Commissioned Poem for Cymru’n Cofio – Estyn yn Ddistaw- Wales Remembers



for Gwilym Williams


Pixels break a thousand spaces

where floating faces rise.


Sun clambers over hills

to a black cross.


That shines your eyes

back into it,


breathing in villages, towns, cities

mourning cemented onto walls.


Plumed objects placed in corners

looking back at us.



Your poems tell me

how you loved these lanes:


Primroses, brambles, lichen,

moss, birches thickening.


Walking to school, a prison

to a small boy with dirty knees


you chewed a pencil

until teeth touched lead.


Then something flecked

its ambition:


An inscape mediated

the inscribed hymn


of fire, hearth, light.

Patterns on water


unlocked a spell of belonging

homing into books.


The heart’s machine tells us

there is more than this.


But if we can, we return

wrestling with nostalgia.


The hurt of humanity,

its exoskelelton


branding the world,

stammering  untold prayers.


Yet you, I, we, they, believe

in something more:


Pan welaf athrofa y werin

yn uno fy nghenedl i gyd.


Something that exceeds self

makes space for thought–


beyond the hardware

that litters our sky.


And in a village

a woman tells a child:


On his return he could not walk

into the kitchen.


He asked for paraffin to douse

the lice that covered his body.


Under a willow he stripped

before he could be touched.