Forum Activity for @americymru

02/12/19 06:05:21PM
112 posts

The Fortune by Amy DeMatt

West Coast Eisteddfod Online Short Story Competition 2018

The tiny scrap of paper just caught his eye as he walked down the street with his eyes downcast. It only caught his eye because of the color, gold foil with black lettering. It was a shred, really, and he wasn’t even sure why it stood out to him. It had to have been the glint from a headlight hitting it, as the gray sky was casting dark shadows on the normally sunlit street, unusual in San Francisco. In any event, it stood out, and when he picked it up, he saw that part of it had been ripped off.

It was a fortune, the kind that comes folded into those small and crisp fortune cookies that come with fresh, sliced oranges at a Chinese restaurant. He could imagine the bright, fat orange that must have accompanied it, and he judged by the heavy gold foil that the restaurant meal itself must have been rich and extravagant. It seemed exotic and rare. He wondered who the original recipient of the fortune had been, and whether he was also a fateful recipient by virtue of seeing it from the corner of his eye and feeling compelled to pick it up.

He picked it up and flattened it. It read “You will make good choices,” no period. What followed that phrase could only be guessed, as the rest of the strip was torn off. He stuffed the tiny fortune in his pocket. He was not usually one for paying much attention to fortunes. However, today he would set off for a tour in the Pacific, and who knew what the future would hold or whether the fortune was some sort of harbinger for his trip. He had been in the Navy for only two years. He had a sweetheart at home. He’d proposed to her a year ago, but the marriage was not to be. His sweetheart’s mother had forbidden the marriage “until he finished his tour.” She was afraid he would be killed. He remembered how disappointed he’d been to tuck his carefully selected ring back into its little red velvet box. His sheepish smile had remained plastered to his face. He was unable to come up with another expression that made sense. Anger? It seemed inappropriate to the occasion. Hurt? He would never sport such an expression, even if he’d felt it. He felt mostly bewilderment at the fact that his girlfriend’s mother could be so brazen about his chances of returning to the States alive. She treated him as though he had enlisted in the Navy just for spite.

His mind wandered to the moment that he’d decided to propose. Had that been a good choice? He wasn’t even sure. No one had ever contemplated the possibility that he might meet an attractive girl in his travels. In fact, he’d seen quite a few, particularly during his time in Hawaii. Girls on the island were exotic, beguiling, but he’d stayed true. He imagined his sweetheart now. She was three years his junior, but her face still had the cherubic cheeks of a child. Her eyes had brimmed with tears when she’d pressed the engagement ring back into his hands. She never would have had the courage to go against the wishes of her parents, though. If only she’d received the fortune, it might have been enough to cause her to think more deeply about the wishes of her own heart. He didn’t blame her. She was raised not to think too deeply. During the tough times of his first year, he’d resolved to make sure that he’d return home alive. An internal fire fed by resentment had caused him to outperform many of the other men, and he had already been told that he was progressing well, his chances for advancement, good.

As he walked, large raindrops began to fall, pelting the sidewalks and turning the streets dark. He had a few dollars in his pocket, and had planned to buy cigarettes, but as he crumpled the tiny fortune in his pocket, he couldn’t bring himself to make the purchase. It didn’t seem like a good choice. Instead, he ended up ducking into a book store, where he had enough money for some stamps for writing home, and some Pep-O-Mint LifeSavers. He also bought two of the extra-large, chunky chocolate bars, the kind with raisins and nuts. That was an indulgence, not as valuable as cigarettes for trading and bartering, but novel and satisfying when Navy slop got old. Besides, his partner had a soft spot for this kind of chocolate bar. His partner, Jim, used to get them in the mail from his sister. He’d seen Jim, who usually swallowed dinner without chewing, savor these chunky chocolate bars almost as much as he did a letter from home. He would surprise Jim with them, and one night they could eat them together as an after-dinner treat.

