Welcome, one and all! Croeso i chi i gyd! This is a space to share my creative writing – and all kinds of other ideas. Here you'll find both poetry and prose, fact, fiction and a melding of these, in Pretanic, in Kimbric ... and in other tongues from the Nw Yrth, as well.
I have always been beguiled by "Lingwiz'dry" – the "magic of language" and the "language of magic" – and have sought throughout my life to interrogate and explore these twin(n)ed threads, following the creative path wherever it may lead. (I note here that despite my attempts to coin a new word, I find that others have since adopted the term "Lingwizardry" in the headers of columns and the titles of books, so I'll stick to my guns here with my original form that attempts to recall "linguist" as well as "wizard.") And so, within the fused bones of my skull, inside the ball of massively interconnected wet-ware, and on the pieces of paper (and now, the laptop screen), I allow myself the freedom to play: seriously, messily, and with wild abandon.
I voyage to improbable worlds, entertain chimerical fantasies, invent new selves. By experimenting, I learn about myself, other people, and the world; and, as I grope to express new ideas, and then craft, and mould, and prune my work, I find my sense of identity growing and changing, too.
And with that said, welcome to the playground: Read on, immerse yourself in the mesmeric magic, and most of all, enjoy the games! All the while, I hope you bear in mind the strange warning from the “Red Book of Rust and Blood” –
“Selastaluvamin liltesaseziví marambavan,
Bilderalin ilentídeniví ivímal;
Arolurin sorakahohé lirtestadoké ovzalnareniví velesté ivíbal:
Ivímil petraleniví ivíbal keldinkíhié evuvamuhí ínalé.”
“While symbols govern one and all,
It’s images that trap ‘em;
Old magic words then reel them in:
In shadow mute to bind ‘em.”
Practise using the powerful symbols. Guard against the tricky images. Do not allow a terrible reality to sweep you away!
Across the lambs a shadow falls,
And furthermore, beside grove’s wall,
In old mute coomb (or maybe vale),
Where secret still, and steep, winds trail,
On hill, chock-full of withered pines –
So sullen – dumb – dark virtue’s shrine,
Where, now, 'neath harsh-eyed gaze of moon,
Live tribes of truly clueless loons,
In cottage poor, and mansion fine,
Oh Gods, they grow not wisdom’s vines,
(But bear, perchance, the seeds of lust)!
From birthing-cry to death’s last gust,
They screech with pain from spectral scar,
Each day locked tight by word-charmed bars –
By shadow red and bloody flesh –
Until returns fate's scythe afresh,
To hound them down through field and dell –
And blood pours out ‘midst flame-stream fell.
If one man dies, then all survive;
Through him will human-kind all thrive?
[South Wales Evening Post: 8 March 2022]
Nature fragments into linguistic tongue beasts,
Binary splits gobble up listless word forms,
Vain creativity spews out trite soap shows,
Google's swift rhythms record every last lost wish.
Anodyne politics tempts us with baubles,
Smothers debate in farrago of sound bites,
Angels of irony wing over war grounds,
Rail-roading history's blood-smeared yet still live bombs.
Toxin-laced mirror-shards tear up spent world charts,
Beasting bland sheep to emancipate vile wolves,
Judgement tied up with bureaucracy's red tape,
Simple to reason, alarming when seen right through.
Faiths juggle dogmas reflecting old dead gods,
Getting up elders in raiment of pure hate,
Patrons of shame in this Earth's lonely flesh pots,
Seeding illusions of bliss which comes, but too late.
Science's methods transmute cherished fact files,
Bedrock of life re-make vast quantum craps game,
Crisis of selfhood reverberates space-time,
Idle imaginings cloud even suavest thought power.
All now is relative, treacherous mind fields,
Shuffling diffidence mars hope's rare blind dates,
Urges commitment to mystical con men,
Measures success rates by enemies' sick, slick smiles.
