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  • Sleeping Cities


    By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2020-07-03

    He dreams of capital cities 

    the pyramids of money 

    the cut-price labour that raised them

    now laid off

    in quarantine

    blacked out

    streets 

    avenues 

    squares 

    lanes 

    the underground 

    and overground railway tracks

    emptied

    no children at play 

    no vehicles in motion 

    parked forever

    a sky reprieved

    and exonerated

    is reflected in lakes

    fountains and tributaries

    where fish nervously return

    and dolphins are anticipated

    sea eagles ravens and sparrows 

    rule the high buildings 

    their glass blue 

    in the reconditioned atmosphere

    quaking in expectation

    learning to breathe again

    sleeping cities

    are secret cities

    how conurbations are effaced

    stifled by their inattention

    buried under their obese ambition

    as sleep comes to his dream

    and the dreamt citizens

    of the pestilent civilization

    the last supermoon of the year

    a flower moon

    blossoms over a trembling stillness

    and the lights are still on 

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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.