Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gwilym Williams: Genteel Messages

Despite being around for a good while now, this is Gwilym Williams' first poetry collection. The sexegenarian, now based in Vienna, was born in Wales but brought up in Runcorn, Cheshire, a town which features in my favourite poem from the collection

with apologies to Edward Thomas

Yes, I remember Runcorn East
the name, because one afternoon
the beat-up local train squealed to a halt
unexpectedly - and I swear it wasn't my fault.

The heater thrummed and someone lit-up
his fag in the no-smoking carriage
and someone else coughed. And what I saw
through the murky window was the usual weeds

and the ticket-collector out on the platform
badgering the driver and pointing excitedly
at the signal ahead which was on red. It seemed
we'd stopped unexpectedly - like the end of time.

And for those few moments we wondered what
the hell was going on in sleepy Cheshire.
Had some idiot pulled the emergency cord or was
there an H5N1-infected blackbird down the line ...

the designation H5N1 is used for a type of
bird flu that is said to affect humans
Birds are the subject of another poem, SPOTTING
On Mull and the Ardnamrchan
golden eagles and white tailed eagles,
plus a possible rail
and a probable crake
not crossed off.
So now we're rugged-up in the Beetle
with our paste sandwiches and tea
and the crake firmly crossed off.

As for the rail we've gone off it.
Poetry Monthly Press
39 Cavendish Road
Long Eaton
NG10 4HY

ISBN 978 1 906357 17 7
The author's blog is Poet in Residence.


  1. Thank you for featuring "Runcorn East", Gerald. It's an evocative poem.

    Congratulations on Genteel Messages, Gwilym!

  2. Gerald, many thanks for featuring my book on your blog.
    And Michelle thank you too for your congratulations!