Then spree

poetry & diary by Nia Davies

Month: December, 2009

Christmas number one 1984

Band aid

They said
nothing ever grows
but everything comes up here
acacia honey, bees in their own juices,
and rain or rivers do flow,
do you know?

Awash, blue Nile, Omo
sunbirds in the wall, Lalibella –
the oldest Christmas of all.

they sung a parting gift
this gesture
a ticket
a hairy sheen,
wistful mouth dilations

It’s Christmas time,
and do you know?

lakes of tea, tilapia
crocodiles unseen in
the silt of the rift
any rift, our rift
do you know what you’re missing
at all?
at all?

shepherd slinging
meso meso
kumbala kumbala
yeah yo?
chewing-wads, green cheek,
glutinous smiles
and do you know?
for twenty five years

a three-pound song
untorn from its plastic
loosened guilt, was that all?
Twenty five years of missing the point, and
do you know anything about Ethiopia
At all?

Performed as part of Roddy Lumsden’s Christmas number one project at Betty Trotwood, Sunday 13th December.

© Nia Davies, 2009

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Diary – Dyfi

There’s sweet haze over the sand behind Borth. The light over the beach looks dusty but it’s really full of moisture, marking where the Irish sea is thrown up in the sundown.

The train snakes past Ceredigion’s green dragon hump with their spiny fences and blackened marks on the undulating horizon. For a long time now, I have thought of these hills as a perfect combination – soft but exposed – mossy green tufts with odd, crooked edges.

From the estuary we follow the Dyfi inland. Pink strips of sun-cloud reflected on the river’s surface make a glistening strip that coils bright through the dark soaked grass. Green eve turning blue.

I’m thinking of rivers, thick and furious in places, swollen but calm in others. Rain here, in the words of my taxi driver in Aber, is ‘like a dishcloth – always needs to be wrung out’. It’s a place of literary cabbies and a land ripe for kayakers. In Cumbria there are ‘extreme care teams’ – canoeing rescuers paddling around checking that the stranded sheep have got plenty of bales to chew on. I imagine these flooded fields hide sheep corpses – there are no paddling saviours here. Oh well, they must make do.

The Dyfi’s watershed is an ever-damp net that is always catching the Atlantic’s squalls in its lush skirts.  And Aberdyfi’s sea-front’s glints white, ever bewitching. The unavailability shines at me across the water. I have never ventured that far, making the place practically exotic.

Meanwhile, London’s giant grey pull is hauling me back after a few frenetic days in Aberystwyth. The cities have undergone a brief role reversal.

But now I’m thinking rivers: the one I was floating down in my dreams recently. The kind of summery luxury only dreamt of in December. I was drifting downstream, past the buzz of water-skaters and the trees spilling in on both sides. Roger Deakin passed by and I greeted them lazily.

Watery imagination is elliptical. And now I come round to it – perhaps I am sailing past some sort of psychic conference – where my Elysium future on earth is cupped in the hands of certain powerful people currently in conversation in Copenhagen.

© Nia Davies, 2009