Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Poets for change -- The Cellar Bards

Here are the Cellar Bards and Friends taking part in the 100-Thousand Poets for Change Global event on Saturday, September 27, 2014 on The Quay at Cardigan.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

The Wall

Today I am one of thousands of poets around the world who are taking part in 100-Thousand Poets for Change day. The poems I am reading are below.

I’ll be reading them in Cardigan, west Wales, between 4pm and 5pm in an event organised by our local live literature group, the Cellar Bards. We’ll be reading short poems on the theme of ‘change’ and ‘peace’.

The town’s community bookshop, Leafed Through, is also taking part.  Everyone who reads poems will write them on postcards, which are being laminated to hang on lines in the bookshop.

This is one of many events being staged simultaneously around the world as a demonstration/celebration of poetry, art and music to promote social, environmental, and political change.

We hear so much bad news and this is a chance for people to be involved in something positive, and to link with others in getting the message out there that people do care about local and world issues.

Many poets around the world, several living in war-torn countries, are taking part in the event and they need to know that people are listening to the fact that daily life and poetry must go on.

Hundreds of cities representing over 100 countries signed up to the 100 TPC global initiative.

Visit www.100TPC.org for more details about 100 Thousand Poets for Change.

I chose one symbol to focus on for my poems for the day. When I was younger we had the Berlin Wall, which symbolised the Cold War. Now we have the great wall that cuts through the Palestinian lands and for me symbolises the tragedy of the Middle East and the terrible divisions of today’s world.

At 25 feet it’s twice as high as the Berlin Wall and it is 800 km long. It’s made of concrete and razor wire and it’s not straight, oh no, it weaves around to do the most possible damage. Sometimes it encircles villages, sometimes cuts right through them.

The Wall …

makes borders 25 feet high,
it separates, isolates,
divides families, splits communities,
wrecks water supplies,
surrounds villages to make prisons;
it’s a blueprint for division
it constructs apartheid -
and it kills the view from both sides.

and two haiku on similar theme… 

Children cry out for
the power of peace as
conflict tears the world

flags over mountains,
bright colours for refugees
flying over plains

Friday, 12 September 2014

Remote control

A flash of white flame
makes a negative image
and the scene
emerges on a screen;
a silent movie
in monotone infrared.

A man on the ground
has a leg missing,
he’s rolling around,
blood spurting out,
a fountain of heat pouring a pool.
Pieces of bodies scattered around a crater,
ghost white against black earth.

It took him a long time to die,
the man whose leg was blown off,
watched by his killer,
the man in the green flight suit
in a windowless metal booth,
who sees from 7,000 miles away.
The 21st century pilot,
Predator controller,
in charge of terminal guidance.

As he watches this death,
this airman who never flies
sits back in his padded chair
and blows smoke into unmoving air.
Cool, this box in the Nevada desert
smells of stale sweat and cigarettes;
a low hum of machinery
constant in the background,
while the chain of command
leads straight to his headset
from ground control station:
‘Countdown — three…two…one -
missile off the rail’.
And a Hellfire flares,
hits target in a distant desert;
he’ll never fail.

At 6pm the airman goes home,
eats dinner in front of the TV,
plays with his son,
who stares at his Xbox and
kills enemies on the screen.
When his wife comes home,
the man is sleeping,
soundly aloof.

The boy kills another avatar.
No one talks, no one touches,
no one really sees.
Gadgets drone and hum,
this is the music of their lives.

This is

Sunday, 7 September 2014

The witch of Satis

This poem was clearly inspired by Charles' Dickens wonderful creation of Miss Havisham. I am posting it now because the perfect illustration for it just appeared in my kitchen…

The witch of Satis

She dwells, yes, that is the word,
down there in the dust of her life,
not living, she dwells
in the wintry room of her making,
in her bloodless bitterness,
where no clock ticks,
time is still,
the air forever frozen,
her breath a cool vapour that has only
caressed the ash of life.
Her dress yellowed, its silk long dead,
her face a waxwork, eyes inward,
her body withered under the gown,
a shrunken spectre;
her movements small
and cold.
The young man sees
in the dusky candlelight
the detail of her,
but I feel it all,
from my haunt.
I live well in near darkness
and my silk is finely tuned
to the smallest vibration
of my webs.
There is abundance still on her bride’s table,
a great cake,
it is for me,
my blotchy body and speckled legs
are all at home here.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Dancing into the new term

So long since I posted here!
It seems like the summer holidays just took over and writing fell off the top of the priority list. I have been writing some poetry through August, but not as much as usual. (There's a little sample below).

There have been no open mic gatherings in my area through this month and I do find that I write my poetry with the live reading of the work in mind – it’s a real incentive when there are readings coming up.

So now that the season is starting again I am getting down to write some new poems and I am so much looking forward to getting out there to read some of the work.

I am still submitting my best poetry to magazines and competitions, so I can’t post it here, as most contributions to publishers and contests have to be unpublished.

There are several open mic events coming up during September, so I have spent some time getting my reading file up to date.

To start off, I am looking forward to going down to Laugharne this week where there is a regular live literature gathering at Browns Hotel, the famous watering hole of Dylan Thomas.

Then there will be the Folk Night at Rhosygilwen, Poems n Pints in Carmarthen and my home base, the Cellar Bards in Cardigan. There are a few others in between too – west Wales really is a great place for live literature events. More info on the Spoken Word Wales website (link below).

Here’s a little piece that recalls the emotion on the day I moved into my new home, over three years ago now …

Kitchen dance

feet on cold slate
in the heat of day,
she dances
in the space
she shaped with her joy

released to move
as she pleases
in her universe
she circles with the music
like she will never stop

opening her breath
to the whispers
the energy
the choice
the abundance

stepping, turning
embracing the core,
the centre place
feeling the space.



Cellar Bards on Facebook:

Poems and Pints on Facebook:

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

And so it was

This is one of the poems I was prompted to write by events being held around the Dylan Thomas Centenary, which is being celebrated to the full in south and west Wales this summer.
I had the chance to read this at a spoken word event at the Dylan Thomas Boathouse in Laugharne, which was organised by poet in residence Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch.
This was the place where Dylan and Caitlin spent several years of their marriage, and while the celebrations of Dylan’s life were shouting loud, I decided to look sideways and take a look at Caitlin’s story.

And so it was

We boozed and we brawled our way
through the 16 years
we called our marriage.
Fuelled by alcohol,
with oaths and curses
and infidelity;
we’d have fallen down
without the drink,
so we would.

We fell into bed
that first day,
and always lovin’ and fightin’,
drinkin’ and wrestlin’
our lives were raw, red
bleeding meat;
with booze, words,
poems, stories, and sex
 - and kids.

What’ll the neighbours say, you wrote
what’ll the neighbours say.
What he’ll do for drink,
falling in the gutter.
That’s what they said.
You were a hopeless
bloody father,
you drank all the money.
No Good Boyo,
so you were.

And you bedded all the shameless women.
I could’ve killed you,
I banged your head on the floor,
I wanted to kill you
again and again.
It was all our own hopeless war.

I wanted to be worse than you,
I loved the wine
and the men,
the wantonness,
and more and more.
I had my revenge,
so I did.

And when you died,
my struggle was over.
It was a relief, at first,
so it was.
Then I found my leftover life
and I had that to kill.

The sky is torn across, you wrote,
Now our love lies a loss,
and so it does.