Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Trees of Wales Speak

It’s taken almost forty years
for our ‘liege lord’, Prince of Wales
to find himself a third, or is it fourth
home here, but even so, the hills
and valleys glisten with the slimy trails
left by loyal ‘locals’ as they queue
to offer credit, where none is due.

The English landlord of a nearby pub
rubs his hands raw with glee,
the mayor, toad-like, sits in his parlour,
quaffing real ale and offering opinions for free.
It’s great for trade and the economy
and if you’re looking for real proof,
house prices are going straight through the roof.

The Prince is paying for his new home
with a million of our money,
( My sides are splitting. It’s so funny. ),
so that one weekend in fifty two,
the royal coupling can stroll about, take in the view,
admire the progress of their pedigree flocks,
go hunting some unlucky fox,
go driving in their Chelsea tractors,
much to the delight of local benefactors.

Poor dab, he should have told us of his plight
and we’d have found a cheaper site,
like that boarded up crack house
on the Gurnos estate, a bit of a wreck, but then
all the family could chip in, help decorate
and before you know it, locals rally round,
Dai Needle, Jac Smack and their good mate,
Phil E, sound as a pound and dead creative.
A bit of plaster here, a dab of paint there
and soon the neighbours could come in to celebrate
right royally - fucking great!

He’s even been to university in Aber,
so with all his knowledge of Welsh language and history,
you’d think by now, he’d solved the mystery,
that not all men and women are his to hire
and when it comes to second homes in Wales,
there are sleeping giants you don’t want to wake,
for some dragons round here still breathe fire.

AOL News - "Prince Charles has bought a property in Wales that he intends to let when he is not there. Charles has opted for modest accommodation in the form of Llwywormwood farmhouse in the tiny West Wales hamlet of Myddfai, near Llandovery, Carmarthenshire.
But the three-bedroom property is located in the centre of its own 192- acre estate and reportedly cost at least £1million." Souvenir mugs ( illustrated ) are available from

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The White Stork of Glais

I chose to rest high above the river,
near a solid stone bridge, for just one day,
to watch the frantic sewin leap, quiver
in the air, then melt into freezing spray,

watery spirits, tricks of passing light,
defying the shadows of speeding cars
relentless heralds of the coming night,
and ignorant of the presence of stars.

They too are watching, gathered down below,
the curiously disconnected men.
If they could only see the things I know
they’d leave this place and never come again

I have seen silver rivers burning dry.
I have witnessed the bleaching of their sky.

At the end of last summer, a solitary European White Stork appeared in our village and settled on a lamppost overlooking the by-pass. This was the first sighting of a White Stork in Wales for over 100 years. The image is taken from

Monday, November 20, 2006

Walls 6

6. Four Walls Do Not A Prison Make

And so to the four walls of my personal cell,
so that only the chosen ones can inflict
injuries to my person,
so that decision makers can deliberate
without disturbance,
so that it can turn up in the neighbourhood
without arousing your suspicion,
just in case you are stupid enough to take note
of all the comings and goings
by the most important wall of all….
your silence.

That's the end of the 'Walls' series. I expect you might have some walls of your own to add.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Walls 5

5. The Wall of Hate

Blunt instrument in the hands of thugs,
self anointed concentration camp guards,
who misunderstand the message of the broken shards
of glass and cries of J├╝den Raus!
and gather at the Wailing Wall,
so that we might witness, one and all,
how false contrition comes before the fall.

They fear an enemy without,
These concrete slabs a last redoubt,
with death and hunger on the other side,
but all the time, as dark as sin,
the enemy strikes from deep within,
a cancerous growth that cannot be denied.

You’d think the victors of Jericho,
would surely understand, must know
that towering walls offer no protection
to a people mired in self deception.
Long after an evil empire falls,
its history lies revealed, in fallen walls.
I see today that when the Israeli's threatened an air strike against the home of a Palestinian militant, his whole community offered itself as a human shield to stop them. From people who have nothing, expect the highest forms of self sacrifice!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Walls 4

4. The Lennon Wall

Hidden away in Prague,
ironic in the Diplomatic Quarter,
twenty scruffy yards of wall,
a bit like John himself,
haloed in fluorescent paint,
‘Give Peace a Chance’ its call.

The painters lead the secret police
and their army of tame scrubbers
a dangerous, merry dance, for
as fast as the wall could be scraped clean,
back came the yellow submarine
and the Kilroy with round specs.
No amount of frenzied rubbers
could prevent his Scouse nose
from poking where it ought not to have been.