Singular point grows to blank burned-out hell void,
Hisses of static glug down cosmic plug hole,
Fractured emotions rewrite tear-stained love tunes:
Nothing remains save stripped bones cast down future’s bottomless well.
[South Wales Evening Post: 24 and 27 September
Crazed Dog Days unmask;
Snarling fangs reap poor weak folk:
Freedom heeds not guilt!
[South Wales Evening Post: 24 August 2021]
I would succeed.
In engineering a logical poem.
So here's a Fibonacci verse for your delight.
This stanza proliferates words not syllables and is starting to expand rather fast.
Deliberating on the choice of this seventh line's one score and one words is a
vexatious challenge, as is verifying them.
And what of sound, rhythm, sense, which might be swept away in the oceanic flux
of mathemagical extrusion, leaving hearers
bemused, agog, maybe begging for more of
the same, or even demanding a change?
Ah – the tide recedes and I breathe again – having venerated the void but, as is
my wont, pulled back before leaping.
Now, de-exciting, I am tormented by the itch to express some fresh idea.
Maybe it's trusting that good things come easy?
The mastery lies in starting.
Then the ending.
[South Wales Evening Post: 29 March 2021]
[This "Fibonacci" poem starts with lines of 1 and 2 words. The third line has 3 words(2 + 1); the fourth has 5 (3 + 2); the fifth, 8 (5 + 3); and so so. In this example, the maximum line-length is reached in the middle, and the pattern then reverses.]
Have you been black-balled and broke-backed?
Caustic-scorched, pummelled, awl-torn?
Graffitied, gutted, sand-blasted;
Tongue-flayed, face-stomped, scorned?
That's alterity's price-tag (they bleat):
The snide clown-clones who'd snuff out that germ
Of blood-clot zest that drives your fate,
Who guzzle your pulp and spit out the pips:
On pews and in back-bars, school-yards and gyms;
Behind respectable working-class doors.
Yet you pulse still, your raw wounds a scourge to
The fiends, who wax wroth as you strive.
Hear then your curse: You'll survive.
Stewed in hurt — Keloid welts,
Live fuses for virulent pride.
[South Wales Evening Post: 16 March 2021]
In some rhyme-wright’s pot
old scarred flesh melts now to stew;
fat words start to rot,
high stench chains those hand-picked few
who on tale’s gnarled bone-shards chew —
Thus. The start of toil:
Roiling nebulae despoil
Fresh void’s seething oil,
Chaos zip-spawns virgin soil,
Love, death, hate, life – dimensions uncoil.
From baked mud man grew:
who’d have known how fierce he’d bloom?
His axe cracked path hews
from soft crib in blood-steeped womb
to last groan in nail-scraped tomb —
Well. Maiming-fields cleared,
Bored gods lounge, chit-chat spear-tongues,
Wag their wise goats’ beards,
Belch, fart, pick noses, scratch bums:
"Adieu old chums" – their sole forced, glib sneer.
Who then owns life’s loom,
twines such strength with weak will,
wild-tossed in time’s spume
this whole world to fill like krill;
to shroud life-light their sole skill?
[South Wales Evening Post: 26 January 2021]
[Written for the California Institute of Arts "Sharpened Visions" Poetry Workshop (Coursera Certified) in 2017. Each stanza began as a 5-line unrhymed "Tanka" with 5-7-5-7-7 syllables, but as I linked them together the overall poem seemed to call for more flexibility; a strong rhyming pattern also sneaked in!]
"Anfaterol yw Duw ac o'r anfaterol y creodd e bobeth. O'r un ffynhonnell y daw pethau materol ac anfaterol ac i ddangos eu perthynas, edrydd yr athronyd gymhariaeth enwog y Tŷ a'r Llestr."
"God is immaterial and of the non-material he created everything. From the same source come things material and immaterial and to show their relationship, the philosopher uses the famous metaphor of the House and the Dish."
