Friday Poem – ‘A Pembrokeshire Artist’, Tony Curtis

This week we have a treat for you – our Friday Poem is one of the new poems from Tony Curtis’ forthcoming From the Fortunate Isles: New and Selected Poems (Seren, October 2016).

From the Fortunate Isles: New and Selected Poems, Tony CurtisFrom the Fortunate Isles, published in celebration of the author’s 70th year, features poems from ten of Curtis’ published collections as well as a substantial number of new poems. This is a poet whose themes and variations remain consistent: a profound interest in the wars of the last century, an abiding fascination for all art forms, particularly painting and poetry, tender attachments to family, and (most evident in the poem below), a deep affection for his roots in West Wales.


A Pembrokeshire Artist
John Knapp Fisher (1931 -2015)

An evening with the rain coming in,
that sea so cold and unsettled, a heavy graphite,
you’d not have gone out with your mackerel lines
in the Viking or any of her successors
from the stone-brick embrace of Porthgain.

We’ve eaten our fill at your wake, John,
the Sloop Inn squeezed tight
with suits, black ties and memories.
Wives, patrons, grandchildren.
Photos of you through all seven ages on the screen.

Inland to Wolf ’s Castle and as far south as the cathedral
the farms, haggards and holiday lets
shrug down for the cold night.
You’d have worked to conjure the reluctant light
discovered in them under this empting, moonless sky.

And the first scurp coming would have dabbed
your paper, blossomed and been coaxed,
smudged, into the finished sketch.
Now the county will have to sing its own spirit,
compose its own shape, keep its own watch.


If you would like to listen to Tony read from his forthcoming collection and other books in his native Pembrokeshire, don’t miss his event at the Llangwm Literary Festival, Saturday 12th August. More details here.

You can buy copies of Tony Curtis’ poetry collections, anthologies he has edited, critical essays, and other writing direct from us (20% off for Book Club Members):
Crossing Over
Heaven’s Gate
Tokens for the Foundlings (ed Tony Curtis)
After the First Death (ed Tony Curtis)

Wales at War
Real South Pembrokeshire
Keep an eye out on the Seren website – Tony’s new collection, From the Fortunate Isles: New and Selected Poems, is coming soon…


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