He and Jim had been put together as partners early on. All Navy men had partners, for safety reasons. He’d never have guessed that they would get along. He, himself, was generally quiet or brooding, and Jim was known for his love of drinking, girls and boisterousness. Perhaps it was their opposing personalities that made them a good pair. Jim was always cutting up, imitating the captain’s nervous habit of twirling his mustache behind the captain’s back and playing jokes on the other men. Once Jim had found a baby rat on the ship, and instead of killing it, had created a tiny nest for it in an old cigar box. The other men had taken a liking to the baby rat, named him, and saved scraps for him as he grew. They taught the rat to stand on his hind legs and to walk in a circle. It had lightened the mood for some time when the seas were gray, monotonous and depressing.

There were only a few hours until it would be time to board. He had agreed to meet up with Jim and a few of the other men to catch a movie just before they departed. They’d watched the movie, a comedy, just the kind of movie that a guy wanted to see knowing that the next several months would be gray and mirthless. He could see that Jim had already tied a few on. Jim had pulled out a flask from his jacket and taken a few swigs, and he had the contented face that he usually had when he was approaching drunkenness. He reached for his pocket and briefly contemplated pressing the fortune into Jim’s hand. Jim’s habit of drinking had become more frequent the longer they were away from home. He knew Jim should lay off. They’d be leaving for their tour soon, Jim could sleep it off, and dry out for a while.

A glance at his watch told him it was time to go. The men humped it back to the ship, packages and contraband bulging from their pockets. The sky was more foreboding now, not a good sign for a crew that had an ocean voyage ahead of them. Already orders were being barked at the men, and they were attending to duties. The giant ship held over 200 men. It was gray and imposing. It stopped for nothing. Robert saw men scrambling down the stairs, men fiddling with controls and men carefully logging information in books. The shore was rapidly receding behind them.

He estimated that they’d been in the water only for about forty minutes or so and he still hadn’t found Jim. Partners were supposed to keep an eye out for one another. He’d seen Jim board the ship and unsling his large, soft pack into the tiny beds into which the men had been packed like sardines. The ship was pitching. Even with as large as the ship was, it was as though you could still feel the pitching of the rough sea under it. He saw Jim leaning over the ship’s railing. The railing was gray, like the sea, like the sky, and he could barely make it out but for Jim’s crumpled form hunched over it. He was sick. His lips became a tight line, like a parent who sees a child doing something self-destructive. He was satisfied to see that Jim was learning a lesson. It was hard to watch someone suffer, but on the other hand, at least Jim would have an unpleasant memory of getting drunk. He looked away. He’d always found seasickness to be somewhat revolting.

He looked back and expected to see Jim gasping for air. Instead, he saw that the deck was empty. He walked slowly toward it. Jim had not walked away. The wind picked up, and cold air began to whip around his shoulders. He just wanted to be in his cabin, unpacking and getting situated for a long tour of duty. He scanned the sea all the way to the horizon. He then saw it: something bobbed up out of the water. He felt a cold shiver up his spine. The thing bobbed up and down in the water raucously, then he saw more motion. He squinted, willing himself to see something other than what his fears suggested. Before he could consciously understand, he recognized that it was Jim. He must have slipped through the railing during one of the pitches, or he must have leaned too far over the railing. Now he was in the water, a speck, and not likely to last long in his state of drunkenness. The Navy had trained him in reacting quickly. He began shouting and running wildly, yelling to stop the ship. He fought his way through men, breathless, until he finally identified the captain.

Before he could ask the question, he knew the answer. The ship would not stop. There were over 200 men on the ship. If a man went overboard, it was nothing but his own carelessness that was to blame. Only stupid, careless sailors went overboard. One of the first lessons to be learned on a large ship was that the lull was dangerous, and that one must always be on guard not to relax into a state of carelessness. That, in fact, had been the reason that the Navy assigned partners. Men were too irresponsible. It was inevitable that someone would do something foolish, and it was the partner’s job to minimize or prevent the harm. It had only been because he had not been by Jim’s side that Jim had plunged into the water. Beads of sweat began to form on Robert’s hands, and he felt his face drain of blood. He felt nauseous himself. Then the world went black.