Undercover cops wear denim now,
flaunt disreputable hairstyles.
They’ve even studied and learnt how
to appear disinterested in art.
Round the corner the US Embassy,
democracy’s bleeding heart,
bears a plaque announcing,
'Kafka lived and worked here',
and guess what?
They don’t get the joke.

Today I see that Blair admitted/denied that Iraq is a disaster. Time to get the straight jacket ready I think.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Walls 3

3. The Berlin Wall

They scaled its grubby concrete face,
adapted the skills of moles,
or vaulted from the other side
on the end of fibre glass poles,
died in droves to flee from the forbidden place
across the great divide.

So where has the monster disappeared?
Where is this thing that we all feared?
The odd graffittied monolith still stands
and where the JCBs have cleared
the memories away, the market stalls
each offer multi-coloured souvenirs.

Yes, you can buy the genuine article
at bargain prices and on any street,
along with a sliver of the Iron Curtain,
VOPO documents of uncertain origin,
and objects from the Fuhrer’s bunker
to go with your chunk of Berlin rock.
Dou you remember all the rhetoric about giving the Soviet bloc freedom? Now all we hear is complaints about the number of Eastern European migrants coming over here for work.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Walls 2

2. The Great Wall of China

Seen from outer space,
it looks like an unhealed scar
on the face of the planet.
Hardly what the builders intended
from their limited perspective
at ground level,
in their frenzy to oblige, construct
a symbol of unassailable might.

Now as much use
as that buried terracotta army,
row on row of obedient warriors
with no Mongols in sight,
apart from the relentless hordes,
drunk on an Emperor’s delusions
of grandeur, complaining
about foreign food,
brooding about another long flight,
trying to look intelligent
not over awed.

This poem is for Keith Ross, De Murphy and Bob Cotterill who occupied the keep of Cardiff Castle yesterday to protest at the treatment of Palestinians and have since been arrested. Will update on this when I know more.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Walls 1

1. Hadrian’s Wall

Watched over by windswept raven and hooded crow,
a dead snake stretched out across misted hills,
the final frontier in that cold, old war
to stem the heathen terror from the north,
its name cursed by stranded legions, not worth
one sisterce in the greater scheme of things.

Skilfully preserved now for the edification
of another confused and misled generation,
but will we understand what the wind sings
and who would wish to share the fate
of that last guard tied to his post
with blue faces gathering by the gate?

Apologies for the break in transmission, but life has been crowding in on poetry. This poem is the first in a cycle of six all with the general heading 'Walls'. The image is taken from

Friday, November 10, 2006

So near and yet ....

Just as we top the first rise,
just as we catch the first glimpse of home,
why are the tears still flowing?

It’s the knowing.
It’s the certainty that some
will not make it past the lies.

Now that we know for sure.
Now that there’s no denying
why does my heart so stutter still?

Yes, time itself can kill
and whilst yet more are dying
the guilty turn out clean and pure.

Gravediggers’ work is not yet done.
Walking dead cling to the light.
Butchers adopt new guises.

And you wonder why the world despises
the profit seekers in the night,
fat, safe, not sorry, each and every one.

They need not fear the fatal message.
No folded flag comes to their front door.
They’ll carry on much as before,

Patriotic speeches across the floor,
scant attention to the poor
victims of their power games
and with the coming of old age
after dinner speeches to ensure
their pension funds grow more and more.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Election Day

Let the bells ring out
Let the whole world know it's coming.

Let the bells ring out for Rumsfeld
Let them spread our joy and cheer
Let the whole world know that there is hope.
We can bring an end to fear.

For Bush there's disappointment writ on his tiny face
As he sees the voters confiscate all his brand new toys,
but in homes throughout the land the thoughts light up
they’re coming home, they’ll soon be home - our boys!

So let the bells ring out. Let the fighting end.
Let them spread the news. It’s come
and Karl Rove can resign himself to ending up
just another washed up bum.

But though there's fun and laughter for all
And they’re breaking out the beer
Let's not forget to keep the pressure on
To make it crystal clear.

Let the bells ring out a warning
to those who follow on.
Don’t turn back on what you’ve promised -
you too can soon be gone.

Missed yesterday's post. Stayed up too late enjoying the election results. I don’t think Walter Brennan would care for this!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Mr. President explores a new policy ....

I know the human being
and fish can co-exist
peacefully. This one here,
flat out on the dish, missed
the boat, caught at the end of the pier
by an angler who had not read
our agreement. It was
just a problem with communication,
not a policy failure on my part.
People have a need to be fed
and they turn to the sea, because
ours is an island nation.
It’s nonsense to demand an investigation.
There is no connection with escaping radiation.
Nobody ended up dead,
apart from the fish, and that
was not part of the new deal
and, as the prophet said -
goddamn fish can’t feel!

