Moon on black water,
Snails a silvery trail,
Forking Hades’ lineaments;
Clouds scud on past,
Light bears bright souls,
Nightscape lies drowned in dark.
[South Wales Evening Post: 11/08/18 as PM]
So is this language: just those thoughts we speak,
Made up of words with pauses in between?
Its lub-dub rhythms through our heart-beats sneak;
Perhaps sleek sorcery lurks here unseen?
For symphonies lack diction, yet wield force,
Propelling some to heights sublime of bliss;
Or, mortified by requiem's dread course
We quiver, sensing hungry tomb's cold kiss.
And tender gurgles mother shares with child,
So recent pushed to life-strife, from her womb,
Are less about linguistic grammar-styles:
They rather weave communication's loom.
Then unrepentant rapture preach wild beasts,
While demagogic xenophobes spread hate;
Brave poets, maybe, lay before us feasts,
With love and beauty, finer urges sate?
With tongue in cheek, therefore, I give my every breath,
To saying (mostly) right – before I'm gagged – by death!
[South Wales Evening Post: 26/07/19 as PM]
He may, they should, we might, you could,
She must, thou shalt – I really oughta –
Stay home alone, in shielded bliss,
Spending furlough-cash like water.
Yet dare I don that three-layer mask,
Run up by next-door's daughter;
To social-distance without the pub,
Economy-boosting, as it gets hotter?
But what if I'm manhandled by a gloveless rogue,
Globule-splattered by a sneezy rotter?
Hmm, without a vaccine I'm just not sure
Whether to arm myself with a swatter,
With which to scourge those porcine boors
Who run amuck and squash my trotters:
The super-spreaders who oink with glee –
As they herd us all to the slaughter.
[South Wales Evening Post: 07/08/20 as PM]
Tre’ hell a hyfryd bardd Dylan might of wrote;
Lle annwyl iawn to Abertawe folk:
There's Cwmdonkin Park, so neighbourly;
And the Thomas' House ar bwys the sea.
Ar hyd y nos and through the day;
Mae'r tonnau'n canu in salty spray.
Seek pleasure in wild-land? Y lle gorau yw Gŵyr;
O weundir i fôr glas lies beauty for sure.
Dau gastell balch overlooked the wide bay;
Where once roamed Brenin Sweyn, they say.
Then yr Elyrch, the Swans, and the Ospreys, y Gweilch;
At Stadiwm Liberty – all fans sport-thirst slake.
Dewch i ymweld â ni – Swansea's just ace;
Mae'n Ddinas mor wych – such a wonderful place!
[South Wales Evening Post: 06/07/20 as PM]
Once viruses meant venom, pus, or slime;
Now recognised as protein-clad machines,
Non-living yet destruction-hungry germs –
No membrane bounds nucleic-acid genes.
They hijack unsuspecting cells that squirm
About then burst, infective blight to shed,
As fever-ridden bodies cough, and burn –
Since patient-zero in Wuhan lay dead,
And outbreak into epidemic turned,
Then soon across the world pandemic spread.
Advisers wielded models, unconcerned,
Embracing herd-immunity's vain hope;
So many folk in sealed care homes interred –
No PPE to help the staff to cope!
As contagion ran amock, nay-sayers learned
Harsh measures are required to curb death's slope:
Not soapy hands alone, but lock-down rules –
As scientists for tests and vaccines grope,
Key-workers' kids amongst the few in schools,
Most citizens in fearful isolation kept –
Apart from those who gad about like fools,
And yet fair treatment even then expect,
From selfless carers stretched past breaking-point.
Amidst this fomite-world, all's out of joint:
Here, daily figure-counts forever climb –
Not spurning laws, but getting caught, the crime!
[South Wales Evening Post: 04/06/20 and 05/06/20 as PM]
Sun soft-tickles bowl,
Bronzing taut sweet-packed fruit-chunks’
Tight leathery peel.
With fixed moon-gooned grin
You aromatize sense-buds,
Muzzle to nozzle.
Snout scouts first; eyes gorge
As stuffed rind pleads unzipping
In summer-smeared flare.
Soft age-flecked parcel still yields
[South Wales Evening Post: 25/10/18 as PM]
COVID 19 – two ugly words, no doubt,
On lips bound tight with masks that shut off air –
Right as you scrap against that itch to shout
Out barbarous oaths at folk who'll not play fair,
Nor put a stop to panic-buying's sins;
Abducting tons of loo-roll from shops' stocks;
Vacating malls of pasta, gin, and tins,
In wanton scrum to bypass lock-down's blocks!
Riotous, bug-rich shindigs still occur:
Uncaring mobs scorn social SOS;
So spurning top-dog's urging to concur,
Rash rascals rush to wrack fraught NHS!
