Paul Steffan Jones 1st


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By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2018-03-03

The wealth of our princes

in swords bent

and thrown into meres

in the feared wildernesses of their time

when they were deposed by invaders

their leaderless subjects

lived similarly fettered

until liberated by learning

the alchemy of the word

the occasional brilliance of finance

like sunlight in a forest

I break the legs of my poems

to prevent them escaping from me

in my hobbled search for

my private Excalibur

Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

(When) We Were

By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2018-02-22

The hunters came from afar

to the vacuum of

scraped and scratched mountains

and scourged and scoured valleys

uninformed but brave

confident and hardy

they would stay

finding something that contented them

where the land ran out

in the north west of the continent

they had crossed as ice mass melted

their skins black against white

the waters gushing

through territories re-emerging

after their long concealment

they built homes

started families

harnessed ploughs

husbanded beasts

worked together

to engineer and erect

monumental structures

sailed the coasts


and sharing products

and ideas

they used whale bone

flint and tusk

to fashion tools and weapons

hunting some creatures to extinction

their shamen helped them

to know how to revere

and commune with their ancestors

the stars

the sun and the moon

thunder and lightning

and the munificence of the fauna

of the ocean without end

in time that sea rose around them

cutting them off from their wider family

leaving them stranded

and forgetful of who they were

where they had come from

prefering to tell a new myth of island isolation

those mothers and fathers of ours

Posted in: Poetry | 4 comments

The Ministry of Loss

By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2018-02-18

What lies beneath the surface

below the wake of cheerful pleasure craft

and the hopeful lures of anglers

this privileged day of summer?

the old village now lies silenced

its windowless buildings

have wide open doors

that permit brown trout

to enter and leave

this street of skulls

forgotten in the march of progress

stepped over by big money

eels coil around the rusted railings

that contain the cemetery

the dead sleeping

the disturbed sleep

of new surroundings

the chapel



the new wildlife in its pews

that does not understand

it had gasped its last hosannas

in bubbles of oxygen

that escaped its ancient walls

on the day it succumbed to deluge

the final ministration of loss

pike skulk in the classrooms

of the primary school

silt is forming over the white lines

of its playground

the lilt of lullabies

the echo of children’s boisterous songs

stifled by millions of litres

of industrialised water

the shop had been run by

a man surnamed “Shop”

on its shelves

Great Pond Snails colonise

large glass jars

that used to dispense

sherbet fountains

Parma violets

and pink and white mice

the pigeon holes at the post office

have become the domain

of smooth newts and gudgeon

managing as efficiently in their way

as had the former postmistress

who was nicknamed “Post”

the practical and descriptive

naming conventions of a people

who had loved to describe

in an inaccessible corner of the lake side

a sheep wool-snagged

barbed wire-topped fence

disappears into the depths

still taut

still connecting the abandoned homes

to the life that persists on the hillside


Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

Hellish London

melting tower block

melting faces

plummeting bodies

front seat atrocity

death on live TV

as firefighters attempt to tackle

the emboldened blaze

with depleted numbers

low water pressure

and delayed equipment

the bravery and dedication

of the “ordinary” citizens of a state

without courageous and honest leadership

the so-called Blitz spirit trundling on

unaware that a kind of war

is still being fought

in every home

in every workplace

in every school

in every hospital

it’s now OK to feign amnesia

about vulnerable people

especially if they’re “foreign”

and deregulation and austerity

don’t admit to their  hand

in the  production

of the corpses

from among this disposable section

of the population

the invisible and expendable

who don’t qualify for adequate

health and safety

whose voices cannot be heard

who can’t even be enumerated

or identified quickly enough

among the shambles jumble

that used to be their homes

in one of the richest corners

of the unearthly omnishambles

that is their country

meanwhile the Secretary of State for Health

gets a £44,000 bathroom

and nurses pay furtive visits

to food banks

it’s time to make our country our own

our rulers don’t need us

and we don’t need their misrule


Posted in: about | 2 comments

How Guns Change Hands

By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2018-02-03

My father once received

from his father

a semi-automatic pistol

that could have been

a German-made Sauer M1938H

my grandfather in turn

had been given this weapon

by his brother

when he had made up his mind

to take his family

to the other side of the world

never to return home again

I have an imprecise recollection of it

as it was surrendered

in a gun amnesty

before I got to be familiar with it

before it could become a favourite toy

but I recall that it fascinated

my cowboy and Indian-obsessed mind

the solid cold construction

the weight and size too much

for my interested infant fingers

and my childish wonder

at the exotic places it had been

the exciting events

in which it was carried

the people who had been in its sights

the shots it may have fired

the sidearm was likely to have been

a trophy won by my relative

from the loot “liberated”

