1. The Night Fisher.
I feel the tide begin to bulge
Oiled with secretions from the docks
And tempt the sole come in to crop the lug
With ragworm treats on tiny hooks.
I watch the facets of the moon, not clocks.
Crab pick and mullet suck, I know their touch.
My hands are swiftsure on the trace:
Trained in that first dark to reset/replace
Missiles the machines had turned.
I scan the satellite's bright shadowed face.
The lunar tide swells dark in me
Like those who need the night to feed or mate;
But I have closed the locks up tight and
Smile to see a wharf rat with such dainty fingers
Scrabble at my bag of bait.
Sensing the moon rise through the clouds,
2. ODE TO HAY FEVER.
Oh warm west wind though breath of pollens being.
Spreading the spores of hazel, elm and yew,
Birch, popular and hornbeam trees are freeing
Trillions of tiny barbs to pierce my head.
Then cruel April comes when grasses mix
With rape and rose and oak in all pervading spread.
Next May is out in white flowered dreams,
Plane, maple and dark cypress spores like quarks
Invisible to all except my sinus streams.
June and July, the languid seasons' breeze
Swelled with sunflower, buttercup and dock.
Worts and all, I fall upon the tissues that will bind
Billions of brain cells from the constant sneeze!
Until late August when the wormwoods' bitter spill
Heralds the relief of coming winter's chill.
3. A VALEDICTION.
'A bit slow, not to bright, you know,
But reliable as the dawn'.
His workmates said, shaking their heads.
Three thousand pounds redundancy
Left there is his sandwich box on
His usual seat when he stepped into the dark
Wind of the train and got sucked
Into the chunking wheels and left in gobbets
On the line like meat for some safari park.
Strangely, his head was still intact,
Just the one eye had popped its socket;
But why before that stride into the void had he
Pulled the communication cord?
4. PALMY DAYS.
it was Gina before breakafast
and Ava after lunch.
my conceit made all my pin ups three dimensional.
with Lana in the evening
and Sylvano late at night,
on a good feeding ship I was sensational.
couldn't get my watchmate's yen
for bloodless, skinny blondes and
yankee tarts with gobs hinged to their earholes;
until I found it was a front
when one day he made his bunk
and I glimpsed a Dirk Bogard beneath his pillow!
5. EXPLORING KNIDOS.
I summit the west ridge,
blink away the raki sweat and
squint against the dunking orange sun to
let my mind's eye fill the trireme harbor there below
with rippling oar banks dripping seeds of light.
as gullet anchors clatter down,
I hear the clash and lock of phalanxed pikes
as armoured and well drilled formations
wrench each other into history.
and then below your slim shape shimmers,
still intent on reading sun sprung
tiles of mosaic I crunched on through
in haste to reach the height and
base of Aphrodite.
I pace the marble dais,
all that's left of the famed goddess
carved by mortal hand, then
stroke the giant plinth's sides tracing
beauty with a tactile and possessive palm.
above, beneath the Goddess sways;
thus Socrates held womankind in awe.
but Plato's cave unearthed the deadly forms of
shadow shapes for men to dramatize.
Slay me your first son
then you can get to kill my only one and
thus become immortal like your god.
we threaded different paths across that ruined metropolis,
a scattering of stones where once lived seven thousand souls.
That night aboard in our cramped cabin you dreamed on.
Cupping your pliant haunch for comfort of the heart
beat surging through the hips,
I whispered hoarsely in you ear:
'Mosaics should be read by moonlight,
for then their shapes and colours clear'.
6. Of course, the best known local poet is Dylan Thomas and here
is my best known poem written many years ago in an attempt to
contrast his bourgeois area of the town with the east side
where I come from. When reciting this I put on a plummy accent
for the Dylan bits as he scrubbed all traces of a Welsh accent
and sounded like a Church of England vicar, in fact!
I come from that City of Swansea
Founded on copper and coal,
Where the grafters get on the Council
And the dreamers stay on the dole.
Where the bay has the sweep of a sabre,
Well, at least when the tide's in at night,
With the crescent of water reflecting
The shore in its trembling light.
and music to me is the seas wish,
gull shrake and rain drum,
truck shunt and works bray,
choirs quest and boozers bellow,
girls gasp and lark bells,
tide creak and mist dripped
tubas of the deep ships.
I come from that part of the gray town
Now left to the fox and the rain,
From where the dead and sweated earth
Is breathing and greening again.
Let trees talon the soil to my hillside,
Let the sewin return form the sea,
Let stacks steeple and soar on another shore
Far enough from this valley and me.
for living with us was the spider damp,
sun smart and wind clutch,
cockle sweet and crab sharp,
castle crush and clinkered boot,
fire glaze an cindered root,
moon whirl and street lurch,
furnaced fists and splinter sharp
shivers from an ancient harp.
I come from that City of Swansea
Built by the sailor and smith.
Where the fables are woven to fashion,
For behind every one is a wish.
7. This last poem in these examples is one of my latest.
In every race the babes first words are similar
Milk mouthings and echoes of the womb.
Surrounded now with a cacophony
It must absorb to know a plethora of objects,
Noises must be rounded into tones,
So the new I can make sense of the world.
Forming impressions into images needs
Adverbs of space not those of time.
While voices fill and colour things the
Language uses spaces to construct an
Each tongue gives nuances of difference:
Words do more than signify related truths,
They point the way to truths unknown.
Words occur before history and
Fade when history is anoted.
Myth, art and science, mere workings towards being.
So all such attempts to unify diversity of form fail!
For the word is sensual and spiritual,
Destinies and dialectics crumble under the
Breathy weight of this God of the moment.
And now the web of words projects to
Net the shapes of time.
The Logos is the Helmsman of the Cosmos!
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