When he came to, he was wet and cold and sitting in a tiny dinghy. He was confused. He did not know the people he was with. He recognized Jim, who was wrapped in a woolen blanket. His skin had taken on a blueish tone and he was shivering. The others told him what had happened. He’d seen his friend slip off the ship, and in a fit, plunged into the water in an effort to save him. He’d done this, and now he and Jim were being rescued, sent back to San Franciso to recover and await whatever punishment or reward the Navy might bestow. As the story was relayed, he recovered a memory of feeling afraid. He’d not been afraid of plunging into the water, rather, he was afraid of what it would mean if the big Navy ship kept moving on, not turning around. If the captain did nothing, the world was cold and unfeeling, but if he did nothing, he was worse: a traitor to his partner, who’d trusted him. He’d made a choice, one that he thought was good, at least under the circumstances.

Now he was unsure about what the future held. It would take time to get back to shore. He was cold and hungry. He was told he and Jim had been in the water for hours. When he closed his eyes, his memory again returned. Large black waves that broke over his shoulders. He knew enough to dive when they came, but he’d sucked great lungsful of air, so quickly that it had hurt to take breaths. He remembered kicking until his legs burned with lack of oxygen, and hauling Jim’s head out of the water, paddling and counting breaths, thinking that they would both die soon. But they had not. Strangely, he could only remember his fear and then waking up again.

His companions on the dinghy had retrieved the two chocolate bars, and they now read hunger in his face, and pointed to the bars. He smiled, and kicked one towards Jim, who was smiling groggily. He opened the silver wrapper. Nothing ever looked so good. He had to slow himself down, or he’d choke. Raisins, peanuts and thick, dark chocolate filled his throat and he closed his eyes. He thought of the time—hours ago? days?—when he’d made the purchase before leaving for the tour of duty. He saw Jim’s face and Jim took a great bite of his bar. He didn’t savor it but chomped down on it hungrily. He was glad he hadn’t chosen cigarettes, which would have been wet and useless when he plunged into the water.

A few more hours until they would reach the shore. That provided ample time to think about what had happened. He couldn’t believe that he’d dove overboard the ship. He remembered the tiny gold fortune he’d seen on his way to boarding, and how it had influenced his choices: how he’d pondered that the fortune had seemed to find him; how he normally would never pick up trash; how he’d decided to do something selfless instead of buying cigarettes to barter with the other men. Finally, almost incomprehensibly, his decision to risk his life to save Jim’s. It all seemed to fall in line with what fate had planned for him that day, and he wondered what other choices lay ahead. Now he was offered a cigarette, and he accepted it. He knew that the little fortune had come to him for a reason. He would go back and marry his sweetheart. He would talk to her and convince her that he wouldn’t wait another five years. He had to make good choices, and if she wanted to leave him, then he wouldn’t be hampered from pursuing other women. His life wouldn’t be on hold, waiting for the safety of proceeding with someone else’s approval.

When they arrived again in San Francisco, he called his sweetheart. His tour of duty was over, he was given an award for his bravery. He’d also been offered an advancement in rank. He’d heaved a sigh of relief, learning about that, having been worried that the Navy would view the risk as foolish and insubordinate. It didn’t seem to matter. Jim was not even disciplined. The Navy must have been relieved not to have to report a death to another family. He and Jim had spoken little about the incident. Jim had been sent to the hospital immediately, to be checked over for general health. He had already been cleared and was therefore determined to call his sweetheart and meet to talk about their future.

He’d located a pay phone, made a call and when he relayed the abridged version of his adventure, his sweetheart had agreed to fly out to San Francisco to meet him. She’d be there in a few hours. He still had an affinity for the city, having ported there so many times. He felt as though the streets were familiar. He intended to meet up at a restaurant. He’d recognized a luxe little Chinese restaurant, with the perfect ambiance for becoming familiar once again. The rooms were dark, and the walls were painted a deep red. Candlelit lanterns adorned the ceilings, and mirrored walls gave the restaurant an exotic, art deco feel. He’d perused the menu.

