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Category: Poetry

In The Museum of Peace


By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2018-09-26

I pledge peace not knowing where it is

as fighter planes roar through the valley

I am deaf beneath

behind their slipstream

their scorched air

feel the change inside

don’t know if it’s going well

it’s too stony for me to cry

keys fall down a drain

fast-moving mountain streams

flow back on themselves

the commodification of

the remembrance of

our war dead

the steely eyes

smart uniforms

glinting bayonets

the choreographed floral tributes

one of the things we do best

the massive architecture of cathedrals

oppresses with displays of power

the building blocks of victors

of looters

of liars

I have become acclimatised

to the idea of conflict

even though I never joined a regiment

learning to play it as a child

soldiers are waged slaves with guns

Sports Utility Vehicles

are now weapons for hire

while some bored underpaid

museum attendants daydream

of a raucous rewritten Third Reich

and getting parts as SS fighters

in b-movies

no flash

Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

Princes and Princesses


By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2018-08-13



The river flows

the river always flows

the villagers earned a living of sorts

hewing anthracite

separating the hard coal

from the damp underworld

below the restless bed of the Black Cleddau

that seeped through the mine walls

and into their concerns

flowing haughtily past their daily lives

they shuffled with deeply felt reservations

into that space that afternoon

after they and their protests

were turned back by their employer

ruthless rising water

penetrated the roof

crashed

over

under

into and through them

a terrifying combination

and confusion

of explosion

gust tide and flood

among the trapped dead were

some who had been unaware

that they were the descendents

of the princes and princesses

of their country

impoverished and estranged

by the fortunes and accidents

of dynasties and birth

by the loosening

of the ties of kinship

and the ratcheting of

the new ways of exploitation

and impersonalisation

abandoned to an unroyal fate

on a lonely peaceful bank

a short distance from wading birds

whose beaks ply the sullen mudflats

there’s a modest monument

like a headstone

that’s overcrowded with names

remembering the date

Valentine’s Day 1844

listing those men

and their children

and unidentified women

and child miners

who never came home

to their festival of romance

but these veins flow

these veins always flow

Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

1938


By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2018-07-28

The Great War had not shaken

them from their faith

had not deflected them

from the path they had followed

more assuredly since the excitements

of the latest Methodist Revival

if anything the conflict

and its aftershock had helped them

make sense and come to a sort

of understanding of the new world order

that now came looking for them

in their previously unknown collection

of fields barns and cottages

they still respected the word

and feared God's judgement

remembering past transgressions

while processing current discomforts

there had been talk

in the vestry

the village shop

on the lanes

and at the gates

that something hadn't been quite right

that day in the first hopeful July

of the new century

that had become all too familiar

her father twenty years older

than his bride was rumoured

to be her cousin also

on the morning of her own big day

she was satisfied that the dress

she’d fashioned represented a good fit

after the alterations she’d made

as her baby grew within

placing a tiara on her high forehead

she left the dark warm indoors

of the home of her family for the last time

as an unmarried woman

in the yard she walked coyly

but purposefully through

a phalanx of neighbouring men

and beneath their raised shotguns

framed by whitewashed walls

and the fallow orchard behind

waiting for her in the chapel

where her parents had wed

was the Italian-looking young man

who would soon leave her for the sea

and return to visit when he could

during the next six years of war

each time rekindling a passion

that spanned an ocean

Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

Unilluminated Ruminations


By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2018-07-16

Let rage ride a ragged pony

around the fenced-in final

Site of Specific Scientific Interest

its legs buckling under

the combined burden of

foaming resentment

short-lived joust-tirades

and knee-jerk dismissal

of potentially good things

but when you’re born

you get a life

you get a name

you have to live

with that name

that life

with all of its expectations

its meanings

fortune and misfortune

I am almost alert

and will not sleep

as long as the death watch beetle

holds me in its sway

reminding me of the terms and conditions

of worms and munitions

and the hum of the soundtrack

of my collected respirations

the elixir of preparation

and the preparation

of the elixir

the moving air

the flies on hot roof tiles

science as aspirin

alchemy as a thread

through the eye of a needle

in the cemetery of celebratory dead

a view through a green glass sphere

“better do it now than wish it done”

where are my ghosts?

where did I put them?

the clouds conceal a super moon

could they be hiding anything else?

did I visit the moon?