from dejected and defeated

Afrika Korps prisoners of war

far from the heat

and blood spill of the North African desert

and the battalions of twisted metal

burning under multitudes of stars

about the only verifiable information

available to us about this object

was that my great uncle

had caused some damage with it

to his parents’ proud new outside toilet

mistaking live ammunition for blanks

maybe the last inadvertent yippee ki-yay of his demob

maybe the final mark he made on

the country that had sent him to war


Posted in: Poetry | 2 comments

On The Banks of Lightning River

By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2018-01-18

A hill river in spate20171111_122128.jpg

in its pomp

its waterfalls are thunder

to its name

the call and response

of precipitation and gradient

the fall they call “snow”

is a curtain of moving water

frothing and seeming to boil

the torrent

and the history

of the torrent

and all its previous versions

various machinations

volumes speeds and force

have left on the bank

smoothed stones

the size and shapes

of loaves of bread

and cakes

roots are exposed




the healthy brown bones

of the skeleton trees

fringing the foam

this water course flows underground

swallowed by a wide mouthed cave

we pause and peer

at the vanishing point

our boots lapped by the shallows

the air loaded with

the incense of spray

and someone else’s cannabis smoke


Posted in: about | 2 comments

The loss of the supernatural weighs

as heavily on us

as the loss of our religion

we invent new terrors

novel demons

the latest monsters

surreal serial killers

genocidal generals

privileged politicians that condemn

thousands to slow deaths

by favouring the rich

instead of the poor

what occasionally appears

in the corner of an eye?

what does one divine

in the embers of a fire

one has stared at unceasingly

for a whole wordless evening?

what is heard above the crackle

of a hearing aid

when the wind bends branches

and is somehow transformed

into footsteps on roof tiles

as one is separated from sleep?

we are haunted

we haunt

so bring me my ghosts

before dawn

before the replaying

of days and daylight begins again

all the old spectres congregate

in the camouflaged fog chapel

that is the meeting place of their calling

closer to Heaven

in what was once called

“God’s country”

the cast includes the celebrities

of my land’s theatre of haunting

the corpse candles

highlighting imminent death

the bwcas that preceded

then made mischief for miners

the fair folk the fairy folk

known as the tylwyth teg

and revenant sin eaters

who gorged on surfeits of sin

and the spirits of ordinary

and extraordinary sinners

dogs and magpies

we enjoy illusory freedom

and unjustified notions

of our own independence

our elbows perpetually jostled

by endless distractions

and chapters of false narrative

I fantasise about phantom football teams

playing in a dead Premier league

unseen in video playback

as an antidote to endless TV

shot in poorly lit US constructions

purporting to show scenes

unsettled by poltergeists

we are haunted

we haunt

so bring me my ghosts


Posted in: about | 0 comments

Inundations: Battle of The Atlantic

By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2017-10-19

Jenkin Evan Jones.jpg
For Captain Jenkin Evan Jones 1904-1986, Thomas Jones 1898-1986, Captain David John Jones  OBE 1896-1973, Daniel Owen Jones 1904-1936, Henry Lloyd Jones 1911-1985, Charles Ellis Jones 1914-2005 and James Jones 1901-1969)

Closer to your men now

these breathless damp survivors

in a lifeboat

you have to remember

that you are the master

that you remain in command

the abandonment of your vessel

a torpedo followed up by

21 shells from the deck

and AA guns

a different kind of rain

waves of unkinder weather

the steel from another furnace

always crawling out of the sea

always returning to it

the sea keeps you afloat

the seas swallows you

do you think of your homeland

as you await the rescue

of your crew

how your ancestors’ great flood

honoured the Biblical flood?

come from God’s country

to the high seas

of a world at war with itself

a world on fire

in the absence of fraternity

(your brother wrote in his diary

of how he had watched the ships

in his convoy one night

going down

one by one

cargo by cargo

friend by friend

life by life

extinguished light by extinguished light

disappearing act by disappearing act

that boy that his brothers had lifted up

to a beam in a barn

to enable him to strengthen his arms

to balance against the weakness

born in his legs)

the sea keeps you afloat

the seas swallows you

years after your death

and those of your maritime siblings

one soporific TV afternoon

in my NATO assured home

I saw footage of the victorious

U-124 sailing into its home port

proudly bedecked with trophies

from your ship and others

for the adoring crowd

two years after this triumph

this raider lay rusting

at the bottom of the Atlantic

all hands lost

the new cemeteries

of the new warfare

among the resting places

of older sunken worlds

the sea keeps you afloat

the seas swallows you

Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters; they saw the deeds of the Lord, his wondrous works in the deep.

(Psalm 107, verses 23 and 24)


Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments
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