Poet of the Month

2021: Poets featured as Poet of the Month 

January: Rebecca Lowe (Wales).
February: Jim Gronvold (USA). 
March: Carolyn Mary Kleefeld (USA).
April: Tozan Alkan (Turkey).
May: Byron Beynon (Wales).
June: Michelle Chung (USA). 
July: Jim Gwyn (USA).
August: Jonathan Taylor (England).
September: Beata Poźniak (USA).
October: Maria Taylor (England).
November: Stanley H. Barkan (USA).
December: John Dotson (USA).

2022: Poets featured as Poet of the Month 

January: Maria Mastrioti (Greece).
February: Gayl Teller (USA).
March: Mike Jenkins (Wales).
April: Cassian Maria Spiridon (Romania).
May: Simon Fletcher (England)
June: Sultan Catto (USA)
July: Vojislav Deric (Australia)
August: K. S. Moore (Ireland)
September: Kristine Doll (USA)
October: Tammy Nuzzo-Morgan (USA)
November: Christopher Norris (Wales)
December: Maria Mazziotti Gillan (USA)

2023: Poets featured as Poet of the Month 
January: Samuel Ezra (Wales)
February: Tôpher Mills (Wales)
March: Rob Cullen (Wales)
April: Mandira Ghosh (India)
May: John Greening (England)
June: Rosy Wood-Bevan (Wales)
July: David Hughes (Wales)
August: Peter Fulton (USA)
September: Tiger Windwalker (USA)
October: Laura Wainwright (Wales)
November: Humayun Kabir (USA)
December: Alan Peterson (USA)

2024: Poets featured as Poet of the Month 
January: John Eliot (France)
February: Sanjula Sharma (India)
March: Derek Webb (Wales)
April: Jo Mazelis (Wales)
May: Robert Minhinnick (Wales)

 
 JUNE POET OF THE MONTH:
SALLY ROBERTS JONES (WALES)
Sally Roberts Jones (c) 2024 Sally Roberts Jones

 

 

London Welsh by birth, Sally Roberts Jones spent most of her life in Wales. Librarian by profession, but later a free-lance writer and lecturer, for the WEA etc. In the Sixties she was in London, helping to kick-off the so-called 'Second Flowering' of Anglo-Welsh literature with such fellow poets as John Tripp and Bryn Griffiths, but in 1967 she came back to Wales and has been based in Port Talbot ever since.

         Sally has published four poetry collections, but also books on local history, on Anglo-Welsh writers and stories for children. Her most recent publication was 'Dic Penderyn: the Man and the Martyr' , a biography of Richard Lewis, executed for his part in the Merthyr Rising of 1831. She is currently working on a new poetry collection and on the second edition of 'Welcome to Town, the story of Port Talbot's pubs'.

 

IN THE MUSEUM

This is from Ur of the Chaldees, he said,
Placing it in my palm.
I feel it still, the little pot,
Earth coloured, just a trace
Of paint on the dusty surface.
Work of a craftsman then,
Practical, useful – beautiful,
Its curve fitting my human grasp.

So much is destroyed, now this holds
All art in its shape, all knowledge,
All that we are, or can be …
The First Directive is this,
To keep it safe.

(c) 2024 Sally Roberts Jones


THE NIGHT MARKET, BATU FERINGHI, PENANG

This is not for foreigners.
We are allowed to take part
And there are, of course, certain concessions
To our lack of taste -
The gaudy trinkets that only post-modern irony
Would permit in the kampong.
But for the rest …
T-shirts galore, watches and DVDs, shoes -
Usable everyday things,
Bargains for all,
Homebase and Poundstretcher
Translated to warmer climes -
And friendlier crowds.

(c) 2024 Sally Roberts Jones


LISTENING TO D-DAY,  JUNE 6th, 1944

A hot summer day.
Clothes on the line dance in the passing breeze.
Nan brings out lemonade.
I gather the rose petals, making pretend ice-cream
(Which, just then, is only a word,
Like bananas or oranges).

And now, in the distance, the thumping begins -
And my mother invents an excuse.
"They`re testing the guns," she says,
"At Woolwich Arsenal."
                           Far off, on the beaches,
Men are dying. My uncle is there
And soon we will visit him,
Bandaged, in a hospital
That was once an asylum.