Atrocious months hatch plans to pall spring's light:
Gracious and bold – unsung champions stand and fight!
[South Wales Evening Post: 16/0420 as PM; an Acrostic Lipogram (No-E) Sonnet]
This mock-heroic verse they say we speak
Without the merest thought that we so do
Is great for writing down poetic thoughts:
It just comes out and simply seems to flow.
It kept old Shakespeare in a job alright;
Not only tragedies did he write down,
But comic epics if you like that stuff –
Tho’ why they say they’re funny I don’t know.
Some liberty with facts he may have took
In tales historical of kings and queens:
The murder, poison, eye-gouge kind of jazz
Joins that already rampant on our screens.
And Winter’s Take – a tragi-comedy
Where Autolytic trickery conceals:
She is, he’s not – a bear – some shepherds too;
Then deus ex machina – all's revealed.
So ends before too long my stanza short;
I really just can’t give it much more thought!
[South Wales Evening Post: 26/10/19 as PM]
In wind-swept church-yard, under flinching Druids' tree
Lurk star-crossed sweethearts, greeny-gilled but keen;
On wrought-iron benches graced with tags they lean,
Vicariously thrilling – observed but by the birds and bees.
Enamoured, truly trapped in rapture's net,
Yet somehow distant, edgy, and perplexed,
Outraged that they must now cavort via text,
Unused to social-distance etiquette!
She, like a sulky leading lady warps her face,
Out-mooding her pet golem – he just squats and glares;
Maybe one day a tender hug they'll share,
Unblemished by this frigid six-foot space.
Consumed by ardour – forced arms-length apart:
Hot-blooded hostages to quarantine's dark arts!
[South Wales Evening Post: 08/04/20 as PM; an Acrostic Sonnet]
Do you always moan so much, they ask;
Are you always filled with woe?
Is it really so hard to do every small task,
Is the whole wide world your foe?
Rubber-bands you loathe, modern verse you hate:
Does nothing escape your bile?
Even cyclists raise your heckles, mate,
While thieves in the graveyard rile!
But at least when I'm puce, I'm so truly alive,
Blood roiling, heart ready to pop,
Stress, conflict, and tension – on these I thrive:
I'll rabble-rouse till I drop!
[South Wales Evening Post: 19/03/20 as PM]
How I love riding on my bike,
But not on pavements like the types
Who buzz round wasp-like without bells,
Creating havoc, wreaking hell
For older persons grasping sticks,
And parents shepherding their chicks;
Whilst stealthy cyclists in the parks
Dash round like whirlwinds for a lark,
Up-sneaking from behind with glee,
Without a hooter – you can't see
These lightning-bolts that make our strolls
Less pleasant jaunts than 'save our souls'!
Before more folk are knocked for six:
Rein in your steeds – don’t speed for kicks!
[South Wales Evening Post: 28/02/20 as PM; in September 2019 I was knocked down by a student going hell-for-leather on a bike at dusk in Singleton Park. He ran into me in order to avoid Chico the dog (whom i am sure he would have killed had be hit him). I was very badly bashed up, and cracked my head. I see so many horrendously unsafe cyclists about the place -- this really is a "cri de coeur" to those riding cycles (worded much more politely than original versions)!]
Now graceless Autumn celebrates spooks,
Consumption’s panic tips harvest scales;
Wraps coin-rust up as quick-fix gifts,
Sets drawn-out guys to pinch penny-strewn trails.
Trite sound-bites choke with bedraggled bows,
While antlered bogeys decked in twinkling lights
Haunt the writhing streets in this rotten-cored town,
Amidst pulp-mashed horrors, spoiling to fight –
Clown clubbing wastrel to seize his cracked crown.
Here corpulent piles of candy-flossed kids
Show-case December’s game-boy blues:
Puppy-fat jowls slurp on silver guilt-spoons,
Then Solstice’s feet blood New Year’s fuse.
How one furious star feeds its fame-famished head,
Blurred vision transfixed by capering Yule:
A torturer sent in a surgeon’s stead,
To scythe down times fouled by tinsel-clad fools.
[South Wales Evening Post: 04/01/20 as PM]
I saw the hoarding, and acted according;
Got ink and quill, my guts to spill;
Within the hour, my brains I'd scoured;
Flighty ideas whizzed 'twixt my ears!
So here’s a poem: it’s no Jeroboam;
A simple, bright, uplifting sight;
Thoughts fleck the air without a care;
Go on, delight, stare! Share with flair!
