Paul Steffan Jones 1st


 

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Category: Poetry

The War on Terror AD 493


By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2022-11-21

(For Owain Ddantgwyn

our Owen of the white tooth

in battle a bear 

Arth/Ursus/Arthursus/Arthur

to his family a comfort

to his kingdom

a worthy leader

warlike as the age demands) 

so meet me at the forum

in old Viroconium city 

that vacated shell we fitted 

like a glove of mail 

of might 

of shade of light

those men of Rome left in a hurry

and tonight we can have our fill

from their amphora

so have a glass with me

a toast for declining empires

in the morning we will sharpen 

our minds and our blade edges

ready for the latest wave of pagan invaders 

to imprint the sand of our beaches

with such heavy footfall 

and cruel design

we will meet them at the heights of Badon

and claim a hopeful victory

split wrong heads asunder 

in a war that we will ultimately lose

and which will be forgotten 

as those who will subjugate us

in turn will kneel in obedience 

and kiss the ring of their oppressor

leaving us to be onlookers

in our own isle

sulky in our ale

liminal 

in the far margins

the unforgiving terrain 

where seed fails to shine

in the harshness of our tears’ rain

not knowing that scant numbers

of dreamers and word launchers 

will meditate on our time

in their leaderless day

believing as we did 

that they are near to the end of all time

Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

Warm Heart


By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2022-10-02

The faded good looks of middle Wales
a well worn many coloured coat
its towns still insisting 
on breaking through the crust
of drying up commerce
and the slight of bypassing 

windows open to keep cool
but instead invite a new climate
bringing neighbours closer
and flies that hit the double glazing
dazed and bruised 

the gigantic escarpments 
hill fort patterns and holy rocks
abandoned homes revealed
in retreating defeated waters
those shy river sources

ospreys and others
vulnerable but splendid
choose this wilderness 
to regroup and to return
to pick our shamed bones

their shadows on hot plate roofs 
there are health warnings 
and burning buildings 
a sign of these times
these warning signs

Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

Y Dieithriaid/The Strangers


By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2022-06-20

A kitchen table

1953

its wood surface lined by

the scratching and scraping

of five thousand meals

gravitated around by people I haven’t met 

save through the study of dry documents 

lichen edited inscriptions 

and reverential anecdotes 

they’re gathering as if for an important event

in the calendar of living 

I’m kind of hovering like I did in real life

trying to listen in to the language of condolence 

the wording of commemoration 

the patois of those well known to one another 

the music of best china

touching
 

my 12 year old mother is here

with the other females

permitted at the house

to help with refreshments

and friendships 

but not at the open grave

she will grow into a Bardot

of the school bus

the chapel pews

the perambulating lanes

the first job 

until marriage and me will alter 

that possibility 

that destination 

a member of the branch

of the suicide sister in law

is among the mourners 

death grief thief of time

but healer of familial discomfort 

at the chapel in the forest

among the crabbed literature of wreaths 

one dedication reads

from all at Police House L-V-

32 miles and a half century away 

from the great uncle of the deceased

who had ridden from those walls

to collar the lawless of his day

from the first day of that county’s constabulary

these were the days of the start

of our separation from our beginning

our unravelling 

when we forgot so much 

of what we were and what was us

our relatives and their dwelling places

the reason for our being 

a time too when we became unfamiliar 

with horses 

their aroma

their voices

their muscularity 

their fidelity 

when we became a little less human

a little less animal

Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

Indentations


By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2022-06-13

Eyes closed to the sound 

of a breeze combing fir trees

reminds him of the curtain border 

of that cemetery 

hypnotic historic 

ultimately soporific 

a misspelt dedication 

next to where he left his parents

his grandparents 

the dear ones snug in the clay

returned to the earth

on the edge of that village

that gave him his scars

the shed tears

they all left only to come back

the sadness not interred

not boxed

but marks on their existence 

decades of indentations 

runes they couldn’t decipher 

though fingertips unthinkingly 

traced them in the quieter seconds

between the pressures

a new face gets a new face

that he will learn to wear with pride

his split cheek beneath a bonnet in a pram

a spider’s web of darning in skin

a stitch in time that saved him 

from being bled dry like a wounded bird

in a winter whiteness impasse

and quietened his parents’ guilt
 

that boy from Cwmcou

with its free flowing sparkle Ceri

a branch to the Teifi tree of life

a tributary sacrifice 

that took the boy from Cwmcou

but not Cwmcou from the boy

carry me away 

carry me away 

bring me home

I want to go home

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Prime Suspect


By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2022-04-27

Our fibber whose art is craven

furloughed be thy fame

thy Brexit done

broke times to come

in Neath as it is in Devon

give us this day our daily dread

and forgive us our trust issues 

as we forgive them that are classist against us 

and lead us not into inflation 

but deliver us from shortage 

for thine is the kidding

the poorer and the gory

together or severed

Amen

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Laws and Those Who Make Them


By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2022-04-24

Our felon who has paid his fine

allowed is thy shame

the playing dumb

your japes undone

unearth untruths so uneven

give us this day your daily lie

and forgive us our press passes

as we forgive those that press pass against us

and lead us not into Trump nation

but deliver us from Priti

for thine is the comedown 

the sour and the sorry

never so clever

amen

Posted in: Poetry | 2 comments

Where Did I Put My Country?


