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A maker, worker, and writer,
Ben Gwalchmai is the critically acclaimed author of the novel Purefinder .
Ben has written for the New Statesman, Huffington Post, Imperica, and Welsh National Opera to name a select few.
Most recently, he has been published in Know Your Place: Essays on the Working class by the Working Class. Poetry Wales, IWA, and Nation. Cymru.
He is the co-founder of Labour for indyWales, lives in the area of Powys he’s from, and this is his first poetry collection.
Cover design by Domini McMunn
138 x 216mm
£8.99 + P&P UK
swimming in locks //
kites over marches
At the heart of the structure of this collection is a juxtaposition between locks and the red kite. But which kind of lock? And which kind of kite? They wrestle their meanings. Just as the collection wrestles with the Anthropocene we’ve made, just as the poet wrestles with Anglo-Welsh /Welsh /Borders /Gororau identity, just as there’s space given on borders for languages to bleed. In all this, the collection looks to answer ‘Who speaks for [the] Wales[es of Maldwyn]?’
Barrug // Hoarfrost
Crystalline first thing, it gave
a sense of poise;
the cool pregnant air
Promising to teem, it gave
a season to growth;
the slick gossamer
An hour's death. The path's
muddy, the air's sucked, and
the frost has gone but the wet
– that viscous, that claim, that
taint – has flooded the scene.
Each step, a muddy sweetening.
Many a good woman has married a horse
Many a good woman has married a horse.
In the horses eyes, they see promise
and in the legs, riches.
Many a good man has slept with horses.
In the horse's mouth, they find comfort
and in that stench, luck.
Many a good child has slain a horse.
In the horse's death, they see caring
and in its blood, love.
Many a good fool has married a woman.
Many a good fool has married a man.
Many a good fool has amused a child
and in being kicked to death, loved.
Many a mourner has married a woman.
Many a mourner has married a man.
Many a mourner has amused a child
and in being kicked to death, loved.
Many horses make light work of love.
straw cut blackberry
Straw cut, blackberry, hot brash;
glints like flints does, blue teeth –
some put death in the cut
but it's only the turning of the crop.
Stranger dressed gaudy, going by;
flourescent orange jumps hedge –
some put depth in the jump
and it’s only the living of the boy.
I sit in the field,
the field sits in me.
SWIMMING IN LOCKS (extract)
Locks are a meeting
where arbitration is
successful and desires, met.
Every person is a lock,
each lock a personage.
Each of us can be picked
every time we click.
To live in a lock house,
to be lock keepers,
is to crave regular
few wind lasses come here
now and the wind has never
moved the lock much.
You live in Lock House,
a house of locks –
glint mechanics, metal
yet rigid & fixed on
your withdrawal & return –
to which I ask,
'Which kind of key?
KITES OVER MARCHES
The indifferent scale.
The quarry, the calcite,
the silicon, the mine,
the lorry, the sulphite,
nanocarbon, the time.
Yet you breed.
Overuse, worlds of health.
The mangroves, the fishing,
the resulting, the dams,
the lostwove, the locking,
polyhalite, the cans.
Yet you survive.
You see all this, all this loss,
and somehow scavenge a thriving
from our killing your home.
You are enough to give a man hope
Dreams freeing and trapping in equal measure,
what do your brother gweilch dream of?
Enough wood to rebuild a wood,
enough car parts for a car factory,
enough plastic to scupper Tupperware.
Constituency territories, fleeing for feeding
but returning for breeding – tens of miles.
Do you see a time when all that wood is yours?
Do you see a time when cars have run their run?
Do you see me, with you?
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