Poetry Showcase: Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon (March 2023)

Overheard on Sled Lane in Winter

Treading cautiously downhill,
on snow, sludge 
and ice, 
slipping slightly, 

I saw two worn men,
their heads bent toward each other,
strict Covid-metres apart: 
creased brows confiding feelings, 
bald heads, carelessly exposed.

They saw me. 
Nodded, smiled and said hello
in that old-fashioned, courteous way. 
I returned their greetings, passed by, 
heard drifting skeleton-words, 
she was so good to me, when Margaret went. 

Was Margaret his wife?

Was she a friend, lover, neighbour, daughter, 
sister, doctor, carer? Supermarket cashier?

Sparse clues cued my thoughts 
to loss and comfort,
pain and kindness: 


In that country lane, 
three pairs of eyes brimmed,
red-rimmed by cold winds and warm thoughts:
connections, like mycelium, running underground.

Ode to My Pencil

Oh, leaded pencil, with your scarlet rubber
tip held securely in the grasp of your patterned
metal shaft. I found you on a woodland floor,
abandoned, dropped in error by a careless hand.
Their loss, my gift. Each morning, I greet you,
finger your smooth and slender length, before
using you. How I love to feel you as I puzzle
my hard sudoku and quick crossword to launch
the start of each new day. Together, we search 
horizons for dawn’s warmth in new-born hours,
and spot-on answers to fire my sluggish brain. 
One day, we cannot deny, you will wear down, 
get lost or break and no knife or sharpener 
will revive you. Know this, my dear friend,
instrument of comfort, of letters and of grace, 
you will never be forgotten even if in time, 
you are replaced. Until that end arrives, let us 
join forces, work together as I gently chew
your rubber, stroke your lead, 

crease my brow 
                                                                  and concentrate.

Grieving for Great Grandma

I find my chin on her face, sepia 
printed ninety-five years ago, skin bleached
by flash-bulbs. Flares burst melancholia
through my wide eyes. My dormant heart is reached, 
moved by the sight of her, defences breached.
Her curved belly cradles her child, a girl
herself, unwed. Good chapel preachers screeched,
demanded she repent her sin. A pearl 
ring, often fingered, recalled love’s mad whirl
as downcast she listened to God’s judgement
spat from men’s mouths. Her father, not a churl,
tried to take her part, yet gave his consent
for his daughter to be shamed, to maintain
status. Devastated, she went insane.

Partial Synaesthesia

I hear dog roses pulse pink to white left 
to right, flutter in gusty coastal breezes. 
Can perfume pour through ears, sounds 
swim in noses Memories mix, palettes 
of purple, violet and cream smell warm,
of scones, melted butter, sweet jam –
always blackcurrant. I taste green, 
yellow, Granny’s 4711 cologne 
whispered from her skin. 
I touch her 
chapel singing voice, clear, chill
as mountain pools, light as seagulls’
feathers. I see reverberations, 
out of sight waterfalls 
churn, tumble over stones
and tree stumps. My sixth sense 
instinct, jumbles limbic stirrings,
tunes notes
to ice-cream symphonies
while monkey’s blood runs refrains. 
My adult body, taut and worn, 
yields to childhood

dreams of safety. Again, 
my nose hears, my eyes touch, 
my ears see, my fingers taste, 
my tongue smells milk. And I am 
held sated, warm, flooded, damp, at ease.
monkey’s blood – North East term for the sweet, red sauce often squirted on ice cream cones


My age is one of slow weakening:
joints snatch, memory mists, eyes cloud
and senses subside amid streams
of years racing onward,
ever faster past.
I am happy
to be here
to greet

Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon (MA, Creative Writing, Newcastle University, 2017)
Ceinwen lives near Newcastle upon Tyne, UK and writes short stories and poetry. She is widely published in online magazines and in print anthologies. Her first chapbook is 'Cerddi Bach' [Little Poems], Hedgehog Press, July 2019. Post-retirement from social work, she is developing practice as participatory arts facilitator. She believes everyone's voice counts.

June Poetry Showcase for Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon

Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon (MA, Creative Writing, Newcastle University, 2017)
Ceinwen lives near Newcastle upon Tyne, UK and writes short stories and poetry. She is widely published in online magazines and in print anthologies. Her first chapbook is ‘Cerddi Bach’ [Little Poems], Hedgehog Press, July 2019. Post-retirement from social work, she is developing practice as participatory arts facilitator. She believes everyone’s voice counts.