Hey! Do you really have to put up with this jerk for another two years? Sorry nations that live in glass houses shouldn't throw .... Image by Carl Groat.

Monday, November 06, 2006

29th and last

Thank fuck it’s Wednesday.
School’s out.
The walls are split asunder
At the seams
By streams of joyous
Refugees. Bus bays
Fill with cars,
Each one groaning to be gone.
In an instant,
The birds are flown
Across the yard, released,
Beyond recall,
Past tense, post mortem,
Born again.
So, why then
Did you return
So many times
To the sordid
Scene of crimes?
What was your excuse
For watching
As a lust for learning slipped
Through your fingers,
A monument to folly reduced
To so much dust?

About time for this, my leaving speech on quitting teaching after 29 years. Image from

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Beit Hanun

Sisters of the shattered cities,
your wall of veils is yet more powerful
than the concrete of the widow makers.

The armoury of the pitiless -
satellite surveillance, jets,
gunships, tanks, cluster bombs,
DU, chemical weapons, bio toxins,
nuclear warheads- is as dust
in the face of your defiance.

The stones in the hands of your sons
were once witness to the rise
and fall of the omnipotent,
thus we are not the only ones
who know this history and answer
your courage’s call.

Mere words cannot do justice to the courage of these women.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Poets in the Forbidden City

After the official reception,
the banquet and the endless round of toasts,
the poet retired,
to a new bed of words.
The poem which he found there
sparked no fire, the boasts
of midnight frogs intruded
on his every thought
and the images he sought
paled besides the one vision
of that writer who failed
to halt the column of tanks
with his own barricade
of flesh and bone.

The poet had been warned in dreams,
that like the Emperor before him,
he should never spend
two nights in succession, alone
in a familiar bed, lest
he should share the fate of his compatriot,
discovered too late,
before his warning confession,
mouth stopped with sand and stone.
A poet in the service of tyrants
feels himself secure, but in this place,
nothing is as it seems.

Late post today after much distraction.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Alyssa Peterson

What did the cage hear
ripped from pregnant pauses?
What does ‘waterboarding’ signify?
What is the ‘toast rack’, the ‘wishbone’,
a ‘stress position’, just words
wrenched out of context?

What did the cage see,
when others chose to face
the other way? A lone woman
uniformed, crisp, upright, her bright eyes
brimful, her lips silently mouthing the word,

At what point did cold steel
begin to bleed,
concrete grow slippery and red,
the M16 at her side fall silent?

What did the cage feel
to see her wasted there,
while high above the flag
fluttered feebly for the fallen,
defiant, defiled?

When the cages have all emptied,
when the ‘interpreters’ have long since fled,
she stands guard for all of us,
in the company of a swelling legion of the dead.

This story is only just beginning to emerge here.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Election Promise

New Labour lined the lobbies two by two.
The whips prowled round with narrow, desperate,
smiles, so keen were they to see
that each MP knew what to do.
They had no need to sweat.
In Bliar’s brave ranks would you have bet
That only twelve would dare to stand their ground?
As for the rest, they tamely joined the queue
to add their voices to the bleating sound
of self delusion, self interest, self abuse.

It won’t be long now, before we see them come again
besuited, red-rosetted, scroungers all
on our doorsteps come to call
for more support, but listen, let me warn them…
Don’t come knocking on my door.
Don’t come asking for my vote.
I won’t be pictured next to you
on your next photo shoot
The bile is rising in my throat
and I know just what I should do
with your backside and my left boot.
This one's going to my local MP. I'll let you know if I get a reply. Oh and by the way this is poem 100!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Message to our Sponsors

The Great Architect of Nations says:
collateral damage
gnaws away at your own foundations.

The wise man says:
he who walks on the other side
is still splattered with mud.

History says:
the smallest concession to dictators
unites with them in the spilling of blood.

Your bank balance says:
for every digit you read,
add ten to the body count

And no matter what your accountant says,
and no matter how high the shares climb,
you’re running out of time, for

Your conscience knows,
the relentless pursuit of profit
is not the same as the pursuit of happiness and

The proverb says:
he who sleeps with the devil
becomes the devil.

This poem is for Shi Tao, Kianoosh Sanjari, Mohammed
Abbou and Nguyen Vu Binh, ‘The Martyrs of the Web’
( The Independent Friday 27th 2006 ) and is a warning to
Google, Yahoo and Microsoft not to continue collaborating
with the Chinese and other dictatorships.