His sweetheart walked in. She was wearing the same cherubic smile and a sundress that showed her curves and a smile that covered tears of relief. He’d never been so glad to see a face from home. When he flipped through the menu, he recognized what had seemed familiar to him on walking in. There was a leaflet, made of gold foil, with red lettering. The leaflet admonished patrons that they would make good choices “if they ordered off the menu on Thursdays, Half-Price Night!” He was stunned. All this time he’d viewed the “make good choices” phrase as a personal message to him, and it had prompted him to act in specific ways. He’d done things he normally would not have done, only because he’d believed that there was something important for him to take from the fact that he stumbled on the little scrap of paper.

Now he saw that it had only been coincidence. He needn’t have foregone a selfish choice. He’d misconstrued an accident. He’d mistaken for divine intervention what was only a vestige of restaurant marketing. And now, he was about to summon the courage to persuade his sweetheart to defy her mother, only because he was convinced that he’d been ordained to do so. It was stupefying. He’d been so malleable, so acquiescent. She’d seen the look on his face and was asking what was wrong. He told her a white lie—nothing was wrong. The menu seemed to metamorphose. Now it consisted only of letters on a page. Choosing what to eat seemed rather paltry considering his more recent decisions. She looked into his eyes. Really, she wanted to know what was wrong. He decided to tell the truth, he feared that his life up to now had been only acquiescent, and maybe hers was, too. She nodded, and he couldn’t tell whether she understood or not.

The waitress came to their table. She was delicate, demure. She spoke only broken English. She wanted to know what kind of soup they wanted, and whether they were ready to order. She was quiet. She could see that they were involved in a serious conversation. She offered to come back, but he didn’t need time. He ordered number 16, not knowing what it was, and then he returned to weightier decisions. He would ask his sweetheart to marry him, and if she didn’t—well, he’d move on.

updated by @americymru: 02/12/19 06:06:05PM
01/23/19 02:31:56AM
112 posts

No Inflated Cheekiness For This Logophile by Matthew Scott King

West Coast Eisteddfod Online Poetry Competition 2018

I comport myself with quiet pridefulness,
plus intellectual whimsy

aware that "FAKE" pretentiousness,
could be mistaken foreign egotistical vitae
furthering, feathering and figuratively
undermining jestingly,


poetically, and zealously
oozing, gushing, bubbling over
with faux snobbish suave re:

pulse sieve literary fatuous
haughtiness, and ludicrous narcissistic pre

ning all the while chuckling to me


self, and indifferent if
some anonymous browser
with Dutchman's breeches rolled up
upon cresting wave over Zyder Zee

disparages mine harmless
badinage, hence if ye

might qualify as such nitpicker,
who doth cavil - dee

crying wading thru

quagmire of verbiage,
a gentle reply to thee

might be more wise to turn energy


toward, how in many another country

the village people haint so free
spouting, sporting, and spoiling,
vis a vis intellectual sparring
(albeit innocent) black

barbs hatch chee

ving, and raising urgent

attention against he
(who whiz squelching

constitutional rights) re:

pressing, rescinding, reviling,
et cetera access toward key


underpinnings within these fifty
constituent United States
of America beckon alacrity

for obliging citizens across
all points of the compass to alee

v8 his indiscriminate flee
sing, sans bedrock nation could tee
tear on the brink of calamity,
which political plug quite inadequate

to staunch hemorrhaging, viz upending
many a sacred liberty,
and foo to you reprimanding

against any agree

gee us objection to pen about polly lee
ticks and/or religion!


updated by @americymru: 01/23/19 02:32:12AM
01/23/19 02:30:49AM
112 posts

Thaddeus Stevens by Matthew Scott King

West Coast Eisteddfod Online Poetry Competition 2018

Lived from 1792-1868 – pegged as extreme
radical republican born dirt poor

in Vermont where widowed mother oversaw
learning taught via hard knocks forging his

malleable constitution into hard
as nails steely righteousness ore

forged hard as nails democratic dogma with
ironclad reputation hard as rocks


upon matriculating from Dartmouth in settled
in pennsylvania practicing law

establishing safe haven pro bono
for any runaway slave

opposed to attendant miscegenation,
and glaring injustice flaw

inherent in clamped irons where Africans
exempt from freedom til their grave


said statesman credited with legislating
for access to public school

and master patron of fledgling infrastructure
without getting railroad did

applied hefty clout to establish Gettysburg college,

where acceptance the rule

for those without means could witness
creditable end from his fair bid

on the part of those less fortunate,
where fate unkind and cruel.


