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  • 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?

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    Paul Steffan Jones is a Welsh poet and author.

    Paul Steffan Jones was born in Cardigan in 1961. To date, two collections of his verse have appeared, Lull of the Bull (2010) and The Trigger-Happiness (2012), both of which were published by Starborn Books. His When You Smile You’ll Be a Dog No More won first prize in the 2012 West Coast Eisteddfod Online Poetry Competition.

    Over 100 of his poems have been accepted for publication by periodicals and anthologies including Poetry Wales, New Welsh Review, The Rialto, The Seventh Quarry, Roundyhouse, Red Poets magazine, Seren Books, Hanging Johnny, The Slab, Eto, Poetry Cornwall and The Western Mail.

    He has recently worked with the artist Chris Rawson-Tetley on a project entitled Gwaelod which responds to the Cantre’r Gwaelod history and other notions of identity and diaspora. He has also collaborated with Glenn Ibbitson and other artists in a work called Room 103 which attempts to consider the relevance and importance of the ideas of George Orwell in a modern world of inequality, surveillance and manipulation of information. He is in the throes of assembling two new collections of verse under the working titles Otherlander and I Thought I Had More Time and regularly performs readings in Northern Pembrokeshire and adjacent areas.

    Paul has had some success in writing song lyrics. His most recent is Ar ôl Yr Angladd/After The Funeral, a response to a request from the rock group Datblygu. A song he co-wrote with the late Charlie Sharp, Bombstar, was released on the AA side of a single by Datblygu, Cân y Mynach Modern/Song of The Modern Monk, on Ankstmusik Records in 2008. He was one half of the underground folk-punk duo, Edward H. Bôring, who achieved a small amount of notoriety and a session that was broadcast by Radio Cymru in 1980. A track he wrote and recorded in 1981, Byd Heb Tywydd (sic)/World Without Weather was recently re-released on Recordiau Neon.

    He used to be a Civil Servant and Trade Union activist. He believes he is descended from Owain ab Afallach, the semi-mythical originator of the Royal House of Gwynedd, Alfred the Great, Charlemagne the Great and William the Conqueror and is pleased to count Owain Glyndwr and St David as distant cousins.