On Different Pages

She took hours, no days,
searching for the perfect
tome, for him. Her gift 
to her love, for Christmas. 

After Bucks Fizz, croissants
and coffee, they exchange
their presents. He whoops
with delight. She tears

the cheap wrapping paper
to reveal a hairdryer,
(she already has two).
I thought you might,

he says, smarten up.
Now I’ve got promotion.
She excuses herself, leaves
him deep in his book.

The End.

Going Back

Exhausted, she lies down on the forest floor
careless of pricks from pine needles.
Her laboured breathing calms. In sleep
she smiles, restored into her lover’s arms.
Her dreams carry them both through stratospheres,
mercifully freed from her flawed mistake, 
melded back and unified. Here, her betrayal 
is forgiven, laid to rest, at last. Trust’s fed, 
and step by step regrown. Nestled 

on winter’s iron ground, grass-frost 
freezes her from head to toe. Rime 
glazes her clothes. Hypothermic, 
she cannot move, cannot hear 
her darling’s calls to her
as they ricochet around 
the steep valley walls.

After the Storm

Downcast eyes track trudged-up mud paths,
precipitation’s aftermath. Gaze up, 
sunshine’s fresh rays jewel rain into sparklers.

Dreary vistas, dun and mizzled, are bathed 
in crystal light, reborn and dazzling.
Sunshine’s fresh rays jewel rain into sparklers.

Downpours soak those who brave outdoors,
winds blow clouds apart in circles. Rainbows arc,
sunshine’s fresh rays jewel rain into sparklers.

Empty Kennel

Lone Ranger, a proud Alsatian,
we got him as pup. He was always
yours, even though I fed him,
bagged up his shit on long walks.
If I shut my eyes, I hear your voice,
Rangie, Rangie, here boy. Usually
he came back quickly, thankfully.
He wasn’t chipped like dogs today.
When you left me, I lost him too. 

I still dreamt of Ranger, not so much
of you. Tonight, your number flashed
up on my mobile phone, I prepared 
to hear his friendly growl. He’s dead,
you said, a growth. She doesn’t get it,
I know you will. Can you forgive me?

Shifting Sands

On soft sands, footprints soon fill with salt water,

clear marks soon squidge and disappear.
Sundown’s light plays across the beach, 
torches memories, renewed into brief flares.
Clear marks soon squidge and disappear.
Faint eyes shine smiles then trail into mists,
warm memories renew in brief, bright flares.

On soft sands, footprints soon fill with salt water.

Brain Gym Workout in Old Age

I only do hard sudokus,
run by Guardian-Observer newspapers
Thursday through to Sundays.
Monday to Wednesday’s easier grids leave me cold,
so I welcome every Thursday, eager 
to be challenged, once again. Then, gravely
I remember I’m another week
nearer to death 
and I’m wishing my days away.


sculling with both oars
relentless activity
on work’s rough-watered river

or skiving inert through lockdown days
perchance to dream 
and find another way to be

unprecedented times
I never thought I’d have this option
space to write 
break free

can I land my battered craft   
by a sloping bank
lie back and muse

find words to hymn the sky 

Longing for Ross Sands, Northumberland

Landlocked by another lockdown,
I fret for sand between my toes.
Landlocked by another lockdown.

In dreams, waves billow, spray and blow
saltwater on my wrinkled skin.
I fret for sand between my toes.

Sanderlings paddle, lure me in
to freeze my feet in North Sea joy,
saltwater on my wrinkled skin.

Seaside ramblings will never cloy,
I’ll wade and dance in rippling surf,
to freeze my feet in North Sea joy.

I pray before I leave this earth,
landlocked by another lockdown,
I’ll wade and dance in rippling surf,
freed up from my final lockdown.

4 Poems from Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon

My Patient Lover

You stroke my tired, evening neck before a dying fire. 
You’re tried by my absence, neglecting aching
needs of your own.  You gentle my mood 
when agitation rules my restless mind 
and limbs. You sooth my endless
disappointments in myself, 
my acid doubt of others’ 
motives. You say –
look outward
into the welcoming smiles, 
the warmth
of those who now surround you.

