Monday 12 June 2023

Five Poems by Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon


After Visiting Dove Cottage

So, Mr Wordsworth,
inside Dove Cottage’s darkened rooms, tiny,
with slight gifts of light spilt through cobwebbed
windows, you wrote your works. Children scooted
round your feet or tugged your dominant, inked hand
and thinning hair. Cries of Dada ricocheted around
when Dorothy or Mary let slip their stoic minding of
these lively sprites, offspring of your loins. Distempered,
stone walls embraced your tribe; feet skidded on floors, damp
with run-off from the hills.
                                         Coated up, you sought air, space
and inspiration on high fells, before returning
to distil
wild experience
                         into rare poetics.
Sorely you were tried
amid domesticity’s rude chaos. Yet consider: how much
further were your wife and sister stretched. Did you
acknowledge their sacrifices? Today, I ponder on
how their youthful musings, their desires, possibly slid
away –
when lacking time and energy to concentrate
on matters of the mind, endlessly denied
access to dreaming’s fertile uplands.
                                                       Dorothy’s journals whisper
secrets slipped beneath all-consuming mundanities. In another age
she might have born other words, other forms, to life. Mary
carried on, uncomplaining.
                                          Two loyal women, they both loved you,
loved your work, loved your progeny, but I think they paid a price.
You thrived, as your busy family jumbled to survive.


Internal Dialogue Whilst Waiting for Transport

Would you want to know. Know what.
Know if you were dying. I don’t
know, maybe. Do you fear the end.
Everything ends. Are you reconciled
to ending, to fading into nothing.
Perhaps there is something, but
I doubt it. The appointment letter
sits on my mantelpiece. Today,
my consultant will say. Prosecco’s
chilling in the fridge, to celebrate
or commiserate, with myself. Later.
The others, the ones that mattered,
are long gone. They were brave
enough to face their fate, except
my cruel mother who passed
peacefully in her sleep. Me,
I guess I’ll rage at the dying
of the light. My taxi’s here.



Raindrops dangle from windswept snowdrops,
heads bent towards the earth. Poppies, blood-red,
petals scattered by storms. Crows’ petrolled corpses
are spiked on barbed wire by shattered farmers. Famine
is caused by man-made sieges. Funeral masses are sung
alongside marching songs. Sons wave goodbye.
Fathers’ orphan children to save natal lands
from other fathers. How long
will this go on.

When will mothers cry for joy again –
and ploughshares pattern fields, seeded
to grow, in peace.



Unprecedented Weather

Roofs have blown off two houses
in our street, pandemic winds
have seen to that. First one dad left,
then another, exposing home schooled
children and their careworn mothers
to lessons far beyond their control.

Even where pantiles or slates remain,
tempests erode inhabitants within.
Ugly arguments pound shared lives
locked down in claustrophobic
living rooms and airless bedrooms.
Kitchens are sharp with carving knives

ready to slice food for poorly seasoned
meals; times when no one laughs
or talks, except in temper. Apparently,
storm damage is the norm, nowadays.
At last, today seems calmer. I spotted
a woodpecker; soon after, a roofer called.



In many ancient cultures, the symbolism of the woodpecker is associated with wishes, luck, prosperity, and spiritual healing. Other cultures consider the woodpecker to represent hard work, perseverance, strength, and determination.


Moving On

The season shifts from winter
into early spring. Sunshine
shows up her dirty windowpanes,
then calls her outside to walk
rather than clean. She considers
what to wear. Leaves in a fleece
but quickly retreats for more layers
as a north-easterly waters her eyes
and nips her cheek. Warmly clad
and booted, she strides out, picks
up pace and breathes deep in hope
of a freer year. Confined for too long,
she decides to take her chances,
unmask in places where others meet
outdoors; share smiles and chatter
at a sensible distance. Clear headed
in the open air, she’s come to learn
nothing’s certain in this strange life.
Today’s hidden hazards could always
end her tomorrows.



Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon, [MA Creative Writing, Newcastle 2017]

Ceinwen lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and writes short stories and poetry. She has been widely published in web magazines and in print anthologies, most recently in Northern Gravy and Sylvia Magazine.  She is a Pushcart and Forward Prize nominee. Her first chapbook 'Cerddi Bach (Little Poems), was published in 2019 by Hedgehog Press.  She is developing practice as a participatory arts facilitator, mainly working with elders and intergenerational groups. She believes everyone’s voice counts.

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