Mayday and am working on notes from a recent trip to Sussex and Kent , which provided lots of visual and mental stimulation. I have a small collection of poetry that my father produced and have some ideas for incorporating these into my next collection of poetry (but that’s going to be a while in the making I think.)
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? I think it is terribly hard to answer this question as it demands a degree of objectivity about one’s own poetic voice which I at least am unable to achieve! But I think it is fair for me to say that what I try to produce is poetry that documents my own day to day experience of life – and the many moods and nuances that entails – and that I like my poetry to be accessible.
3. Why do I write what I do? As a record for myself. As something to share with friends and family.Because I find it enjoyable, cathartic and stimulating. And because I can.
4. How does my writing process work? I seem to have 2 ways of producing a poem – either it just ‘pops out’ of my mind (and I find walks and train journeys to be particularly valuable in this respect) or sometimes they take months, even years to find their way out onto the page. I probably write more of the spontaneous variety than the latter. I try and keep a pocket size notebook about my person for the purpose of jottings, and occasionally (mostly on a walk) I use the voice memo function on the I phone to record a line or two, or a stray thought.
And finally, I want to introduce you to 3 friends whose work is wonderful – please visit their blogs to find out more. These talented folks will be offering their answers to the same 4 questions on Monday 12th May. And anything you can do to help us all share our words and ideas through your own networks would be much appreciated. Thank you.
Stewart Bartlam Having worked as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language for a number of years, followed by twenty years in the civil service, I took early retirement a couple of years ago. My time now is happily occupied by reading, listening to music, following sport, the pleasures of food and drink, and writing. I’ve tried my hand at novels, essays and short stories, but it’s poetry that has become my pivotal passion; one that I hope to share by means of this blog. BLOG : http://stewartstanzas.wordpress.com
Helen Carey Having spent time in various different parts of the world, Helen Carey now lives in Pembrokeshire, West Wales, in a beautiful location overlooking the Irish Sea. She has had a number of jobs and her varied experiences of working as a chalet girl, a waitress, a travel agent, an oil trader, a management consultant and in the British Army have all featured in one form or another in her books. She teaches Creative Writing at the University of Wales and is a Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund. Her aim is to entertain, and her sense of character, story structure, pace and humour all combine to create compelling, page-turning novels which attract fans from all over the world. BLOG : http://helencareybooks.wordpress.com
Gillian Mawsom Gillian has interviewed 450 Second World War evacuees. She has worked with the BBC on documentaries and develops workshops for schools and museums. Her first book ‘Guernsey Evacuees: The Forgotten Evacuees of the Second World War’ describes the evacuation of 17,000 civilians to England just before the German occupation of Guernsey. Her new book ‘Evacuees: Children’s Lives on the WW2 Home Front’ contains interviews with 100 evacuees who spent the war years in Britain. BLOG : http://whaleybridgewriter.blogspot.co.uk/
My angels were singing : a poem for St David’s Day (I have shared this with friends before but hope it bears revisiting)
Concocted over a few spring like days, out walking the dogs, watching the birds, and thinking of those who have died : Derek, who loved Pembrokeshire and rode on Carningli most days, and also of my grandparents (and others), who do – I believe – watch over me.
I stood near the house
where Grace once lived,
My angels were singing.
I watched as birds
and daffodils dived.
My angels were singing.
It’s spring and the sun
bursts fat and alive.
And my angels were singing.
Old crow, silhouetted against Carningli rock,
purple shadowed on blackened burnt bracken,
gorse and heather reeling :
the after shock.
But my angels were singing, still.
As seagulls wheeled across the bay,
catching sea breezes,
tumbling at will.
The Irish Sea lies beneath
becalmed and silvered blue,
and my angels were singing.
Wales’ favourite saint remembered
the new season breaks forth, springing,
flowers dancing, church bells – ringing.
His angels – singing.
Seasons, people, live and die,
here and now is for the living.
But remember those you love or loved –
And let your angels be singing.
Let your angels be singing.