(Kate Bosse-Griffiths, "Teithiau'r Meddwl: Doethion o'r Dwyrain: Lao-Tse")
I raised a rare dwelling, walls flecked with priests' glyphs,
Home to Mjölnir and Thummim, scrolls from shores of dead seas;
So much unique booty I couldn't squeeze in:
In the fields with the lilies I spun out idle days –
The bric-à-brac didn't miss me.
There I fashioned a dish out of exquisite clay:
Rolled, moulded, glazed, fired with childlike glee;
But itching to use up every last scrap,
I baked a stone loaf instead of a plate –
Reaped unsought wisdom scrunching teeth free.
Then I called forth a world overflowing with words,
Ontology, logic, and holy lore-trees,
Where I left no space for the vetch to breathe,
Spurned the vast humming void that wheels without heed –
As my spent self shimmied off on the breeze.
[South Wales Evening Post: 5 December 2020]
[Written for the "New World, New Beginnings" poetry workshop as part of the Swansea University "Being Human Festival" in November 2020, led by Owen Sheers and Eric Ngalle Charles. I was invited to perform this poem, which was recorded and broadcast; this and several other poems are to be published in a forthcoming collection, edited by Owen Sheers, Professor of Creativity at Swansea]
What thing is living, but some kind of hike,
That wends its winding way, without a map;
Until we find its end, where – with a slap –
Upon vast wasteland’s sands we, lost ones, strike,
Where mocking winds our futile word-games spike,
While agonized we roam, as if perhaps
We might avoid all unexpected traps,
Then find a jury, mild to wayward tykes?
Thus, with a moan we mourn old Adam’s flight,
From our conception’s spark-start in the womb,
Till death-day comes, in gape-jawed Earth-bound tomb;
When trial-trail ends, shall we reach Heaven’s light? —
And there amongst the ranks of blessed dead,
Dare we still hope that virtue’s paths we’ll tread?
[South Wales Evening Post: 16 November 2020]
[This is my version of the Welsh poem "Taith" with which I won the Chair in the Learners' "Eisteddfod Dafarn" in Tŷ Tawe, Swansea, organised by Academi Hywel Teifi at Swansea University, held to celebrate St David's Day 2018]
Some man spoke to me thus one day,
Of fine thoughts, he claimed he well knew:
"I for no time hold in mind's view
What's said, once it's crossed my brain fay!"
This was his firm, fixed slant, no doubt
Of great worth, glib – but not sought out!
And I said back to him –
Poke out the wax that blocks your ears,
This slight plea I cry plain and bold:
Hear those of odd ilk, do not sneer:
Heed what their words, and yours, both hold:
Bad tastes these can waft to your gills,
To stoke your loins' fires, they may fail;
Zeal leaps not to the skies by will,
Yet rare gems may still wink in the shale:
And each gleans fresh sparks from sharp new quills.
If this be false, we sure must stew
In dank jail cells, our tools of inked bliss
Skew turned in own hands, to spew
Black bile on white sheets, once love kissed!
[South Wales Evening Post: 09 January 2020 as PM]
Martyr protesting am I for poetry's noble cause:
Each fresh day I cast myself into its seething jaws;
And although never set upon by packs of hellish hounds,
Neither have I rhyming ducked, beat spurned, aversely played around;
Hot Holy Writ! Language is my praying death, my stifled life,
Amigo, scolding mater, beloved rug-rats, troubled strife;
Six macchiato cups, at least, marmite-beslathered toast,
Creative muse demands, or else unseemly weekday turkey roast;
Dog-haired slippers, tired gas-coals, lift fake April tundral chill,
Deathless Wagner ringing Rhine-infuses my sand-encrusted skill;
Promised Thai green curry, spiced up with kinky kingly prawns;
Lush thought-crammed book-paper loves my groaning walls.
Harsh-vowelled phony-grammar master scourges me to write:
Consonantal Mata-Hari fancy-tickles my words' flight.