I can’t remember


pond orphans occupy

ex-factories

vying with versions of levitating ladies

(they’ve parked a little too close

I want to urinate

my car’s windows fog up

perhaps I should drive away

or limbo dance my way

around the door)

in old-fashioned fields

stand scarecrows

scaring crows

scared crows

scare crows

sacred crows

scarred crows

blow up your television

escape to the country

from your country

where is your country?

blow up your television

the Clitheroe Kid

updated for the Age of Dunce

and the Presidents without a brain

becomes the Clit Hero Kid

blow up your television

your Jezebel label

with rebel labia

Euphrates nose

an unusual bouquet

Mermaid Quay

poems about blackbirds

I don’t have one

I had been looking for

the most recent results

and the hotel offers an excellent selection

of shops in the town

that's nearest to a city

and the hiss of the unknown

that kind of person who is

in the humidity of the unknown

and students were able to find out

more about the role of a company

in the humidity of a few hundred yards

a paean for an undiagnosed chutney

my MP40 submachine gun

got from the retirement

of a demobbed Action Man toy

his hard plastic hair

and raised scar

his no cock cock

then Siouxsie Sioux sings

reunion begins

passwords based on

early Atlantic coast saints

early Atlantic coast saints

based on passwords

I struggle to recall their successors

wonder who they could be as I stroll

around the magnificent shops

or as I wait for the fog to lift

and the horizon to be returned

the liturgical urge

the need for mystery

explained or not

Jesus

please us

please

Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

Country Man


By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2018-07-04
Country Man

You seem to have featured

in nearly every photograph

taken in your bypassed village

in the years following

the Second World War

you appear bemused

as though surprised

that you have survived

still strong in the weakening

that old age invites in

getting used to a world

that has changed and people

no longer being around

you have white hair

black eyes

a black suit

for weddings

funerals

and snapshot opportunities

an unconscious caricature

of film negatives

and the light and shade

of the photographic prints

of your era

sometimes you are standing

at the side of one of your sons

a father of a dozen children

pleased with the progress

of the generation you part-created

in one image you are clothed

in rough loose textiles

that could have come

from a half century previously

the tenacious thread of rural hard work

as you awkwardly but proudly hold aloft

a newborn great granddaughter

your face beaming

in the handover from

the old to the new

Posted in: Poetry | 2 comments

Gravitas


By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2018-06-30

A wedding of the unknown

kind of them to have invited us

drunk next to the River Avon

or Afon Afon as we’d have had it

river river dancing in the humidity of marriage

and the hurdles of obligatory congestion

of most journeys we insist on making

I got a Kurdish haircut

in the town that's nearest to us

a place where Gruff Rhys was born

and Suggs spent some boy years

no sign of boyars

in the land of xenophobes

Xerxes unwelcome here

sell out sell you

sell laptop speakers

to Flemish speakers

no need to thin out the population

they willing self-destruct

through unwitting lifelong dependence

on pointless manoeuvres

including funerary rites

the rites of the wrong

the wrongs of the rites

what's on the box tonight?

I hope it's not Ray Winstone

playing The Sweeney’s Jack Regan

via a modern potty mouth

the age of the hard man

usurped by the age of the sneer

a deformity that was born

depleted of future character

guts and class

I ate chutney

I ate cheese

I chewed and inflated bubblegum

I spewed my foetus up

the worthies get asked to talk

to an audience about their work

and how they go about it

I have no feelings of resentment

and even less interest

let them jaw away

while I war away

a way to while away the war

build new homes for old people

excavate wider graves for fatter corpses

give the undertakers a different challenge

the diggers a more avaricious arc

and tomorrow's archaeologists

more to aim for

the dwindling prairies of our dreams

the bison the birds the ants the soil

disappearing out of shot

on a conveyor belt

in an unintelligent looting

and tidying up exercise

the toothless teeth

keep blades of grass as mementos

in an old Quality Street tin

BBC weather used the word toasty

to describe a forecast tonight

dumb dumb dumb

or scorchio even

the laziness of language

the soporific state of minds

and the tongues they fail to control

bequeath the schools

the colleges

the universities

to the dragonflies

the gnats and the mayflies

they’d learn something

and perhaps we’d at last learn something too

a wife killer on the phone

to a lawyer on TV

he wants out of prison

in the worst kind

of cynical middle class accent

ambivalent to the end

hog the limelight with purported education

a criminal is still a criminal

even with a finance sector CV

his wife was from near the river

I know so well

river of mine

thine shine sign

signal singularity

shove elocution lessons

into the sonic industrial ovens

and force the enablers

the coaches

the leadership figures

who want identifiable regional accents

to be scoured from the mouths of their utterers

to view and listen to this outcome

I have booked my ticket

in order to observe and ratify their discomfort

saltcotes and induction hobs

discounted gin but not export strength

seagulls on chimney pots

on an island came to from another

the stepping stones from which

we would not wish to escape

fast road outside

town of roundabouts

get away from nothing

never never get away with anything

just go round and round

in delirious Celtic knots

live for the sun

the ease the comfort it affords

but it continues to wrongfoot us

that amnesia of a half century

of disrupted summers

stalked by soaked darkness

the beaches

the choices

the smiles

the light

the sweat

give me heat

give me T-shirts

give me chilled drinks

give me extensive panoramas

give me a few weeks in which

to live unleashed

Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

Pictures of Us


By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2018-06-16

The painting “The Bard”