Standing tall in the saddle against opposition
against additional slave state

wielding great influence during Civil War
supporting Lincoln against confederate

felt stricter legislation in an absolute necessity
south of the border which trait

infuriated southerners whose loathing

for his harsh rhetoric who torched and lit

his Caledonia ironworks inciting fiery fury
stepping up heat from cauldron grate

per conflagration between Union &
Rebel forces until equality writ

coda of revision of arbitrary ignoble borders
with barn storming til late


in his life he drafted Reconstruction
blueprint and aghast at dilution

when Andrew Johnson became
de facto president who court did acquit,

sans impeachment proceedings
seen as offal pollution

whereupon his deathbed he continued
to harangue and pit

gross congressional dissolution

now his cemetery (amongst commoners)
a sacred place to visit.




updated by @americymru: 01/23/19 02:31:02AM
01/23/19 02:29:15AM
112 posts

The Reverend Martin Luther King Junior by Matthew Scott Harris

West Coast Eisteddfod Online Poetry Competition 2018

Two score and eleven years ago come
April fourth, two thousand nineteen

father of civil rights movement the,
Reverend Martin Luther King Junior honored

as benevolent demigod figure to the

oppressed African American population

without whose bold risks and subsequent
assassination April fourth

ninety sixty eight at the hands of a crazed
gunman (James Earl Ray),

wrought empowerment advancing dreams
of slaves recent descendents

allowing, enabling and providing
once attainable aspirations

only bestowed upon the self anointed

masters and early settlers

of the virginal North
American contiguous landmass

yet…generations prior
to this prestigious public personality

Abolitionists pitted themselves against
the institution of slavery

incrementally raising awareness
per the abomination

forced servitude incurred on those shackled

thus setting the stage for this
grandson of A.D. Williams,

a rural parsonage, 
who ministered spiritual support

for the small congregation

(initially only thirteen members)

comprising attendants at Ebenezer Baptist
Church in Atlanta Georgia

setting precedent for freedom
(at risk of life and limb) against scourge of

racial prejudice courtesy
of sharecropper grandparents

whose objection to racial segregation based
on an affront to the will of God

whereby the young

whip smart precocious lad,
(whose impact we now memorialize)

showed his true colorful promise,
when a young student at

Liberal Crozer Theological Seminary

in Chester, Pennsylvania

where the yet uncrowned eminent King
came under the influence

of theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, a classmate
of his father's at Morehouse College

who became a mentor
by exposing his protégée
to liberal views of theology

planting the seeds of ardent
activism that gave rise to

The Southern Christian
Leadership Conference (SCLC)

an initial platform hoisting his status as
thee most articulate orator

spelling binding the listeners
with his soaring metaphors
about his emphatic march

to a promised land where all men/women
could be brothers/sisters

and no person will be judged
by the color of his/her skin

raising morale of many dirt poor ebony
(and lighter skin toned) masses
to feel a glimmer of hope!

