The poetry of Dai Jenkins

Llunwyr Lluniau ~ The Picturemakers: a collective of artists working near Aberystwyth

Cwm Rheidol

In wet summers
ferns thrive, and shiny
hart’s tongue grow, 
feet long, beneath dripping trees.

Tangles of bracken stretch across, 
overwhelming hogweed and hemp,
smothering valerian and vetch, 
and disturbing the lady’s bedstraw.

Tufts of spleenwort cling
to masonry on the bridge.
An old roadside quarry is hung
with swirls of wintergreen ferns.

The rushing river is edged with 
greens of reed beds, and the banks below the
steep woods are swathed with mountain fern
steaming in the afternoon sun.

In the evening, blue sky appears,
reflecting the water with pink-tinged clouds;
And shadowy lime-kiln walls 
are curtained with maidenhair.

Cwm Rheidol in the Fall.

The valley is as still as an icicle. 
The air, clear as cleaned glass.
The electric tints burn, blaze,
flame, glow and smoulder like
a kaleidoscopic still life as in
a Cezanne bowl of colour. 
Russet peach, burnt custard, 
pale corn yellow, maple purple,
silvered and fiery red rust,  
black-bruised ripe banana
yellow leaves with 
ash blue coppered veins lay,
flooring a forest of magnificent 
mahogany browns.  				

The Cwm in November

It’s early winter, and the Cwm is still still. 
So far, no storm or gust has stripped, ripped, or freed
the fragile leaves from the dressed and silent trees, 
thus leaving an Autumn technicolour tapestry
of Tintorreto hues warmed by  hazy sunshine.
Then, gradually, there is movement. The landscape 
begins to breathe, quietly, like a child’s pulse.
The long grasses are first to stir, dislodging
tiny mice from their tops, soon the shrubs
bend, curve and bow in the draught, then the
trees themselves are caught in the rising squall.
leaves are plucked, and propelled into the air,
revealing a skeletal picture of blackened boughs.

The Cwm at Night

The blanket darkness              
blinds my sight, twitterings
from long-tailed tits, quiet cello
murmurings from the brook
and a gulp of gentle wind
open the concert, an adagio of the night. 
Nearby, a heron frightens me,
it takes off with a whoop, then
slowly flaps its wings with
cotton wool whisperings
and moves out of sound. A branch
cracks and crashes, geese honk,
a blackbird with the voice of castrati
sings loudly, a fox crunches the crisp fallen leaves,
finches chirp and chatter, rooks caw, owls mewl,
wrens tinkle like china cups in a train,
and then, as if to end this prelude, there is
a horrible screech from a bird in fear.
A lightning jet rends the air
and concludes the orchestration.

The walrus at the poetry workshop.

He bristles, scowls, and certainly doesn’t
clap when I (The carpenter of words) tell him
that my piece will be about a valley: 
‘Nature poems are a NO NO NO! oh no!
not again, please not again.’ I persevere
and read below his flinching ear.….

The Cwm in Snow.

Beneath the low ceiling of cumulous clouds
the felted coverlet is an octave of white,
smooth, crisp and pale in the early light.
As yet, no sound, just an interlude. I wait
for a wrens twitter, a ravens cough, or
perhaps a raucous chuckle from a passing magpie.
Later, the early sun shines bleakly, picking up colours.
The elephant-grey bark of an oak, light blue ash,
dark elm and black beech are silhouetted against
a pale canvas background. Sheep urinate, leaving 
verdigris ovals on the virgin snow. On the raised rocks,
lichens and moss bring  grey-green, blue and red-brick
dyes into the picture. Early gorse, a single box tree 
and some holly-bushes add their colour to the scene……



He hurrumphs and heaves his bulk to the nearby pub,
perhaps to hide his half agreements? Or just to 
wallow in a  confession that, maybe, just maybe,
the carpenter may have, against all odds, got it right?

The Aeron in flood

Looking down from lovers bridge
the water has the look of builders’ tea,
dark brown and slightly sinister.

It swirls, sucks, swallows, and then
drops smoothly over the weir 
erupting into Horlicky foam.

The sewin fight their way against the flow,
hell-bent in getting to their breeding ground
where they and their ancestors were born.

Inland, the river is narrower,
fiercer, and in its rage, dislodges
rafts of vegetation towards the sea.

In the debris-full harbour 
the murky water eases out of
the narrow exit towards the horizon.

Leaving a huge chocolate tear in the bay.