A Child's Christmas In Wales

One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six.

All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find. In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea, and out come Mrs. Prothero and the firemen.


Through every nook and every cranny
The wind blew in on poor old Granny
Around her knees, into each ear
(And up nose as well, I fear)

All through the night the wind grew worse
It nearly made the vicar curse
The top had fallen off the steeple
Just missing him (and other people)

A Family Christmas

Sitting in front of the fire, Auntie Flo's reciting a story,
it's one about her first Christmas as a newly wed,
the same one she broadcasts every year,
but no one is listening.

Uncle Fred, 'out to the world' snores rhythmically
on the sofa.

Mother exhausted, having cooked the lunch,
without help, as usual,

Dirty Game

Dirty game

Blaring voice and strong signal came
Message from boy aging 9 for playing game
What game early in the morning dear son?
My uncle/auntie has wished you chase and run

You are so small and playing on somebody’s behalf, I said
“Not thinking of even your better half
You are supporting your poems on other’s name

The Burglar Of Babylon

On the fair green hills of Rio
There grows a fearful stain:
The poor who come to Rio
And can't go home again.

On the hills a million people,
A million sparrows, nest,
Like a confused migration
That's had to light and rest,

The End

It is time for me to go, mother; I am going.
When in the paling darkness of the lonely dawn you stretch out
your arms for your baby in the bed, I shall say, "Baby is not
here!"-mother, I am going.
I shall become a delicate draught of air and caress you and
I shall be ripples in the water when you bathe, and kiss you and
kiss you again.
In the gusty night when the rain patters on the leaves you
will hear my whisper in your bed, and my laughter will flash with
the lightning through the open window into your room.

We And They

Father and Mother, and Me,
Sister and Auntie say
All the people like us are We,
And every one else is They.
And They live over the sea,
While We live over the way,
But-would you believe it? --They look upon We
As only a sort of They!

We eat pork and beef

Auntie's Skirts

Whenever Auntie moves around,
Her dresses make a curious sound,
They trail behind her up the floor,
And trundle after through the door.

' ' ' ' Down Some Imaginary Road(For Lynn)

My Uncle’s
old blue van

gone to seed now

growing like
some strange mechanical

beside the chicken shed.

To Marry Or Not To Marry?

A Girl’s Reverie

Mother says, ‘Be in no hurry,
Marriage oft means care and worry.’

Auntie says, with manner grave,
‘Wife is synonym for slave.’

Father asks, in tones commanding,
‘How does Bradstreet rate his standing? ’

Orange Moon

Hi, when you are near towards us
In this amazing horizon,
Light has scattered in the atmosphere,
Your original face is creamed
With orange milk of our sun,
You have eaten little fresh curd of sky,
Size of dust particles do this magic,
In this amazing atmosphere,
When your face reaches up to us,
By that time visible light is scattered

Let Go And Let God (Dedicated To My Aunt Who Just Recently Passed Away)

You have suffered auntie long enough,
You were brave strong and tough.
The battle you fought was long and hard,
But it’s okay auntie let go and let God.

It has hurt all of us when you left that day,
It left me broken hearted with nothing to say.
I don’t want to be selfish say please don’t leave,
Because I did not want to hurt or grieve.

' ' ' ' Crúiscín...Cístín Baise(Little Jug...Little Palm Cake*) For My Auntie Mary


Auntie Mary’s
currant cake & blackberry jam


The jewels in the crown
of our forever summer

Me, Myself And I (Children)

My daddy calls me Will-dog.
PaPa calls me chief.
I’m always baby brother
to my sister - oh, good grief!

My Nana calls me punkin’.
Mama calls me little man.
I’m boo-boo bear to Grammy,
geez, I wonder WHO I am.

' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' Only The Shadow Knows(For Scarlett)

He wouldn’t come out
of the closet

though she shouted
& shouted

his name
like a trapped bird

flying from room

Mary Jane Died Last Night

The younger sister
Of the second wife
Of my dear friend
Of forty-five years
Died last night.

You didn't know her.

She died at fifty-six;
For many that's younger,

To Auntie

"Chief of our aunts"--not only I,
But all your dozen of nurselings cry--
"What did the other children do?
And what were childhood, wanting you?"

0218 Paradise Known

O God - or may I call you Lord? –
I remember when I was a child,
You were my best friend, one who knew me
better than I knew myself;
and so I talked to You all the time,
especially when I’d been naughty;
then later on, it was taught me
that I’m made in Your image – that feels good…

I know, just as all children do,


MY muvver's ist the nicest one
'At ever lived wiz folks;
She lets you have ze mostes' fun,
An' laffs at all your jokes.
I got a ol' maid auntie, too,
The worst you ever saw;
Her eyes ist bore you through and through, —
She ain't a bit like ma.
She's ist as slim as slim can be,
An' when you want to slide

! The Loved Stranger

I remembered I'd promised my Aunt Adele before she died
that I'd get in touch with her family in Oz
just to put matters to rest, since they'd not spoken for years
since she upped and went off with this Pom
and left the family without its clever high-earner...

I wasn't looking forward to it with all that bad blood -
'Enough for a vampire's transfusion' said my uncle, the culprit -
but a promise is a promise. I had Auntie's old phone book;
worked out the time here that would be Sunday afternoon in Oz.