updated by @americymru: 01/23/19 02:29:50AM
01/23/19 02:26:47AM
112 posts

Lucubrations Fuels Ebullience by Matthew Scott Harris

West Coast Eisteddfod Online Poetry Competition 2018

Unsolicited, revered, and praised
potential literary fete,
(yes a bit hyperbolic),
sans mine posted poems that perambulate
such feedback, whither donning trumped
("FAKE") facade, Oriel sincere

twittering, nonetheless tis great
for an ego striving to maintain
hum bull modesty, yet I hate
to be misperceived as
arrogant, boastful, pretentious,...wait
et cetera, cuz honestly,

these conglomerations create,
themselves, via some inexplicable
literary process which generate

prestidigitation soon after
affixing wired thinking cap,
whereby positioned electrodes exfoliate

on scalp yup thence, off miniature oblate
spheroid (suddenly barren) of golden locks
most soup Priam wantonly depilate
(envision candidate
undergoing biofeedback,
or...captured as bait)

by...yea (of course) alien invaders curious

to experiment, and subject a random pate
with out of this world tests that agitate
most precious anatomical accouterment
'bout size of average poe tate
toe (actually...almost same consistency)

okay...sorry, this chap doth relate
such comparison to
his own cerebral aggregate,
where he starkly realizes
neurological concentrate
takes a permanent vacation

to distant Palatinate

essentially leaving a void, ah...just
perfect for cosmic outliers to allocate

( noninvasive, i.e.)
their laser like gizmos scrutinize how

(albeit unwittingly) to ameliorate
writer's block, thus
glad tubby ("Guinea Pig"),
and let abductors amputate
my killed expense trumped ("FAKE")
noggin pulp struggling to articulate,

(hence quite a relief,
you cannot imagine), dear mate
when fiber optic threads of light

essentially painlessly
(rather ticklishly aspirate)
clump of useless gray matter,
yours truly does implicate

as complicit to cause unnecessary
difficulty to associate
with Homo sapiens, an extremely
strenuous task, thence joyful to dedicate
(without being headstrong),
an organ minimally missed at any rate
long last free to babble poppycock
oblivious as ambitious readers berate!



updated by @americymru: 01/23/19 02:27:09AM
01/23/19 02:24:50AM
112 posts

The Smarts And Dogged Callisthenics... Cannot Wall The Will Of Catapulting Mice by Matthew Scott Harris

West Coast Eisteddfod Online Poetry Competition 2018

A titled unwritten poem requiring
little effort to dip and dive
I accidentally, inadvertently,
and unexpectedly scrolled up in digital archive
among various and sundry literary endeavors,
eh, maybe about a bajillion and five,

in various stages of completion kept alive
on life support, and one non entitled migrant idea,
that unwaveringly, incessantly, dost connive
clamorously, cetera doth buzz inside my head
(aswarm like angry bees in a hive)
constitutes how ("FAKE") president Trump

emits asynchronous vibe that dost not to jive
with best interests of American people even Ivy
League scholars found yours truly ruminating,
how mine "avid groupies",
would deem to warrant duct taping
me whole body, asper drive

ving figurative written wedge, sans
my blunt opinion against commander in chief,
subsequently finding me literally diced,
hashed, minced, et cetera as an endive
or more palatable onion's relative chive
into a million little pieces,

thus better angles with me strongly advised
(along with voice of Robert Mueller) best to arrive
at less controversial topic, hence I will strive
even if blindly chased by Farmer's wive
to express (with rhyme,
but no reason), and douse

or simply avoid trumpeting, scathing,
flickr ring potential conflagration
reject as acceptable carouse
zing which resultant virtual wildfire,
would most likely lack adequate Whitehouse
funds to extinguish, this phrase

e'en thee spouse
would elicit, and expect
no readers to grouse
finding your truly making

bee line to dormouse
which doubles up (at least

for this poem) as cathouse
captivated by entertaining antics
of common house mouse
(Mus musculus), a rather mundane
alternative fur this louse,
yet I (Stuart Little)

attest tubby powerhouse
as one athletic creature
among mice and men

able to leap over tall blocks of cheese

in a single bound, ease
zee pull pie by jeeves,

or prayerfully taking wing
yup...even within the uber jungle of Belize
ideally on heels of strong breeze

even on command staying stock still
if asked to freeze
for a selfie while juggling...please

do not distract,
without question do not dangle keys
and if shivering with cold
avoid knocking knees

so me and nest of pestiferous pals

can earn opportunity to earn fame
and fortune nothing to sneeze, and
contract deadly disease.


updated by @americymru: 01/23/19 02:25:25AM
01/23/19 02:17:04AM
112 posts

Reflections from the Pond by Lenardo B. Youmans

West Coast Eisteddfod Online Poetry Competition 2018

Flying across the pond,

Thinking on the days long gone.

