Tonight the river will use up its last yards

and ashes will fall from the clouds.


Thirteen full moons since heaven smiled.

The families all gather as dawn’s eye opens.


They are praying they won’t be chosen

and no one will venture outside.


Morning grows full of repentance and hopes,

sacrifice, promises of labours to come,


and one door bears the bloodmark insignia

that summons the home’s last-born.


At noon Nauri will lose her daughter

in front of an enraptured crowd,


the air cloud-heavy with majestic incantations

as the child is given to the sun.


Today when the wind has risen above the ghost estuary

fireshreds will awaken like birds.


And by tonight Roella will haunt the atlantic,

the ocean sky weeping with a dark snow.




This, I am pretty sure, was published in ‘Poetry Wales’. A regional mag, and something of a step up (in commonly perceived status and circulation, not necessarily quality) from the other pieces I had accepted. I remember being chuffed at the time; guess it was the high point because nothing else on that level followed. For all that, I have reservations about it. The language is nice, but the depiction of some tribal village was constructed out of cliches in my mind, not from any real place or people. The deliberately exotic-sounding names are gorgeous, but a bit silly. It all seems rather inauthentic to me now.

There might well be some foraging in the loft done this weekend, and if I find evidence to the contrary about where this was published, will edit the above! So far all of this stuff has been taken from a booklet I circulated amongst friends and family, and which are the only poems I have on my hard-drive. They’re the ones I thought best out of all that I wrote up to that point (and I wrote little after). There’s more to come, but not that much more. I will try to find the paper copies of all the other material (I really don’t know if I even kept all of it); my hunch is that there’s little if anything in there of decent quality, but you never know, and if I find more good stuff, here it shall end up.

UPDATE, 19/8/13: Just as well I checked because ‘The Appeasement wasn’t published in Poetry Wales, it was in a mag called ‘Borderlines’. Not only that, but I haven’t had anything else in Poetry Wales, nor have I ever sent them any material! So what was the one which had me chuffed? I’m not sure because having found my old poetry files and all the magazines I collected, there are a few mags which are better than I remembered (the poems are another matter…) and it was perhaps a tad unfair singling out ‘Smith’s Knoll’ as the only decent one…more to come on this I’m sure.