I don’t need to tell anyone that here in the UK we are reeling in the midst of political upheaval. But life has to carry on, and poetry with it.

These are poems conceived in the past, but human concerns don’t change with political storms. We walk in a landscape of present and past with Maureen Weldon. We imagine a recluse’s garden with Angela Topping on Emily Dickinson. Then back comes the grip of panic, confusion and loss of all sense of place or connection, with Gary Beck’s Pilgrim.

So we look for consolation to another poet from our tradition, Dylan Thomas. John Yates walks round Laugharne and discovers that even the larger than life Dylan Thomas has gone.

Hard times, my friends. Keep writing, keep going, with whatever it is that makes any sense to you.

Contributions to Keep Poems Alive may be sent via email to sallyevans 35 at gmail dot com. Poems first published at least three years ago, please, and they must be your copyright. Other languages than English are welcome with your own translation. Associated photos are optional.

Rhydymwn better

Maureen Weldon

Yesterday was a walking day,
in a Welsh Valley – whispers
past an ice age.
‘Invited guests only,’ we were told.
Like sharing dreams
we wandered to the wetland,
where teasel flowers live:
nesting boxes for sand martins:
big sandy cylinders on poles;
a sort of porch, an extension on the edge.

Yesterday was a walking day,
in the Welsh Valley.
Many things happened:
‘hush, hush’ World War Two:
the making of mustard gas,
bombs, and the nearly splitting of the atom.
Hush, hush bats live there now
in the high tower laboratory.

Yesterday was a walking day,
in that Welsh Valley.
It was Autumn.
being so old, yet young,
the sun dipped and dyed
colours on the trees. Wind
made a slight rustle around a sleeping Ash.

Published in Crannóg issue23, Spring 2010, The Chester Poets Anthology, Habitats of the Mind 2010, and Poetry Space 2014.


Angela Topping
A Garden for Emily Dickinson

There’s a bird on the walk.
The flowers are all white:
white roses, white lilies,
white blossom on the trees.

The small lawn is trimmed
precisely within an inch
of its roots. The path shines,
a parting finely dividing hair.

A frog is croaking ‘nobody’.
A line of white dresses wafts
decorously, showing no sign
that last night was a wild one.

 First published in Paper Patterns, Lapwing 2012

Gary Beck

Leaving my land, place, roots,
another strange American
dazed with hungers,
breakfast cereal anticipations
for change, glory, just enough lust
to risk Moloch-belly flames
licking fire at asbestos bones,
spinning and circling a torturous orbit
returning me to beginnings,
stubborn, ruthless, orphan greedy,
playing no more rhymes on my toes, Granpa,
past twiddling, caring about rag clad dreams,
leaving me shivering for survival
from frostbite of vindictive atoms
unseen in the bustling commotion
in the churning harbor of unrest.

First published in Pigeon Bike, 2011



John Yates

We strolled around Laugharne slow paced,
the ghost of Dylan Thomas
guiding us along the way, or maybe
it was the sound the wind whistling.

We reached his garage, took a breather.
I recall its small size, green paint wood
overlooking the extensive estuary.

A picture taken we marched on
to Seaview his home
now a place of historical interest.
I smoked cigs under duress from staff
and imagined what was here
and has now gone.