A Poetry Showcase from Annest Gwilym

green and brown abstract painting

photo from unsplash by Jene Stephaniuk

On Finding an Edward VII Coronation Medallion on the Beach

When days were like coins
slipping easily through my fingers
I saw it, rinsed and tided,
an edge of gold on the beach.

Smaller than a penny,
rimmed and tanged with tarnish,
at first I thought Celtic hoard –
a hill fort overlooking the shore.

A spill of thoughts of fortune
tumbled; ended when I cleaned it 
and it revealed two vague heads
of a King and Queen.

A coat of arms on the back –
the date 9 August 1902 –
blurred by the weight and grind 
of a hundred years of tides.

Uprooted from the moon’s pull,
dark-sided drag on the beach, 
placed in a glass cabinet,
it will not decay, become ill or old.

The Sea Captain's Daughter

I was the sea captain’s daughter
raised on tales of rounding the Horn,
the interminable blue vastness of oceans,
in a house full of Orientalia –
Chinese vases, carved wooden fishermen,
delicate cork landscapes in lacquered cases.

My soul was a poet’s, a poet my love.
A distant ship on the horizon,
he sailed past me, parting the waters.
The enormity of night
and day’s bright, white dome
brought him no closer.

With pinched lips I taught my class
about him; no other would do
so I filled my house with finery –
velvet drapes the colour of twilight,
beeswaxed parquet flooring,
the best crystal and china.

As winter comes again,
his death early in the year,
I am left with cavernous nights,
white mornings of mist and desolation,
my love a well-thumbed volume
marked ‘Cynan’ on the shelf.

The Desolation of Holiday Homes

St. David's Day

Today, prime-location rooms 
are flooded with lake-light:
jellied, wobbling on walls, unseen.

Dust motes are gilded in this house
that is empty for ten months a year,
furnishings damp, hearth full of ashes.

The horns of some dead animal
adorn the hallway, a creature’s pelt
sprawls on the parquet floor.

Mirror-like windows – blind eyes,
blink as the sun plays Midas
with the sunset’s colours.

A forgotten piece of cheese
in the fridge hardens 
to the consistency of toenail parings.

Weeds choke the flower beds
of pale daffodils in a froth
of algae green, drowned lemon.

A crinkle of dry beech leaves
crusts the driveway,
carries the scent of decay.

Fog-weary faces of daisies
hide in the overgrown grass,
beaded with secret dew.

Worn mountains look on –
holding the aspirations of the ages –
with their many scars, slippage of scree.

Always in Lavender

Great Aunt May lived on the road to the beach
in a small Welsh fishing village.
Buck-toothed as a donkey, whiskery,
her home was a cabinet of wonders
for us children, spending summer holidays
in our grandfather’s house next door.

Said to be unmarried because of 
a desperate love for local poet Cynan,
she was the smartest woman in the village.
Clothes from Bon Marché in Pwllheli –
with matching shoes, hat and gloves –
worn with pride each Sunday to chapel.

In the front parlour, her glass cabinet
held all kinds of marvels –
sugar cubes in a crystal bowl
and silver tongs to handle them.
China lion ornaments guarded
each side of the mantelpiece.

She never looked at the painting of Salem 
in the back parlour, ominous to me –
the Devil’s face hidden in the crook of the arm 
of the well-dressed, Welsh-hatted Siân Owen
in chapel, proud of her elaborate shawl,
oblivious to the sin of vanity.

Poetry by Annest Gwilym : Rhosmeirch ’71

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Annest Gwilym

Bio: Author of two books of poetry: Surfacing (2018) and What the Owl Taught Me (2020), both published by Lapwing Poetry. What the Owl Taught Me was Poetry Kit’s Book of the Month in June 2020 and one of North of Oxford’s summer reading recommendations in 2020. Annest has been published in numerous literary journals and anthologies, both online and in print, and placed in several writing competitions, winning one. She was the editor of the webzine Nine Muses Poetry from 2018-2020. She is a nominee for Best of the Net 2021. Twitter: @AnnestGwilym

By davidlonan1

David writes poetry, short stories, and writings that'll make you think or laugh, provoking you to examine images in your mind. To submit poetry, photography, art, please send to feversofthemind@gmail.com. Twitter: @davidLOnan1 + @feversof Facebook: DavidLONan1

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