Byron Beynon – Six Poems

BWBByron Beynon lives in Swansea, UK. His work has appeared in several publications including The Independent, Cyphers, Quadrant ( Australia), London Magazine, Poetry Wales and The Wolf. A former co-editor of Roundyhouse Poetry magazine, and a recent Pushcart Prize nominee. His most recent collection is Human Shores (Lapwing Publications)


The cicadas already
conduct the sound of the day.
Early conversation in a garden
with olive trees and a view
towards the Mediterranean.
The optimism you had –
being an old man
with crippling arthritis –
for life, health,
the beauty and vigour it could afford.
Inside the house your studio
with armchair, easel,
brushes and frames,
the quiet edges of the room.
The hushed strokes of passing
time, the depth of eye
as figures walk by
flooded in red-golden light,
the sensuality touching
a disclosure of heat.
I have walked a path
that resembles the way she goes,
time’s leafy screens
with those dark trees
arched closer straining to hear
words which are said
but never recalled
on a journey such as this;
I see her now
about to wave,
coming towards me,
gentle proof
that small windows of dappled light
still open to guide the mind.
At low tide
we crossed a path
cloaked from water,
listened to the island’s memory
conversing with a marinade of alphabets.
Standing above
Chateaubriand’s cliff,
the last breathing
riot of day
escaped into stars,
rock pools spangled
with a midnight sky,
seeking the imperishable vein
the blood of words
motioned into light.
They have remembered the victims
with lights and golden triangles by the Seine,
where an old man with history to repeat
spoke of camps, Munich, five years,
the Americans who arrived
to free his indelible speech
for visitors in broken English
to hear by the river
where his words froze
into a space of fear.
Here he crossed the water of decades,
returned there each day, the survivor,
unable to forget.
I slept late that Sunday
morning my father arrived
with news worse than the hangover.
He drove me to a familiar house
where my aunt witnessed
my silence in a world
where flowers came with cards
and neighbours with faded voices
whispered their sorrow.
It was the first time
I’d kept company with death.
A few days later
at the grave’s sharp edge,
feeling the tight-lipped
earth falling from my fingers
I understood her hushed pain,
her blue eyes of grief.
I walked there,
following the road
three miles or so
out of Llansteffan’s reach.
That unhurried summer
the tranquil Tywi flowed
through high August country
as the abundant sun made salt,
soon the river disappeared from view,
I was alone
before a private house,
where amongst the dark
conifers and lattice of dizzy pylons
a childhood world
was one recalled.
His words of celebration and praise
brought me here,
a boyhood recreated
unaware that innocence
would end;
outside that day
a sign warned
Beware Guard Dogs
In Operation,
presented no clue
to his untethered wordscape
where a green fraction of fern
was placed on the mindful page,
an abiding calligraphy,
nature’s reading
by the filigree of strong leaves.
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