Gareth Culshaw is from North Wales. He writes poetry and has been published in various magazines over the years in the UK and USA. He is now venturing into other areas of writing although poetry will always be his main interest.
We had left them in the dark
just flickers of eastern sunlight to shine
but still alone, hoping, praying.
Later, when we came across their bodies
we quickly moved on with ignorance.
Putting their suffering in the back somewhere
rolled up the map of their land.
Turning to dust, illness, disease spread.
Our guilt became a ball and chain.
We moved them in groups. Planting
into stubborn ground, hoping for root growth.
We needed Noria’s to turn again, create much
needed flow. As they all sat under western light.
But nothing changed. We had missed the Al Nahda;
We put them into the ground for no reason.
Leaving their feet without another Dabke.
UP THE STEPS AGAIN
Up the steps which had a crematorium
ending to such a rise. You detected things
would be different after.
Chairs waited, court room straight, mirrors
exposed you enough to feel uncomfortable.
Cigarette smoke danced in the above
newspapers creaked on every page turn
as men sat in waiting room silence.
When it was my turn father would just say
‘Right to the wood’ making me feel nervous
even urging to run out.
A lot of things he use to say I frowned at.
My senses were only just emerging to
see the world around me.
I could not wait to choose my own style.
Soaking up his syllables, thoughts, slang.
I spent many evenings in his company
visiting places, with his out of town twang.
He stood out from the rest. When teenage years
took hold I had things cut my way.
Showing myself to be different. We went our
separate ways for many years. Two roads split
until merging again over time.
Now I am getting older, things are thinning
‘Right to the wood’ seems a certain cut again.
I am slowly going back to what he was himself
like any child, eventually they become their
parents. My tongue stands out in this village
as I live the life he already has.
I should have listened that bit more.
Next to the cattle market
up some steps. A long alleyway
room, where electric looking chairs
The cow dung wafted in sometimes
filling your nostrils with sewage.
My father took us in there only the once.
He was a city boy, so it was new to
Flat cap men, dull coloured clothes
hoof kicking, stomping cattle.
Back then you never knew where
they would go.
Next door, graders ran through, in bends
over hill shaped heads. Tractor chugging
as the old growth fell to the floor.
‘Right to the bone’ he would order
I sat quietly, as the snipping
teeth bumped along.
I was always glad to get out
feeling well mowed. Groaning came
from next door as we left.
Prisoners tinned squeezed into trailers
took to new hills.
The lane is a hundred plus
the three of them stand
like forgotten coffins in a cellar.
Every Sunday hearse slow
a drag of a trolley taking the
weeks fill. My parents
are now one shopping a bag
a week. I envy such mature waste.
But there’s double the people here
and we churn out more to keep
our engines running. Which in turn
spins wheels to rid our
waste from our own eyes. The bins
are coffin silent, hiding the rotting.
So we can carry on, on, wasting ourselves.