Paul Steffan Jones 1st


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Category: Poetry

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

Cabin Fever

By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2021-01-17

Steam escapes from tears

the dream of the sleep punk

those guitar solos based on choruses

lull me to lullaby absence

my participation on the edge 

of the plantation of easy guilt

trying to keep safe in the attacking air

dry in the angered rainfall

as water percolates from the eaves

roads that meander through the forest

and around its scraped-out mines

its quarried foreheaded depressions

also leak and leach generously 

they’ve left a few trees standing 

in the meadow to remind us of trees

the mirage of a cared-for landscape

the deception of orderly lifestyles 

the ludicrousness of plans at times like these

Posted in: Poetry | 2 comments

A Wedding

By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2020-12-13

Near-deserted lanes mid way up low hills 

the sodden escarpments of unfashionable zones

unvisited by most who know of their existence

in this interlude when a shadow cajoles our attention

the damp hushed houses of this year’s departed

dust on shelves weeds between paving slabs

awaiting tidying up and reinvigoration

and the lengthy sigh of a decision reached

(starling darlings lingering watch unwatched)

among the personal effects in those corners 

not accessed in a period compromised 

by the seizing up of bones 

and the disorder of failing and forgetfulness

an antique from the top of a wedding cake but whose?

two figures a bride and her groom

he minus his head his sacrifice 

making them equal in height

(can mementos metamorphosize into voodoo dolls?)

how had he come to lose his head? 

how was he relevant to the widower 

in whose former home it was found?

who and when did they represent?

what I am to do now that this imperfected tribute

this broken inheritance is in my possession 

the only one that has raised its head to me?

Posted in: Poetry | 2 comments

Decline to Monoglottism

By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2020-11-20

I listen to and learn from the eulogy

for a poet from my village recognised in his death

this awaits me or vice versa

or verses versus verses 

a book is not its cover

but a chimera to ward off stereotypification

a taxi ride among a cavalcade of red tail lights

to where the bokeh is okay

I met Billy and his grandson Ryan in the x-ray waiting room

his eyes had red circles around them

as if he'd spent a lifetime crying

he joked he'd been hiding behind a tent 

at the siege of Rorke's Drift

and that I'd limped with a different leg on leaving

not much chance to use the old language here

where Iolo Morganwg tells me to buck up

in a minaret multi storey car park 

named after our patron saint

our capital city its smart centre

the ordinary radiating roads

(who are they named after?)

the tarmaced-together suburbs

their Chinese supermarkets and eateries

the heirs of the enquiring minds 

that dreamed up gunpowder navigation and printing

I sniff around the outskirts of the spirit skirt

and the gaps in people 

some good gaps some not so

but do the flatlands feel the imprint

of the inundations of their moulding?

Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

New Halloween

By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2020-10-31




no can do

in Manchester



Nottingham too

no can do

dead man's shoes

dead man's hand

do the right thing

you and all

hands face space

waste of space

new rules for scrubbed old hands

I'll try to remember

but feels like I'm back 

in work or school

Eat Out to Help Out

aka Eat Out to Help The Virus

I was there too

I took the money

I dined at that trough

like everything else

masks constantly evolve 

from the Lone Ranger

to the werewolf

from PPE

to mandatory wear

whilst enjoying the retail experience

to the jaundiced faces

of our corrupt politicians

first they wanted to save the NHS

now the mission is to save Christmas

but let’s get through this Halloween first

as the country closes its doors again

the leaves mulch and the light weakens

and the ghosts come back

to interrupted conversations

those things we wish we’d said

Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

Top of The Flops

By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2020-10-22


flip flop

from one bad decision

one delay to the next

no fillip fulfilled

but flopped enough

flimsy filleted conscience

flame grilled ideation

sears the nation

flannel fans

the sidelined fans

the tarts and flans

the dollops lollop

unable to gallop

the plumped up

propped up plops

that rule rather than govern

glib guff

guilt gripped


ending griped

top hat toffs

lop off that lot

lorded and loafed

yet levelled little

you're having a laugh

Posted in: Poetry | 2 comments

Part Two

By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2020-10-17

One two three tier lockdowns

in a two tier country

the second wave

a two tier cake

for the Great British Bake Off

the Great British Shut Down

tier suggesting structure

when none is present


curve and peak

hands face space

test and trace

fear and inequality

cases and capacity

untruths and nepotism

loss and pessimism

please don't speak Covid to me

I'm just waiting for a vaccine

waiting for another year

better than this one

for the next TV presentation

by the scientists

with all the gravitas

of a wartime broadcast

of grown-ups telling us

the worst of news

the maps and graphs

different colours

different shades

sliding slideshows

the climbing lines

out of our minds with unease

the creep of a disease

over land and through the air

Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments
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