[South Wales Evening Post: 17/12/19 as PM]
Neverland – enchanted inner realm in homely Swansea coffee salon,
Abounds with comrades belly-fired with inspired poetic mania;
Minds speak unto hearts; soul-prophecy proclaim,
Scabrous ills attack with verse well-wrought, and virtuous:
Illumine ordinary lives, not those of glitterati;
Lambast villainy and hate, dispel wraiths unreal;
Arouse mood deep-down delved; unravel fraught enigma;
Trounce drear nights’ doom with laughter’s lilting light.
[South Wales Evening Post: 28/08/19 as PM; a Double Reverse Acrostic]
How you’d weep, Our Lost Leader, loosing
Bloody tears, if you witnessed this sight –
Country’s heart gone to foreign man;
Nation’s crown to usurping hands;
Fawning folk grubbing favour,
With meek grins, where once sprang men.
[South Wales Evening Post: 24/08/19 as PM]
Wet wind washes Wales:
Awe-wound wishes wails;
Stream-birds gust shoals:
Sorm-bred sea-guest shells;
Cloud-bust wraps sails:
Cold beast warps souls.
Wind, wet wishes wails:
Awe-wound washes Wales;
Birds stream guest shells:
Storm-bred sea-gust shoals;
Bust-cloud warps souls:
Cold beast wraps sails.
Storm-bred birds' stream:
Wishes, wails, washes Wales;
Cold beast cloud-bust:
Shoals guest-shells’ sea-gust;
Awe-wound wet wind:
Wraps sails, warps souls.
Wet wound wind awe:
Souls warps, sails wraps;
Guest shoals' sea-gust shells;
Wales wishes, washes, wails.
[South Wales Evening Post: 09/08/19 as PM]
At Ystrad Fflur the leafy trees
In gentle breezes murmur;
And abbots twelve ‘neath gravel scree
In peace and quiet slumber.
And there below the sombre yew
Sleeps Dafydd, sweet-tongued rhyme-wright,
With legion chiefs, keen sword-blades true,
In grave’s unceasing twilight.
[South Wales Evening Post: 28/06/19 as PM]
O glum fair chair, thou lurkest there,
Battered, dusty, worn with care,
Base door-prop now, where thou'st been thrown–
O would thy maker had this known,
He’d not have crafted thee so sweet,
But built a rougher, sturdy seat,
More suited to a clumsy job –
Thy relegation makes me sob.
Dismissed to corner, out of sight,
One wonders if thou ever might
Be used for function elemental –
Providing comfort, fundamental?
[South Wales Evening Post: 21/08/18 as PM]
Talisman: tight-hidden magic jewel bright,
Awash with poetry’s soul-nourished manna,
Lends mid-week evenings fresh galvanizing zeal,
Incites assorted word-rich bards to verbal origami;
Story, verse, flash-prose, rhymed rant amass
Mimetic images, with art weave pulsing stream,
Aflame with passion’s pure, intense aurora;
Night-star spawned – heralding creative dawn.
[South Wales Evening Post: 26/06/19 as PM; a Double Acrostic]
Yet-again, zero-summed –
[South Wales Evening Post: 13/12/20 as PM]
O great Metropolis, thou slumb’rest still,
Recumbent ‘neath foul engines’ foggy haze,
Which snakes reptilian ‘midst thine ancient maze,
Homage pollutant to industrial will!
From dreaming academe’s diploma-mills,
To chapel-pews, ghost-filled from bygone days,
A broken-hearted spirit, wan and grey,
Force-feeds frail world with wormwood-laden pills,
While bankers’-merchants, gilded with their loot,
Do cardboard-city-dwellers trample down,
Their craven faces crushed by well-heeled boots;
Then cracks the brittle heart of doleful town,
The parchment of its hist’ry burned to soot –
A maudlin sight – as life drags poet down.
[South Wales Evening Post: 04/12/18 as PM]
Moon’s illumination murmurs madness,
Lithe lunar light laps reservoirs of life,
Beams bear deathly dreams to shadow singers,
Transforming time’s illusions through the night.
Map of life unfolds upon wild waters
In unknown cosmic spaces of the mind,
Where secrets and desires hide their faces,
Retreating always partway out of sight.
[South Wales Evening Post: 31/10/19 as PM]
I am – sight house!
Finger-pointing, lonely, waiting;
You are – white house!
Shipwreck saving, cloud impaling;
This is – bright house!
Death-blight -- am I,
So – take care!
[South Wales Evening Post: 24/09/18 as PM]
I'm a Psychic Karma-naut,
Spread my Chakras on Tao table:
Arcane Tarot tempts the future;
Casting I Ching I'm not able.
My Archetype's The Lobster,
I've got Chiron in Uranus;
Aloe Vera's quite some Potion,
I've a Spirit Guide named Janus.