In childhood she, my mother, 
blew and blazed, hot and cold. 
She cast me saint or sinner, 
mostly sinner. 

You alone know my truth –
I flinch from accepting love,
it hurts too much.


Each year Flora waits, eager for the scent of wild garlic.
Such a brief flowering. Once, in their early days, 
they’d tumbled, tangled on a woodland floor
in summer, by a Brecon stream.

New to sex, intoxicated 
by skin on skin, eyes staring deep into eyes
drunk on perfumes from crushed alliums.

Last year, she passed seventy.
He does not know her, any longer.
His eyes stare, vacant,
unfocused until 

she offers him her posy 
of ramsons. Briefly,
miraculously, the sight 
and scent stir him.

His hooded eyes shine
and for kind moments
his memory’s 

Once more,
he bathes in her beauty –
his Flora of the Beacons.

*Note: ramsons – another name for wild garlic

Palliative Care

It matters who's around, 
who shares the air, 
who breathes next to me. 
Please, hold my hand. 

I'll cast off alone.


Dead tired, I trudge by our riverbank, sink in mud,
hear cormorants and seagulls shriek and cry.
Bones of old ferry boats pierce through thick sludge,
I wilt beneath ghost-stares wheeling in the sky.

Hear cormorants, and seagulls, shriek and cry;
I long to free souls, trapped in birds, after death.
I wilt beneath ghost-stares wheeling in the sky;
no-one else feels their plight, lonely and bereft.

I long to free souls, trapped in birds, after death;
some young, some ancient, some slaughtered in wars.
No-one feels their plight, lonely and bereft,
how they plea to rest, washed clean on tidal shores.

Some young, some ancient, some slaughtered in wars,
all would forfeit squawking limbo, if only they could.
how they plea to rest, washed clean on tidal shores.
Dead tired, I trudge by our riverbank, sink in mud.

Folklore is rich with stories that brings the dead and birds together, from the first recorded stories right up to the modern day.

3 Republished Poems by Ceinwed E Cariad Haydon

Precious, Stones, Crystals, Healing
photo from pixabay

all poems previously published in Rhythm N Bones Lit Issue 6: Love


Anna breathes safely
in the low-lit break-out room.
Candles, scented rose and musk,
embrace her like a lover.

Feel free - to take time out

For the first time ever since
that time, you know, yes,
that one, only one of many
but the first the worst.

Later, she learnt absence,
to distance her from him

                                       from her body-self

                                 Feel free - to take time out

                                She hugs herself and strokes
                         her scarred arms. Re-joins way-back
                          to here-and-now and times ahead.
                                                 At last
                                               she's freed
                                          and comes back in.

      after The Air Suddenly Goes Cold, music by Olafur Arnalds

by the moon goddess
she stands in whiteness
her light translucent skirts swirl
in gathering ice-breezes
her three faces
crystalline and still

I am afraid of her beauty
afraid of the chill her shade casts
over my bed my body and my mind
as all becomes her
all becomes white

her hand beckons
and I follow mesmerised
I am finished
I am no longer I 
I vanish into her
drawn through her six stark apertures
void of human eyes

Woman as Anchor, Taken for Granted

She dwells under currents of motion,
waves whipped up by restless children,
her partner's parries with the world.

She steadies their long-ship home
tethers it to herself, irrespective of the cost.

The others don't look down, see below.
They cast easy thank yous - when they remember,
small comfort to her freighted soul.

Over time, her metal rusts and she transforms

converts to a lighter feral frame.
Her final frantic storm, cuts her rope.
Salted by all weathers          she drifts away
                                                              free       at    last    to    roam.
Wolfpack Contributor: Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon

Poems from the Fevers of the Mind Anthologies by Ceinwed E Cariad Haydon

Poem by Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon : Release from Quarantine

A Poetry Showcase for Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon

Poems from the Fevers of the Mind Anthologies by Ceinwed E Cariad Haydon

A Poetry Showcase for Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon

Yellow Crocus Flower Opening and Wilting in Time Lapse on a Black  Background by Sagrata
Wild Cleansing

I lie in warm places on prickled turf,
stare up into cyan skies, drift and gather wool.
I swim in cool streams, bob in currents, 
surf downstream. I discover waterfalls,
take fresh showers, bathe in ponds 

and rinse smeared grease 
from my mind’s grimed pane. 

