Paul Steffan Jones 1st


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Category: Poetry

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

1961 and a bit

By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2021-10-31

As the light dwindles again

and I am returned to that winter

my baby face a horror show

of scar and NHS stitches

I spy a large spider on a Lino floor

my mother christens the arachnid 

pida pw

syllables I can almost parrot 

the invented dialogue of infancy

delightful dictionary-free words 

that bubble and exist only 

in a certain time place and feeling 

the music of the mother tongue 

my boy imagination 

in Yuri Gagarin’s shed

cosmonaut caught 

in dawning thought confusion 

my reverie when sleep

was blessed and not timetabled

foetus as astronaut 

tethered in the helmeted womb

every amazing event

each star show has its mundane side

something so down to earth

we can’t escape 

no matter how high we climb

Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

Theatre of The Ordinary

By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2021-08-19

(Curriculum vitae)

he cuts the lawns of an empty property 

the cable of the mower in his hands

is the microphone lead of a famous crooner

on a 1970s television light entertainment show

cracking the whip on kitten backing singers

what will the neighbours think

in their own private theatres?

in the evening when it is more seemly

he pours two glasses of rosé wine

equally mainly by sound 

and during subsequent replenishment 

he thinks he can hear the chorus

of the hymn mae’r Iesu yn geidwad i mi 

(Jesus is my saviour)

in the meeting of drink and glass

the music that follows work’s end

in vino veritas or so it is said

Posted in: Poetry | 1 comments

Not Welsh Not

By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2021-07-18

This is not a Welsh Not

but a Welsh is and always will be

raving over higgledy piggledy slates

with fingernails of demons scraping

screeching out a lost non rock and roll

and not a low flying bomber

in sight or sound

tipsy on communion wine 

and a quick fumble

in the ecumenical jungle

dog tired dog collars loosen

to a beat of life lived

and not analysed

not a sermon planned

nor an afterlife awaited

submerge into sublime harps

inherited from the elders

never understand 

but defined as Corvid


avoid their Larsen traps

and their booby traps

with our Weapons of Non Destruction 

Peter Hurkos a Dutch psychic

and y Mab Darogan

(the Son of Destiny)

and how about a little of Twm o’r Nant

or David R Edwards ?

we have become strange bedfellows 

but at least it is touching

I am not the National Poet

and I know it

I know my place

but not where to find it

we are all the National Poet

but don’t know it

we don’t know our place

nor where to find it

this is not a Welsh Not

a Welsh Not not

not Welsh not

I am not a Welsh Not

Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

Square Mile

By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2021-06-28

Nothing to see

not much here just a disarray of stone 

and multi coloured corrugated iron

splashes of spilt paint among

the day to day ordinary rust

it is our land where we always were

out of the way but easily found

when loot and recruits were demanded

(Geraint Jarman sang of Ethiopia Newydd 

but where is that now?)

it's a Sunday afternoon 

a half century ago

at the home of a relative

who was already old then

they treat me well

dose me up on sugar lumps

and familial kindness

it's sunny and dream-like

and fruit fattens on slender branches

but they failed to warn me 

about the rising wind and sea levels

about the idea of a future

and how sweetness flatters then corrodes 

and that thorns never really leave your skin

Posted in: Poetry | 1 comments

Replacement or You've Been Farmed

By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2021-05-16

He'd never heard of replacement theory

but he was still sitting there

cowled in a no good hoodie

a cheap light grey like his complexion 

he who used to receive final demands

by lowering a bucket from an upstairs window

unhinged by losing the family farm

to irresistible forces

to inevitability 

those were the days

narrow old men trying to get the most

out of their narrow old tractors 

slim and puny workhorses 

when compared to the monsters

that superseded them

but still running on an idea

of efficiency through regular oiling

the treadmill of inheritance

the hoped-for success of repetition 

their pinched sunned faces

squint at the diminishing returns

their loosening holdings

with sloping ploughed fields

whose pious furrows end in

mists that could conceal sea 

sky a rainbow’s terminus

or Gawain’s green chapel

he won't budge until the undertaker

is booked and his pockets gone through

loss adjusted to nought

a vacated shell colonised 

by curious new creatures 

a beast among other beasts

brittle flinty had

Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

Names on Lanes No One Knows Now

By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2021-04-16

On his laden career bicycle

Johnny Onions or Sioni Winwns

meets paramours and cousins 

the names the lives of names

the routes of commerce

way from Armorica to corner Cymru

an unnamed lorry driver

flat cap trim moustache

hooded eyes 1956

registration number PO 5384

brake lights brighten pre dawn hedgerows

in the squeal of stopping

on a stretch where the farm is unseen 

he carefully steers metal milk churns 

from the concrete stand

to the flatbed of his vehicle 

replacing them with empties 

the mornings will lighten then darken

then back again for this employee 

dependable essential anonymous 

on leaving these lanes forever or so

our Emrys as Ambrose as Ambrosius

us as Arthur yr arth the bear

is he with Glyndwr awaiting the perfect dawn?

