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The colour scheme, all of the fittings, even

the rectangular reproduction,

above the bed, of an abstracted landscape

that might be desert or water, sunrise

or dusk reflected in the wardrobe’s mirror

were exact replicas of all those

he had already seen in all the rooms

he had stayed in the centre of cities,

on the edge of towns, at all compass points.


There was always, however, one difference –

the view. Through the sealed, double-glazed window

he could see an empty office block

with one blind still drawn on the sixth floor.



Turning down the steep lane to the strand,

I felt that tightening of the legs and saw

the hedgerows of convolvulus and woodbine

descend serpentine to the wide, empty bay…


…it might be a couple of bars of music,

the way the light falls, a voice in the street,

some words in a book, whatever it might be

it becomes as real, as substantial

as a taste, a smell, a sound, something

that must be made, words that must be written…




In a one storey Gothic-kitsch building

with small steeples – where Abbey Road meets

Mill Street – attached to the Bridge End Hotel,

opposite the pelican crossing,

angled on the corner of Wharf Hill

that leads steeply up to the canal

and, over the narrow, hump-backed bridge,

left to Ysgol Dinas Brân and right

through the sheep fields and onto the hills

there is an eclectic bestiary:

the hare about to box, the barn owl roosting,

the erect meerkat,



‘It is no hero, no ideal, just the industrially reproduced body

of a middle-aged man trying to remain standing and trying to breathe.’ Anthony Gormley


They are still standing and their slow carapace

of barnacles breathes. Small pools of eaten

razor clams and star fish lie at their feet – fry

dart amongst seaweed fronds and the dead.

An off shore breeze brings the calls of distant

sea birds close. The RNLI flag stiffens

and plastic kites,



January is like navigating

ice floes – then eventually heading east

for aromatic landfalls, or west

following the setting sun, or south

for the long haul like some latter day Cook,

journeying without guides into foreign parts.


The first port of call is in February.

Love fills the sails, the swell lifts the bow.

We met one July, married one August.

In May our daughter will be fifty one.

The bow lifts in the swell, the canvas fills with love.



We had finished the baked camembert

and begun to talk of the future

when we heard a dog fox bark up on the Downs

and went quickly into the garden.

The moon was full, large and low. The imagined,

fabricated constellations glimmered

in the polluted air. The fox was silent

or gone softly over the flints and the chalk

and all we had was the memory

of that wild sound across the long years

of settlement – like the echo of a star.