Tomorrow is International Dylan Thomas Day and we will be celebrating Swansea’s most famous son, so today our Friday Poem is by another Swansea native, Meirion Jordan.
Jordan was born in 1985 in Swansea. His début Moonrise was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, and his pamphlet, Strangers Hall, was shortlisted for an East Anglia Book of the Year award.
Finely held moods and moments resonate throughout this unusually accomplished first book. The rich, complex history of Wales often crops up, sometimes in unexpected contexts: ‘The New World’ is a vision, a cross between Dylan Thomas’ ‘Under Milk Wood’ and an early J.G. Ballard novel, of post-global warming Wales, with a polyglot population: “Ronaldinho Davies/wowing the crowds at the Millennium Stadium” and swamped by tropical vegetation: “cobalt lizards and coral snakes/swallowing the cottages an Llandinam/ the mahoganies uprooting Carno’s hearths”.
The New World
Roll on global warming. The Maentwrog Junta
seizing power on a Sunday morning
just after chapel, the frenziedly moustachioed
General Gwydion Mendéz proclaiming martial law
after the third psalm of the evening service.
The Gorseinon drugs cartel expanding
to the Aberystwyth favelas, bringing the clash
of kalashnikovs to constitution hill.
Samba and harps. O Seion Fryn
bawled out at thirty in the shade
by sweating ministers. Cawl mango
and coconuts replacing lava bread. Ronaldinho Davies
wowing the crowds at the Millennium Stadium,
the Rhondda turning out in rainbows
of rippling cloth and streamers to see England lose
four-nil, Islwyn Marley at half time
shaking the stands with sounds from Ynys Mon.
Olwen Perón leading the mob in Marchog Iesu
at the Cwmdonkin bandstand, her voice
spreading like an angelus along
the Taff Fechan, along Cwm Tywi.
David Attenborough filming the fauna
of the Nantgwynant valley, eccentric Englishmen
looking for the lost city of Dolgellau
up Cwm Pennant, out behind Corris.
100 percent humidity at Rhandirmwyn.
Kurtz Jenkins on the shores of Llyn Clywedog,
and everything from Llanidloes to Rhaeadr
declared ‘the dark interior’. The rattan
wrapping itself around the spine of the A470,
the cobalt lizards and the coral snakes
swallowing the cottages at Llandinam,
the mahoganies uprooting Carno’s hearths.
The moon at Devil’s Bridge pulled earthwards
in a sail of vines, the sun
squinting in the eye of a bromeliad
that wields its universe of frogspawn out
from Carnedd Dafydd to the new world.