By the River Tyne

Mist drizzles low light grey.
Her cable-stitched, black beanie
absorbs damp from the cold air,
and from her curly, silvered hair.

She’s walked five miles, briskly –

intent on keeping warm. Her gloved hands
touch rough-barked trunks of bare trees.
Her eyes follow waterfowl and other creatures.
Her feet take her familiar path without question. 

She rambles each day, with few surprises
and great pleasure, wandering in all weathers. 
Her trips keep hope alive, in Covid times:
help her lose herself, mentally meandering.

Splash! Splash! Splash! 

Startled she swivels, boots grating on gravel.
A swimmer, today … surely no one would.
She stares, a dark mound rises, disappears.
Is this someone on the edge, who’s had enough...

She holds her breath, hears asthmatic wheezing: sees
another rush of spray, another brash and reckless Splash!
A honk, a prima-donna roll, a reel around in circles.

Then all is still. She bends her head. Blessed.

A cyclist passes on the dual track, Guess what, 
she shouts at his back, I’ve seen a seal, today. 
He nods, and rides away to somewhere else.


          Your face shines through glass,
            dazzles my eyes. Still waiting
                for lockdown to end.
              Time difference synced:
      spare words pulse love’s overflow.
            Transatlantic voices crack.
              Birthday party plans.
     Mama, will Granny come round?
      Mama, is she cross with me?
     Your brave doorstep smiles:
 your stoic words say you’re fine,
    your lips tremble otherwise.
          Music makes her cry.
   Memories of hugs and smiles –
      ghosts echo absent comfort.
       Long allotment days 
   return with nesting swallows.
Gardeners drink distanced toasts.


Ancient Sisters

Your pearl-cast eyes look outwards 
into dark glass, no-one looks back.
Your flared skirts fray, stray threads 
spool away. Your thin-soled shoes,
tread on snowy pavements, seep ice
into your veins. Your tor’shell comb
claws and scrapes your hairless scalp

lined with raised scars from falls. 
Your hand trembles, finds mine. 
You kindle my love, find my warmth. 
Your mind regains my lost focus 
in the long-shared space between us.

Yellow Crocus

Last March a yellow crocus caught my eye,
and balmy winds sprung dreams of summer days.
I didn’t snap its beauty on my phone,
I believed better blooms would follow.
By Easter, old tiles had blown off my roof,
grim clouds smudged sun’s rays clean out of my mind.

I thought I’d use lockdown to clear my mind,
create new furnishings soft on the eye.
On grey days, water found holes in my roof
and my intentions proved hard to follow.
Yellow crocus yearnings mocked many days,
I wished I had an image on my phone

I wasted time, doom-scrolling on my phone,
until despondency silted my mind.
Concentration fled, no lead to follow,
distracted by whatever snatched my eye.
Yellow crocus’s absence grimed my days
and dust settled, blown through my hole-strewn roof.

Nightly, I stargazed – used gaps in my roof
to capture yellow flowerings on my phone.
Astral blossoms, crocus ghosts, softened days.
Gentled, I reassembled my sad mind –
started to notice, wipe tears from my eyes,
reached out, touched, saw loving kindness follow

Our old maps are now useless to follow,
I must hone new skills, learn to mend my roof.
Resilience requires a steady eye,
I’ll record my progressions on my phone
and limit news-scrolling that wounds my mind. 
Yellow crocus’s inspire hope these days.

Fierce times have coursed through this last year’s long days,
now another spring will burst and follow.
Yellow crocus’s grow, light up my mind.
Soon I’ll mix with friends beneath my good roof,
we’ll leave Zoom behind, arrange dates by phone,
value fine treats nature gifts to our eyes.

Flowering days with a watertight roof,
support hope to follow. Pics on my phone,
nudge my mind, but never replace my eyes.

Wolfpack Contributor: Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon 

4 Poems from Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon

Bio: Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon [MA Creative Writing, Newcastle, UK, 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 and is a Pushcart and Forward Prize nominee. She is developing practice as a participatory arts facilitator and believes everyone’s voice counts.