I don't know but sometimes pretend I do

to conceal my plastic bag full of fault lines

I don't happen I don't occur I don't figure

I a mere carrier of bags

a haunter of yesterday's hedges

nearly everything’s changed 

but the grass still grows

in places it should and should not

and the land that sustains it is unmoved

I walk away from away 

I thought I recognised you 

but I was someone else

Posted in: Poetry | 1 comments

Career Opportunities

By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2021-03-16

So what if he'd won big on X Tractor

that night with the other grinning hopefuls

of the combined Young Farmers of his county

but fame and its fickle flame didn't burn long

with the fattening catalogue of demise

and enough freshly signed death certificates

to fill a library of uncomfortable learning 

he should have been sated

busier than ever with 

the practiced condolences

the pressing of the flesh

and the liaising with 

the dependables of the funerary industry

despite this unexpected windfall

Tomb Jones was restless

seeing no end to a career 

of infinite possibility and beginning 

to despair even as his ISA multiplied

he spoke granite rather than Italian marble

and his wife complained that he was not urbane

enough for this stage of their union

fretting that she had not succeeded 

in niggling and nibbling away

all the burrs and bumps that constituted him

as ever he completely misheard her

confusing "urbane" with "urban" and snorting

"of course not dear we live down a farm track!"

he who had thought that Cinzano Bianco 

was somehow linked to that stranger Quixote 

hamboned enough to charge at a windmill

but when the day was over

the battered container of gossip emptied

and Death and his wife put to bed

his thoughts turned to a change of career

a new dawn a higher calling

on the reverse of a large used envelope 

propped up by the lectern of his pyjamed thighs

he began to draw the outlines of a combine harvester

sketching the insignia of the Red Cross on its flanks

and pencilled in military grade syringe-cannon

that could fire small darts of vaccine 

accurately into the unsuspecting arms

of anyone within a hundred yards 

doing away with the need for any sort

of organisation other than a simple timetable

and allowing thousands of health workers

to return to their wards to relieve their colleagues 

whilst ensuring that everyone was vaccinated

whether they wish it or not

he fell asleep satisfied that if he put his mind to it

he could harness his agrarian past

to a bright pharmaceutical tomorrow

and help broker a sort of medicated peace

a freedom that no one would suspect existed

Posted in: Poetry | 1 comments

The Itch and The Scratch

By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2021-02-20

Had a bit to drink so I began to think

what had happened to my ancestors

what is happening what has happened 

and is likely to happen to me

the right to protect the half memory of half lives

to live and earn a living among one's own kind

to put a brake on the creeping amnesia

that separates us from who we are

who we are from who we were

and where we came from in the longer view

newly arrived faces discovered our legends

animated as though they had known them all their lives

and not told by their mothers as we had been

in places our grandparents sold them

 in which we used to play used to laugh

used to love used to dream used to remember

but they are not afflicted by the itch that resulted

nor the scratching that persisted into

the fantasy of growing up

I await analysts to tell me where I have been going wrong

pathologists to reveal my causes

and detectorists to definitively pinpoint me

Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

Castellate Me

By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2021-02-14

They said "high" but how high

turned out high enough to keep out

the locals the subdued other types

sufficiently lofty to conceal the life

of the enemy and too tall for us

to peer over even with the aid of a leg up

the despised and the besieged

the attacked and the defended

the architecture of oppression blotting out

the horizon and eclipsing the sun and moon

the domination still tacit at times

we sullenly embattled our invaders 

with haircuts language and time 

until they were redeployed to another outpost

another link in the chain mail empire 

the arrow slits squint

the curtain walls loom

like a citadel of giants' tombstones

a reminder of tumultuous centuries 

now muted and disarmed

recalled in the names of streets

residences and the sides of vans

Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments
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