Awdl I Wraig Pysgotwr

Cultivating seven lemon leaves of love,
She keeps their citrussy pips
For infusing our elevenses
And drizzle cake for afterwards,
Returning from the morning trip
Aboard my pre-dawn sea-breeze skip
Amid ululating waves, gigantic
Monoliths to rage and grief,
To shower away all memories
Of tarpaulin, and bountiful cod
I sell to a fishmongers’ market,
Fresh are the fish they sell
For a clamouring townsfolk
On beds of mushy peas
And curried chips.

From my time at middle-sea
My lips are akin to potato skins
Abandoned in a frozen field
After a squad of soldiers’ stampeded
Over muddy Flanders and Frisia;
I have rugged Stegosaurus toes
And a cranium bursting with
Plains of great grey
Oppressive clouds,
I am sometimes gruff
And sometimes I say nothing for days,
For who would converse
With mizzle-clouds and fish
And fog?

Yet despite these lesser facets
She is my anchor and my harbour –
Two states of material being –
A qubit, a Schrödinger love.
She is the single numeric code
For those thousands of padlocks
Encircling my rusty tortoiseshell heart;
She is both trusted compass and direction,
And when I set course
On a shipful of bones
For snowy Arctic bays and coves,
She returns me slowly, slowly,
Patiently home for cake and tea –
A blend with seven lemon leaves.


N.B The title is Welsh, ‘Ode To A Fisherman’s Wife’. I noticed the closeness to the Cornish word for Fisherman – pyskador – but I was not certain that I could approximate the Cornish title closely enough.

Coroner’s Surprise

Open me
And you will see
Not blood –
Dry and with
Lividity –
But instead
Beneath each
Corvid-coloured
Contusion –
Much to a coroner’s
Morbid surprise –
My body did confess
A lifetime’s supply
Of dried tea leaves
No less.

Veins with stains
In browns and greens,
Restorative and remedy
For a life’s mundanity.
Give me no blood, but tea,
Give me afternoon cakes
And sandwich fingers
With wafers and cream;
Give me no war, but traders,
Captains of an industry
Sailing safely through
South Chinese seas;
Give leaders their peace
And sovereignty,
Powder your rusty
Deflagrating buckthorn guns
With wild jasmine seeds,
Elderflower leaves,
For arthritis I have capsicum,
For good memories mustard too,
And when all’s true and done,
And when my ending’s well begun
Bury me with my spoon of yew.

Ode To A Jug Of Milk

These dreams pour
In to me with fluidity,
Like milk from a jug,
Like clotted cream, from
A place in time both
New and old to certain
Degrees, where I am not
As one would be, when
Awake in passive daily
Routines. This drink
Plays tricks on me,
A mind as arid as
Deserts devoid of oases
And mysteries sealed in
Camel humps and dunes
That burn beneath my feet.
Too eager to be deceived,
I gave away my fortune
For its cornucopia
In return received;
I opened the throat of
My soul to swallow
Molten gold, and in
Flowed milk from the
Dreams of a goat.

Crows assemble
On timelines scratched
Across the planets
In my palm. A caw,
And the awful liquid pours
Through my stomach,
Through duodenum walls;
These organs worked hard
Behind the scenes for
Decades. Assortment of
Bellows and pumps,
Light industries,
Where will the substance
Pour instead when at
Cellular levels
And levels of lux
I am composting the dead
Autumn borders of
A farmer’s garden;
He who sows, I haven’t met.

I survive the nightly
Poisoning, an attempted
Abduction with chlorophyll
And monkshood. I wake
To a dawn chorus.
Such structures men
Conceive in seahorse
Dreams, in prison cages
Far removed from the sound
Of thrushes warbling,
And the downpouring
Of cups of tea.