(c) 2024 Sally Roberts Jones


MARGAM MOUNTAIN

The map declares it old, in lettering
Spiky as battlements. Across the beaten grass
Stray dowdy sheep; above, the white clouds pass
Over to Margam, and the yellowing
Billows from craning chimneys. Pastoral?
Quiet enough, the wind in distant pines
Sighing for Bodvoc, and the broken wall
Slanting across the sheep-tracks and the lines
Of forestry fencing...
                           Here every stone
Clings to its inch of soil; the monument
Shelters the dead from hunger as from pain,
Traces in bone and scar the hard descent.
Below, in the stark intrusion of the mills
Others renew the battle for the hills.

(c) 2024 Peter Thabit Jones


SNAPPING THE OLD HOUSE

"What do you think you are doing ?"  she asked.
"We used to live here," I said.
"A long time ago."
The balcony was gone, the one I must never stand on,
And the fig tree that wasn't,
My grandmother's tidy flower bed …
But the laurel tree was there, marking assorted graves:
My mother's spaniel, my tortoise, several goldfish -
Though I suspect that we ate the rabbits.

"I live in the upstairs flat," she told me.
"Downstairs the old lady died,
Laid there for days till somebody happened to find her –
That must have been after your time."

But I knew that it wasn't.
Coming in after work with her supper
I knew she was gone.
Three hours at most she was left. And her mother was with her,
Easing her way into silence.

But the neighbour preferred something tragic,
A better story:
Loneliness, sorrow, decay ...
The matter of legend.

(c) 2024 Sally Roberts Jones


LAST WEEK

On the first day the wind rose -
Furious, apocalyptic.
'Strange for the time of year,'
Said the old men sitting on the park bench -
And went home.

On the second day it was hail,
Stinging the shoppers awake.
'This will be bad for trade,'
Said the woman behind the counter -
And closed the door.

On the third day the rain -
Unceasing, quietly flooding the streets.
They really should clear out the drains,'
Said the housewife, sweeping her path.

On the fourth day came snow -
There were rumours of looting,
'Bread only for customers – and no milk,
Said the girl in the shop, spraying polish
On the floor she was cleaning.

On the fifth day the fog settled in.
Children played games in the darkness.
`I can`t get to bridge,`
Said the pensioner, watching
Two buses collide.

On the sixth day the scientists gathered,
Held a conference, passed resolutions.
'It's the greenhouse effect,' they decided,
'We must get a research grant to study it,
Plant some more trees.'

On the seventh day - there was nothing.
They came out of their doors: no hail, no flooding, no tempest -
No excuses,
No world.

(c) 2024 Sally Roberts Jones


ENROLMENT EVENING. Bryn House

All these eager seekers after enlightenment!
Jolly middle-aged ladies, mostly with friends;
House husbands wanting a moment away from the stove;
Young wives, trying not to succumb to the gut-call of nappies,
A few rebels, discreetly conforming.

Once they'd have channelled this fervour
Into blackleading grates
Or polishing doorsteps or brass.
(And we still half expect the domestic:
In this room where we sit,
Sink units and cookers,
The blurred glass of a kitchen extension.)

And once all of these skills
Would have come as a part of the pattern
That was learnt every day:
Those grace notes of life that made bearable
So much contempt.

Not great art, but a honing of minds
That brings greatness in reach.

(c) 2024 Sally Roberts Jones


POEMS FOR HIS CHILDREN 

                           In memory of Edward Thomas

Critics condemn them, of course;
Mere bagatelles,
Fancies for children, a game for an idle hour.
They do not know
What the names represent.

Shellow Bowels, Lillyputs, Skreens,
Havering, Pyrgo – he knew.
Could not have ignored them,
Those legends of terror and pain.

Which was the queen that he saw
In Havering Palace alone? And refused
That green mound to his child after all?
Mad Joanna, perhaps, condemned by a son-in-law's greed
To the fire as a witch; or Elizabeth,
In company always alone, recalling a desolate child.
Daughter of shadows, married to power ?
                                                      -Oh, he knew,
No doubt of it, just what they meant,
Those pleasant quaint names.

And less glamorous tales  -
Rice Lougher, the drover, hung up
Beside his two friends
In the market place just down the road,
Condemned for a theft.
Or Elizabeth Balls, who became
The Havering Goatwoman,
Sage on a carpet of shit,
Reprover of fools.

No, not for the scholars such things,
But he would have heard,
Heard and known kinship with these,
The lost and the weak of the earth

Codham, Cockridden, South Weald:
A history fit for the damned:
Margaretting and Cockerells, Skreens,
Dagnams – and Gallows Corner.

(c) 2024 Sally Roberts Jones