Paul Steffan Jones 1st


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No Harps

By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2017-03-12

I am not a harper

I am not a Fisher King

I am neither of these things

I am not a father

I am not a feather wing

I am neither of these things

I am not a player

I am not a fiddle string

I am neither of these things

I am not a piper

I am not a diamond ring

I am neither of these things

I am not a singer

I am not a playground swing

I am neither of these things

I am not a sinner

I am not a waspish sting

I am neither of these things

I am not a swimmer

I am not a moorland spring

I am neither of these things

I am not a winner

I am not a rifle sling

I am neither of these things


Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

Song of David

By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2017-03-08

There used to be giants

nimbly rolling the rocks

around the known landscape

to cap water spirals

the people used to be giants

now they were not

or so they thought

though suspicious of Rome

they went about unarmoured

along forest tracks that led back to them

they strained to hear the bells

of the sixteen wall towns

of the kingdom they were told lay

under the shallow bay

they believed though no sound came

save the mourning of gulls

and the collapse of waves

he took his first steps and was injured

his father and his uncle

battled against snow to get his face sewn up

but a crucifix injected itself into his arteries

and travelled those routes for many years

forcing him out of shape

to grow tall and crooked

trying to sink into his shoulders

as his mother had done at that age

the shadow of smoke

he recalled Jesus

how gentle he’d seemed

the women loved him

still he couldn’t understand why they did that to him

he was obliged to follow the old religion

though more drawn to Hell

he looked like the Turin Shroud when asleep

he kept telling them he was dead

in a country with a higher number

of castles than any other

he played at the cottage of his great grandmother

and the motte and bailey castle

next door after which it was named

the comfort of grass and a six hundred year gap

and discovering gooseberries for the first time

both his grandfathers died at the wheels of their cars

without a mark in almost inexplicable accidents

when this curse outlived its usefulness

he would learn to drive

in order to get out of this valley

where everything was washed down slopes

into the river into the sea into the ocean

into rain back to this place again

TV was new wall-to-wall war every night

Vietnam and Ulster

and the offerings of producers

who had survived the “last” war

he in turn re-enacted liberation

and freedom fighting with comrades

and guns left over from the resolved

and unresolved conflicts

of previous generations

providing ammunition

for their imagination

he put knives in his pockets

his belt his eyes

to steady his nerves

to ward off his father

whom he had exceeded in height

he was not taught the story of his country

but guessed at its events

and found that his broad accent

was nothing to be embarrassed about

he spoke two languages

but wanted to renounce one

until he learned to love it again

to revere his birthplace for what it was

and not dismiss it for what it wasn’t

at the beginning of the space age

his parents acquired labour-saving devices

that helped them in their daily chores

and in the raising of their children

but these machines took over their time

and sucked out the soul of family life

they looked after a chapel

next to their home

the silhouettes of tombstones

dancing around his bedroom walls

illuminated by car headlights

the new people arrived

they had always been there

but now seemed to be everywhere

speaking the language his tribe had absorbed

they took over abandoned farms and chapels

and the leaderships of some of the hundreds

the inflexions and drive of a different gang

he pretended he was like them

but in the uncertainty of changing North Atlantic culture

his tongue fumbled some of the old words

in their unfolding

in the summer he slept with windows open

in the mistaken benevolence of electric light

beyond which night creatures

exhaled their excited air

and burned empty homes

he grew into song

into words and deeds

his chewing gum grin

glossing over his mistrust in his seed

until the egg begged

now the blood of princes runs through him

carries him shoulder high to computer-enhanced

mountains blue with rain

where they do not overwinter sheep

the blood of princes runs him through


Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

A Welcome to Cwm Teifi

By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2017-03-07

I leave this river
that nourished my upbringing
and inspired my imagining
as you arrive,
or, rather, return to its banks

in the valley where the sweat
of the labour of our forefathers
mingled with sweet meadow streams,
helping to replenish this waterway,

its stately, muscled progress,
trout breaking its surface
on warm, dreaming evenings,
in circles, those lines without end,

the flash of the kingfisher,
the seemingly stilted flight
of dragonflies,

the ancient, narrow bridges,
arches leading in,
leading out,
persisting, permitting.


Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

Wales in The Middle

By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2017-03-03

The lonely chapel of Soar Y Mynydd

could be the centre of our country

at least my version of it

the guns of the spare neighbouring farms

twitchiness around their triggers

lest another gun returns

let us acknowledge our killers

for they are of us

and not so different

our trajectories leading to

opposing outcomes

and while we’re facing our violent past

let’s recall our battle sites

not lauded

though they’re here

over a gate or a hedge

under a centuries-deep carpet

down a dip

off a minor road

with the signs deliberately changed

to the wrong direction

we fought too

we died too

but our sacrifices don’t count

in the toxic pre-Brexit empire

those mysterious mounds

those straight roads

the many narrow ways home

this is my country

you can have it


Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

Dream Republic

By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2017-02-27

Watching Spanish football

on TV in a bar

a new form of guttural expression

that language that explodes

I’d been at the minibar

the waiter says he doesn’t



and the lost mass graves

of the vanquished

including my ancestor

Rhondda miner

Jutland stoker

medal winner

hillside boxer

circus bear wrestler

Civil Warrior

fighting for democracy

with his hands

and hand tools

murdered in Bilboa prison

by guards retaliating

against the last impassioned

throw of his knuckles

I drink alone in a Malaga bar

recalling the bare bones

of this story I was told

when I was a boy

dreaming of another dream republic

a better tomorrow


Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

Gweithio Mewn Swyddfa

By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2017-02-05

Ymhlith y sgrinau sy'n tynnu sylw

y celwyddau sy'n chwedlau

sy'n gelwyddau

yn gwastraffu degawdau

bywydau pobl sy ddim

mynd i oroesi'r dyfodol

paid meddwl amdanaf fel clerc

neu swyddog

ney cynghorwr

neu gweinyddwr

neu diawl dof y Llywodraeth

dw i'n was i'r ser

y lleuad

y mor

a'r haul

y byd heb nenfwd

bugail clustiau'r gwenith

yn symud mewn awel gymedrol

fel neidr yn nesau at ei amcan


Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

Rearranged Old Towns

By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2017-01-17

The post office is not where it used to be

but the original building still stands

now with a different purpose

with the proud insignia of its past

betraying its creation myth

the clocks not synchronised

at midnight on New Year

everything playing at once

nothing changes

Jimmy Jangles has been a has been

and now does not know where he is

he hates days when there is no

scheduled postal delivery

and that some men think

of lesbians only in voyeuristic terms

he has failed to download the app

of elegies he required

so he finds himself

rearranged out of the town

in which he was born

walking a triangle of sodden fields

to the nods of starlings


Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

They Came Home

By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2017-01-17

Unsuspected cemetery

its thousand year sand graves

sifted away by storm


they had lived clasped

by the shore

and by the sea

vigorous and self-assured

that margin

on their oceanic trade routes

of exchanged objects

and the latest news from

beyond the dolphin-drawn horizons

of kings and their retinues

the gossip of far-flung tribes

precious stones and

famous sunsets

the bones of the infants

unusually survived

loved in the cuddle

of the cist

laid down with seared hearts

they said their toes pointed inwards

bunched that way

by the embrace of

disappeared shrouds


Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments
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