The reflections that I see

Trouble and perplex me.

I reminisce of when my ancestors made this voyage

To a world strange and foreign

With nothing to feast on

But foul odor, thoughts of home, and cold porridge.

Makes me grateful to God

That I exist in this day and time,

Where I can be free and

Live anywhere I want to reside.

I wonder how many of them

Never made it across the Atlantic.

Thrown overboard, fed to the fish,

And suffered fates that no doubt were tragic.

Hoarded on ships in which they

Wallowed in feces and were swallowed by diseases;

They had no creature comforts

Or anything to appease.

They paid a price

And gaves us a life

That could be considered elitist.

Because of their unfortunate circumstances

Many of us enjoy liberties and pleasures

That ignorance implores us to take for granted.

updated by @americymru: 01/23/19 02:17:34AM
01/23/19 02:15:32AM
112 posts

Last Plane to Paris by Lenardo B. Youmans

West Coast Eisteddfod Online Poetry Competition 2018

On a midnight trip

Like the one described by Gladys.

It would be insane

Had this

Been a midnight train.

People galore,

Never been on a flight this long

So I don’t know what’s in store.

A pit stop in Paris

Is a recourse not so bad.

After a ten hour flight

A traveler could be mad.

A rendezvous with a city divine

Is enough to still the nerves

On this trip of a lifetime.

I’m headed to another land.

This will be my first visit

To the place my people call motherland.

A place called home

That I’ve never been before,

Where the lions and leopards roam

Freely and forevermore.

No doubt it’ll be an adventure,

One that I’m sure to remember.

First thing’s first though.

Passage through the gateway

Of a city rich with history and prestige,

A place I can’t wait to take siege.

What will I do with a six hour layover?

Answer’ll be evident by the time

The day is over.

But for now,

Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight.

God watches over the sparrows,

And I believe He has this big bird in His sight.

updated by @americymru: 01/23/19 02:15:54AM
01/23/19 02:07:15AM
112 posts

Offering to an Angel by Clare Langford

West Coast Eisteddfod Online Poetry Competition 2018

I lived amongst a tumultuous storm

Its winds, my boundaries,

Emotions clipped and haggard.

Dark fell upon me like sky, like air,

Shelter, a distant memory.

Everywhere I turned the shadows mocked,

Skeletal digits stroking, calling,

In their screeching melody.

Fury became my shield,

Rage my sword, borne of desperation,

Forged in my own mind’s fire.

And I would lash out, blind

Until the walls which had been my fortress

Crumbled around me.

At first, I reached into the dark,

My hand swatted like a fly every time.

If ever clasped,

It was dropped again, too heavy a burden.

No one could see past my siege defences,

The façade of confidence,

And resentment.

I believed that the only power the world had,

Over any soul

Was to hurt.

You were the one who showed me it could heal.

What did you see in me, the lonely person,

Who could not cry?

My eyes were dry even as behind them,

A fraught voice did wail.

How did you hear it,

When even I had learned to tune it out?

How did you know I was falling, drowning,

When I saw only strength in myself?

Before I met you I wondered

What this image called a ‘smile’ was.

Some kind of mask, another lie.

Where could I obtain one,

To placate those searching eyes?

I wondered if happiness,

known only in distant recollections,

Was another myth I had made,

To ward away the dark.

So convinced was I that I was the last survivor,

When all else had succumbed to shadowy temptations.

The ‘people’ on the edges of my vision,

with their masks,

I believed were minions.

And you, I thought you were as well.

Except your mask seemed too real.

I saw you as a threat.

I was a caged tiger,

Cornered in unknown territory.

I know you’ve received the same a thousand times,

But I am truly sorry.

It seems you knew that too,

before I did.


You came from bright meadows,

Through a veil to a foreign world.