[South Wales Evening Post: 07 March 2020 as PM]
With soft, cool regard
The implacable moon
Sentinel over silent sand
Creates a howling eye-path,
Etched solubly on the surface
Of pristine saline womb below,
And leading nowhere known.
Here, churning whispers
Of wistful ocean spray,
Record through seasons’ cycles,
Rhythmic in cell-soup,
Turning and returning,
A litany of deaths, of births,
Always never the same.
[South Wales Evening Post: 16/08/18 as PM]
Bees soon un-carve winter's critic bite:
Bitter holly, botched hedge;
Winding back black wind’s wound-bleak grin.
Splattered on walls, scarlet burst:
Exploding pods' fiery pips;
Growth machine, thorough melting green.
In stellar beds, exuberant shoots
Rough caress soft once-cold roots;
Throbbing creepers, purple pebbles drop.
From whistling sea, gulls spite-wreck
Intimate sacks: litter again, spent love;
Heat-blasting tears' now long-tired heart-bliss.
Sometimes I dream I'll submerge death
Headlong in a bath of red-hot basalt.
Mardy sunspots stone-tan my stupid tongue.
[South Wales Evening Post: 24/11/18 as PM]
To the river I go,
I love its silken face;
Sailing over fields
Through a sea of pearly dew;
Around me it – folds –
As in comfort I lie:
My striving has all ceased.
In the darkness below
My soul I shed – see it there:
So finely scaled, in
Every part precise.
And I swim into the light,
Trace a path to the source,
Where the deepest currents mourn.
With one final thinking pulse,
Sparks of selfishness expire,
When at last I dissolve
In the underwater world;
Borne no longer by the wind,
I'm a stranger to myself:
Reborn by this death.
Now. I. Am. Not. Any. More.
[South Wales Evening Post: 30/10/18 as PM]
I’m dastardly good-looking
— Because I lack a face;
Why does he sack and ashes wear?
— One’s à-la-mode’s now lace;
Our hypno-screens spawn pseudo-stars
— Ain’t simulacra ace?
Each useless loser's your best mate
— Although you shed no trace;
Scapegoats they bang in prison
— Even while they bring no case;
I, no wrong can ever do
— While you, my son, are base;
The self-destruct we’ll pump with glee
— Your arms-race to outpace;
They’ll greenhouse-fry this dirt-ball Earth
— Then fly to outer space.
She’s splintered every genie-jug
— Yet can’t pluck one last choice;
Howled pleas you hurl at angel-thugs
— But — proud feathers choke your voice!
[South Wales Evening Post: 11/06/20 as PM]
From heaven's firm flesh –
Bloodied, or carrying
Chlorophyll's fresh blush –
Life you give, and
Death bring, with
What ... are ... you?
[South Wales Evening Post: 13/03/20 as PM]
A five-iamb opus bold is sonnet’s form,
Lines fourteen acrid fly on silver wings,
From bulb of words, not woman-womb, whole-born,
As orange sun at dawn’s beige window sings;
Its glamour discombobulates dunce kings,
And in creative marathon prevails;
Leniti first did gouge these dang’rous things
That angel-wit replenish angst-filled tales.
This music shuns false prose’s purple trails,
Each month copes rhythms sweet in film of gold;
And then ninth heaven’s gulf proud author sails,
To circle Hippokrēnē’s depth-springs cold.
But wasp-keen wolf-filth chaos mars our joys:
Both breadth and width of pint-sized ode, destroys.
[South Wales Evening Post: 23/10/18 as PM]
Amidst brittle autumn mesh,
From decaying summer fragments,
A long-leeched leaf is born:
As tattered veins die and
Young withered life-shades depart.
A worn brown hand,
This crinkled child ebbs out
To blasted bruise-baby,
Whose parchment tears make
Tears at the cheap, fragile edge –
Which explodes in filigree curls.
[South Wales Evening Post: 02 August 2018 as PM]