by Thomas Jones

his commemoration

of the suppression

of the poets of his nation

on the orders of the English king

the fan who calls for a statue

of the vocalist Tom Jones

to be erected in his birth town

footsteps on a beach

fossilised

a family that took a walk

so very many families

before ours

their routes

their journeys

those hands held

a portrait of my great grandfather

youthful diffidence

nearly handsome

on the cusp of a confidence

robbed by

a dishonest business partner

returning to his impoverished county

penniless and

changed forever

this country of scribblers

of walkers

builders

painters

and singers in stone

these pictures of us

Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

Ceibwr


By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2018-05-24

Mae patrymau dy glogwynau

yn adlewyrchu’r tonnau

dy daldra yn dalcen

uchel a syn

a haenau dy greigiau

fel blancedi lliwgar

wedi’u plygu a'u gosod

mewn cwpwrdd enfawr

anniben a hirymaros

rwyt ti’n croesawu’r morloi llwyd

i fewn i gysgod dy fae

sy hefyd yn gysur i ni

pan mae amser yn ein caniatau

ac mae’r byd dynol yn ormod

mae dy drysor

yn gemwaith lliwiau

seiniau a theimladau

anadliad y blaen llanw

sibrwd y glustog Fair

gwylanod yn pysgota

yng ngolau dyfriog

y wawr gynnar


Ceibwr


The patterns of your cliffs

reflect the waves

your stature a

high and puzzled forehead

and the strata of your rocks

are like colourful blankets

that have been folded and placed

in an immense untidy

and long-suffering cupboard

you welcome the grey seals

into the shelter of your bay

that also gives us comfort

when time allows us

and the human world is too much


your treasure

is a jewellery of colours

sounds and feelings

the breathing of the high tide

the whisper of the thrift

gulls fishing in the watery light

of the early dawn

Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

Osgoi Ffordd Osgoi


By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2018-05-10

Does dim palmant

dim marciau ffordd

dim ffordd ymlaen

dim ots

allan yn yr anialwch peiriannol

ceir yn erbyn ceir

gyrrwyr yn erbyn gyrrwyr

y milltiroedd  yn ysu amser

y byd yn gul

yn ein drychau

byd cul

ein dyddiau

dw i am gerdded

tuag at y cyntadau

a chrwydro’n ddifeddwl

diamcan a diystyr

a byw ar lethr

wrth ochr y draffordd

gyda’r ehedydd a’r barcut

yn ymyl y chwyn

yn sgîl y mygdarthau

y twrw

y damweiniau

y niwed

a’r ceudyllau sy’n uno

i greu un twll enfawr

ac anfarwol

roeddwn yn arfer edrych allan

am arwyddion ffordd

nawr dw i’n chwilio

am arwyddion ffydd

dw i am gerdded

ond mae’n rhy peryglus

heb balmant

heb farciau ffordd

heb ffordd ymlaen

dim ots


Avoiding a Bypass


There’s no pavement

no road markings

no way ahead

it doesn’t matter

out in the mechanical wilderness

cars against cars

drivers against drivers

the miles consuming time

the world narrow

in our mirrors

the narrow world

of our days

I want to walk

towards the ancestors

and wander thoughtlessly

aimlessly and meaninglessly

and live on a slope

by the side of the motorway

with the lark and the kite

among the weeds

in the wake of the fumes

the tumult

the accidents

the damage

and the potholes that are uniting

to create one immense

and unforgettable hole

I used to look out for

road signs

but now I search

for signs of faith

I want to walk

but it’s too dangerous

without a pavement

without road markings

without a way ahead

it doesn’t matter

Posted in: Poetry | 0 comments

Anger One


By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2018-05-06

Grind my teeth down

mortar and pestle

molar pestilence

at the dentist

get a new set

a horse look

my masculinity blurs

whatever it is or was

weight piles on

semi-industrial consumption

of ill advice

that amorphous shape

my eyes dim with tears

my ears struggle to keep up

everyone wants

my money

my effort

my support

my attention

my input

my time

my vote

my life

while the flora

and the fauna

disappear

memory as a sequence

of half snatched-back vignettes

that perhaps I was never in

we can’t escape our parents

they’re in our faces

our ways of moving

of hoping

their bad luck

their diseases

their misjudgement

in the diaspora of kids

leaving home

the energy of synergy

in hangars of anger

the anchors of rancour

with truncheons of tension

in Anger One

anger has won

Posted in: Poetry | 2 comments
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