I may not have known why,

Still uncertain,

But I am grateful, all the same.

At first, I thought you would hurt me,

I shoved you away, with your foul,

Kind words.

A different language,

One I’d only ever heard,

With subtitles.

I’m starting to learn it now,

It’s a long journey.

But you know what I mean to say,

Before it even leaves my mouth.

How easily you read me,

Translate me.

Even though my past would make a novel,

You have never asked.

But I have told.

It is the only way to pay off my debt,

Though I can’t begin to imagine,

How such simple things satisfy you.

You may be a light, shining onto me,

But a shadow still lives behind me,

Whispering, hissing and twisting.

I fear it,

More than the outside,

Or the dark,

I fear myself.

How can you feel so safe around me?

After I have done so much damage to my own form,

How can you relax right next to me?

You are unfathomable.

You have never left me, though I have asked,

Begged, sometimes.

For your own sake.

You deserve better, so much better.

But I see now that is not what you want.

I shall give you all I have,

Can spare.

You have earned as much,

And more,

From me.

I am on a long adventure now,

My travelling companion,

To find a heart,

I never knew I had.

Do not leave me,

For without my compass,

I shall never find it.

With you beside me I am strong,

Under no illusions now.

My tempered sword is at your service.

And once we have found my heart,

And love,

I shall carry you.

For you are an angel.

And I shall take you in my arms,

With my demon wings,

And bear you up to Heaven.

updated by @americymru: 01/23/19 02:07:34AM
01/23/19 02:05:21AM
112 posts

A Broken Toy by Clare Langford

West Coast Eisteddfod Online Poetry Competition 2018

Solitude is my constant.

My guide and my shadow.

Even with my palms against another’s,

Even when my lips are stretched in an unfamiliar grin,

Dwarfed in comparison,

But as large as I am capable,

I am alone.

A smile from me was as rare,

As the sight of a sapphire orb,

Beaming down from a cold, black sky.

Yet you elicited so many from me.

I thought that was my limit,

Brought upon me from my inner wounds.

You proved me wrong, yet again.


I had heard it, from a distance,

Some curious, exotic music.

Never from my own cracked lips.

It sounded so full,

So dry,

An oasis in a desert.

You surmised how unpractised

That melody had become,

Save my pride you spoke not.

Questions were taboo,

So was my thinking,

But perhaps,

You truly did not care

About my past.

I loathe to consider the possibility,

Of the same indifference,

Towards myself.

Slowly, slowly,

Not by my will but silently,

My barricaded heart was bared.

I can never come to you naked,

Some things cannot be undone,

But I am changed.

Or, at least,

I was changed.

You join the few,

I can count on my tiny fingers,

That I miss.

Under your watchful eye,

I learnt to feel,

And that the granite of my heart,

Was just a layer,

Protecting delicate flesh.

The shield I had erected,

Could not heal my wounds.

Only love could,

If I allowed it.

I learnt to find other dreams,


I learnt want,

As opposed to need.

I learnt to travel without hiding.

That there was more to this undefinable existence,

Than simply predator,

And prey.

I used to be the prey,

In disguise.

My fierce tone,

And dark shield,

I seemed somewhat like the predators,

Which stalked me.

I became evasive,

At the mercy of a hoard

In human form.

They had no clemency,

Tearing at my shield,

Drawing blood,

Scratching, etching,

Into my hidden skin.

Long were they silent,

Quelled by your benign gaze,

But how long has it been,

Since I was last graced

With your presence?

My scars have surfaced once again,

And I fear your joyful anodyne,

Can never soothe them.

I thought, perhaps,

That you knew me.

Knew a relapse was due,

In abandonment.

Why then?

If you knew how easily

Doubt breeds within me,

Did you allow such distance,

To seep between us.

I cannot rely on you,

For you are not the exception,

To my painful rules,

That I had hoped.

Such was foolishness.

Your love was transient,

As so many thing are.

A broken toy,

Even when fixed,

Will always bear the signs that it has fallen apart.

I am no different.

updated by @americymru: 01/23/19 02:06:08AM