A Reading @ The Word Conwy – Sunday August 16th 1.15 Conwy Guild Hall

6 07 2014

A festival of words.

http://thewordconwy.com/wordsmiths/

conwy

http://thewordconwy.com

I will be reading before the national poet of Wales, Gillian Clarke, @ The Word Conwy this summer. The event is on the same weekend as the Feast programme and also features the linguist David Crystal.

“A festival of words. Sounds like heaven on earth to me” David Crystal, the world’s leading expert on the English language.

http://www.conwyfeast.com/feastattheword/





The Girl with a Ponytail (Picasso, 1954)

27 03 2013

(published in Cheval 4)

Image

 

Subtle, for him. Understated. Flattering even.

That first painting was angled with beauty enough

to lure me. Postman blue, pond green. Shy lips

and one eye, wide enough for two.

 

He sketched me furiously in June. Always

demanding my hair tumbled. Winding my fringe

between oily fingertips, breathing wine,

gesturing bottle after glass.

 

Every portrait a picture of a sculpture,

a Greek bust in Gallic July dress.

 

The signature brought the world to Vallauris

and each time I smiled at the cameras,

dimpled when he shared the lens. He painted

in the evening only now. His colours

darkened and he insisted my collar

inched lower to reveal secrets I would not tell.

 

In the last nights he sat me on his knees

I confessed he had become my second father.

He was sullen in August and relinquished

with the final composition, without goodbye.

 

The final painting revealed only my naivete: 

my ponytail a noose for an old man to risk

his reputation, my breasts a rectangle of

rheumatic grey. My webbed ringlets, a duplicitous stare

and my fingers knotted in his frustration.





Reasons I won’t ask him

27 12 2012

He’ll tell me the foundations aren’t level
while scratching at the corner of his eyebrows
until I sulk off.

I’ll hand him tea in soily cup
as he pegs out right angles in string
and asks me to fetch the post mix
from the boot.

‘It’s an easy mistake Son,’ he’ll say
sketching on to the plans where the door
should’ve gone. Then he’ll build
a shed from the panels I ignored
in the alleyway since spring.

He’ll need someone to foot the ladders
he brought and I should pin the felt down
in the corners he can’t stretch to anymore.

Mum might bring the baby out to play
on the balding grass, joke about men at work
and we may all pretend that’s the truth.

After the brushes are cleaned
he’ll pour the tea away,
wash the mugs.





Old Coat

27 10 2012

The scent slid in like evening tide,

familiar as the retriever on the lane,

as remote as linnets in summer grass,

but always it surfaced in the rain.

 

Apples, cinnamon, freesia. Whitebait kissing

bubbles on the surface of the pool.

 

Musk, jasmine, sandalwood. Tortoiseshell wings

flowering from cotton crypts.

 

Citrus, rose, lavender. Gutters giggling

down water in the alleyway.

Always it surfaced in the rain.

 

The trace of the potion was the pocket of a raincoat,

a tissue rested between the dark spaces. Smells

swelling in hibernation.

 

I left our past in the tissue, left the tissue in the coat, left the coat in the cupboard.





The Longest Day

2 09 2012

Silk of midnight cloud,

the tender reminder of an endless

June evening.

It is a lazy dark tonight, the moon

a pearl earring snagged on the penumbra

of Tryfan. The model village is dozing,

Then, a siren like a baby’s tired cry,

and helicopter flit as jarred insects.

Houses light up. The fire

is young but the windless night

shoulders the crackling.

The coil of flame drips down

the Conwy Valley and orange slick

snarls wider. Mist is choked

in a panic of smoke, the coolness

charged by risk. The tear

in the cloak of the mountain

is a sick loop through to the core

of centuries. It is midnight, the fire

grows like a rumour.