By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2022-04-11

Jimmy Jangles would have liked 

to have been a highly-decorated warrior

relaxing in a highly-decorated lounge

but this was not to be

instead he obsesses over his fetish

for Dalek-like killing machines

and how he is obliged to hand over

money to bankroll violent regimes 

he doesn’t support 

by governments

he did not help elect

he tries not to get too hung up about about demarcation 

he has a door a gate a fence 

a scripture of passwords

and a clear understanding of where his personal space ends

he admits that he has at times fallen foul of the Trades Description Act 

existing on a small island 

in the middle of a tarn of sodium hypochlorite 

just like in the legends

afraid to venture out because of the risk of corrosion of his disambulation

he deplores TV programmes like Britain’s Got Talent

the exaggerated melodrama of slightly delaying the announcement 

of which hopefuls have been voted in or out of this week’s show

that pantomime pause 

a menopause 

by the men of pause

perhaps it could be improved by replacing it

with a different format such as

Britain’s Got Tory Parties

Britain’s Got Tax Avoiding Superstars

or at a push Britain’s Got Tommy Robinson

these would be much more sincere and entertaining 

especially if the same selection method is used

closer to the current democratic process than he could ever imagine

television as the new Tower of Babel 

that moved like a demented crab

into boxes then flat screens 

and into our gibberish conversations


he buys gin goblets from a budget foreign supermarket 

and is enchanted by the bell sound they make 

when brought together in a gentle semi pendular action 

he fills them up

throws in some handy botanicals

like consuming a boozy salad from a globe 

representing a swirling world without continents

it’s nearly Christmas though it has in effect been since the last one

for the last four decades or so

at least he can forget for a short while 

that many worthy companies 

feel motivated to make modern slavery statements

each Thursday he attends a workshop for those debilitated 

by post traumatic retail stress disorder

the hours in shops waiting 

his hands glued to his pockets

ignoring the signs 

the smells 

the sounds

the eyes

unnerved by showroom dummies 

sometimes feeling that they could be moving 

when just out of sight

some of them appearing to have been posed 

grotesquely in unrealistic human biological positions

still it beats working

although it is in its way a form of occupation

another usage of jangling useless time

in the name of the market 

in an age of continuous austerity 

when he gets the shakes he closes his eyes 

until he is taken far from where he is

back to the early 1960s

the bars of a cot surround him

the first feeling of imprisonment

of containment 

of being too safe

he's sleepy in this place too

riggings of snow grace the corners of a sash window

a draught making him shudder with cold

his first encounter with winter 

though he doesn't yet know what it is

and what it can do

his unseen mother sings quietly to him

something old

something of that location 

before the rest of the world 

and its non stop jukebox

would roar into the family life

he gardens industriously and ironically 

now that the UN has given the soil sixty years 

he could cry and allow his tears to water his parcel of land 

at least he'll be long in the ground by then

but he feels for the kids 

the birds the beasts 

the fish the insects 

the trees the flowers the forests

the wind the sea the streams 

the rivers the lakes 

the lovers and the possibilities

this morning his web photo provider sent Jimmy an image 

to remind him of this date one year ago 

a shot of an area of dampness on a ceiling

the reminiscing of an algorithm 

the inhumanity of technology 

there's no contest

even if the robots will take over as it appears they will

he chuckles and recalls the word clusterfuck 

that crops up in his news feed rather often these days

tonight he waits for a meteorite shower to arrive 

he knows this is an honour but he's a little impatient 

fretting that he's looking at the wrong patch of sky 

he need not worry for this has been done before 

and is still a thing of wonder

Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

Llantood


By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2022-02-23

Scaffolding around an old church

in scant countryside 

a skeleton encasing lungs and a heart

that pulsate more weakly now

at the wrong end of a millennium 

of belief and taxation 

birdsong and evensong

are rarities nowadays 

so a disembodied choir

of barbed wire

and its round hollow metal posts

murmurs low

to a congregation of livestock
 

a crew of crows guffaws

for they know all about

worms that abound

the marvellous underground 

its secrets to keep

kiss me quick 

kiss me dead

Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

A New Beginning


By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2021-12-28

I have not yet found God

nor has He found me

on another winter’s solstice

but it’s a new day

one that has never been before 

so it’s going to be alright

the mounting illumination of its early morning

a sky going through the shades of blue

then pinks and reds

there’s a ghost on my lawn

a ghost of dawn

maybe it’s only there 

before anyone looks that way

before the stillness is scared off

by the yapping of excitable dogs

as I wait to be enveloped

by a fog of unconsciousness 

waiting for no reason

that’s worth knowing 

waiting for me 

to wake up

to make up 

to shake up

and when I have done so

meet me at Durrington Walls

where we’ll raise a glass of fortitude 

distilled from the bitter fruit of native trees

in the new Neolithic new towns

retreat into the light we have created 

until the sun promises to linger once more

I guess that’s winter for you 

look to the future now 

it’s only just begun 

(Slade 1973)

Posted in: Poetry | 2 comments

Robbed Banks of Rural Towns


By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2021-12-12

I used my lunch hour to eat lunch

I went on breaks in order not to break

on Bank Holidays I holidayed

in abandoned banks

and slept safe in their safes

I am neither anti vax nor anti mask

but I have my suspicions 

I was not a girl

neither am I non binary

I object to having to pay

to withdraw my money at an ATM

and getting a do not reply email

there was a wondrous sunset yesterday 

people felt compelled to share 

images of it on social media 

I saw it too albeit from the corner of an eye

and am sorry that I passed up that chance

I abhor racists but am uncomfortable 

about residing in a fragile country

where nearly everyone appears

to be a stranger and new names

join the lexicon of living here

in this xenophobic kingdom 

it’s getting hard to remember 

so why bother trying?

how much of memory is incorrect 

to such an extent that is

a fanciful falsehood?

in a nation of controversial statues

it might be an idea to render them

eventually anonymous 

it wouldn’t work for the first few months 

but our bruised attention span

and the conveyor belt of distraction 

would soon make us warm to these 

handsome and interesting strangers 

poised on their magnificent plinths

as though they are contemplating 

jumping into our world

Posted in: Poetry | 1 comments
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