Crazed Inner Elves enchant my Dreams,
Unconscious Mushrooms spawning;
Guardian Angel hymning Mantras,
Almost snaps her Halo, scolding!
Mystic Stars bestow their Blessings,
Moon-clad Antics chill my bones;
There's rare Magic in Qi-Chanting --
Don't Unbalance my Hot Stones!
[South Wales Evening Post: 06/09/18 as PM]
“This week, sweet flowing sonnet shall you make,
Whose ease with log off-falling is compared;
Great flights of wit this happy work might take,
You’d better gird your loins and be prepared.”
Another week; and yet another task,
How many more, forsooth I cannot say;
“Will it be over soon?”, pleading, I ask,
Too mindful of the course-fees I did pay.
I sit and scribble, pencil grinding down,
But words escape me, I begin to frown;
I want to finish – then off into town;
But in poetic treacle, I do drown!
Oh, damn this writing lark; no more care I,
But sit, insights awaiting, from on high.
[South Wales Evening Post: 04/09/18]
To Oystermouth I flew today,
Two posies on graves twain to lay,
Where sleep those dear, who've slipped from us;
I prayed I wouldn't have to cuss
That yet again for umpteenth time
I'd been the victim of rude crime;
But in the precincts, on both plots,
No bloom-filled urns sat on their spots!
Where had they vanished? Had the dead
Crept forth to pilfer, and then fled
Back to oblivion? I think not:
But rather that live fingers, hot
For spoils had filched what once kept my heart --
To stab it through with thorn-barbed darts.
[South Wales Evening Post: 22/08/18 as PM]
Bayonet-bevelled bronze bonce,
But boistrously buxom,
Briskly banishing belly-ached
Beset by bombastic beats,
Belched beast-breath buzzes,
Bifurcating biological brawn.
Bonsoir buster! Blank-ballads’
Bluster beckons broken
Brother, benignly, bottom-ward-bent!
[South Wales Evening Post: 10/08/18 as PM; Inspired by Oloff de Wet's sculpture of Dylan Thomas which was re-unveiled on the 50th anniversary of the poet's death; See Guardian Online (Monday 20 October 2003) "Unique Dylan Thomas Bust Found". URL: http://bit.ly/dylanthomasbust (Accessed 02/04/2021)]
Fine downy fluff enfouled,
And tar-pocked hollows holed,
– becomes –
Now shattered quill, that
A thick, sick portrait,
Besmirching salty glass.
[South Wales Evening Post: 13/07/18 as PM]
Some malign educators their kids maltreat,
Aligned to statisticians’ sullen beat.
It’s fine to goad them till the bell-ring final,
To mine their hidden depths – o all hormonal,
Teen-agers whinge and moan at the proposal
That shining in exams is youth’s sole goal,
And educating’s such a crucial role.
[South Wales Evening Post: 05/07/18 as PM]
On your pure cheek the morning dew
Made silver drops, Oh poppy red;
And June’s sun golden liquor strew
From morn to eve on brimming head.
Amidst your myriad brethren you
Did dance with joy on grass spread green;
In silken robe with flame-red hue,
As in your fair clan’s homeland seen.
But came a ruthless hand from Hell,
From your safe place tore you away;
Now chased by dawn abroad you fell,
To colour soil with bloody spray.
[South Wales Evening Post: 09/11/19 as PM]
I used to think plain rubber bands were grand,
None more than stalwart posties' thick tan brand,
Great stationery tools, if somewhat bland;
But now, I'm stretched to take a different stand!
For when about the town my spy-glass scanned,
The scene my elastic spirit quite un-manned:
From Kilvey to Mumbles -- those stretchy rings expand!
Behind the Castle, sauntering down the Strand,
Or near some rock-pool, delving in the sand,
By whooshing spools of rubber you'll be fanned,
Taut Jacks that in tin boxes once lay canned --
Pinged forth by wand'ring devils' sling-shot hand,
Escaping brimstone furnace where they're tanned,
To litter-sprinkling driven -- by some rogue gland?
Such thoughtless splurge of latex blights our land:
Much worse it could not be if council-planned.
So stop this twangy practice! Rubber-bandification should be panned!
[South Wales Evening Post: 25/05/18 as PM]
Fine thoughts without strong rhyme just lack that chime
To heaven's heights such verses fail to climb
No doubt they hail from quite a different clime
Forgiving of vile lingualistic crime
That boils fresh words’ worth down to but a dime
Which lies deep-mired in journalistic grime
About to drop of scurvy save for lime
Doled out by slack-mouthed artists who then mime
The saving rites, although well past their time
All lathered up with speech-encumbered slime
That stinks of garlic, rosemary, and thyme
Proclaiming blank verse, now, has reached its prime!
[South Wales Evening Post: 30/06/18 as PM]