Sunday, 10 March 2019

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Pimento Poets: SHRIEK Vernon Goddard

Pimento Poets: SHRIEK Vernon Goddard: Shriek. It’s the middle of August, Dry year behind. Think. Reach ahead for words with legs, Something to move this along....

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Pimento Poets: Pimento Poets: New poetry by Vernon Goddard

Pimento Poets: Pimento Poets: New poetry by Vernon Goddard: Walking the walk...... I saw a man walking today. We were in the Chrysler 300c, heading to Aldi’s Via The deviation Because of...

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Pimento Poets: Pimento Poets: New poetry by Vernon Goddard

Pimento Poets: Pimento Poets: New poetry by Vernon Goddard: Walking the walk...... I saw a man walking today. We were in the Chrysler 300c, heading to Aldi’s Via The deviation Because of...

Saturday, 1 November 2014

English: A4240 Alexandra Road, Gorseinon The c...
English: A4240 Alexandra Road, Gorseinon The church is St Catherine's church. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Grandfather: The Goddard Family: Grandpa Goddard

It starts on the Common - windswept, unkempt, intermittant, with wirey  grasses, tufts along improbable sandy paths. This is where nothing- land meets nothing- sky, all dark and cumbersome. There is nothing pretentious about a shabby common. Yes, It all starts on this common and ends there as well.

I never knew my grandfather. Never heard or remember any stories about him. Was never hugged or loved by him. Never went fishing, never heard him whistle or swear. Perhaps you’ll think me somewhat savaged by his absence, still in some kind of embroiling regret or continuing anger. This is not the case. How can one be angry about a ghost or a non-figure? Perhaps, instead of the real man,  I’ve embroidered a replacement figment , a larger than life figure, a personification of my own imagination. Yes - perhaps I’ve done a little of that. I think I see him at times.

Let’s understand the facts as I know them. William David John Goddard was born on the 13th December, 1889 at the Cross, Ravenhill. He was married to Elizabeth Mary Hoyles on the 27th December, 1909 at St David’s Church,  Penllergaer, Near Swansea. William and Elizabeth had a good number of children: My father , the eldest - Ewart Maldwyn Goddard and in no particular order: Ronnie, Cyril, Mansel - also known as Sid, Elvet, Archie and the one girl, Brenda. By my reckoning that’s 7 children. Two survive as I write: Archie and Brenda.

He died on 14th May, 1936 in Gorseinon hospital following a mining accident at Garngoch Number three Colliery on the Common. His accident sheet  records that he died of shock following compound fractures of his left leg caused by a fall of coal. In graphic terms he was crushed by the fall, and bled all the way up to the surface and then all the way to the hospital. Am I angry about that? Too bloody right I am. The incompetency by authority and management and the lack of a safe environment meant he had no chance of survival. He left a widow and 7 children. My grandmother, Gu Goddard was left to fend for the family with help from those like my father, who was older and bringing in money. Gu Goddard was of farming stock and in 1936 was 45 years old. She set about her new all embracing and encompassing tasks with the formidable distinction that only an older generation seem to have possessed. She was to myself, my sister and all our cousins both grandmother and grandfather. Unfortunately, enveloped in all these responsibilities, there was no time for hugs, kisses and not much compassion about. She ruled - there was no other way. She ruled the roost and kept the family together in the toughest of ways. She was the only grandfather I ever knew. I’ve written about her in my poem about a cousin. There are hints of her nature in these words:

“Cousin Alan” by Vernon Goddard

Spring Sun. Sunday, Holy Day but not holiday.
Early Bells wake up St Catherine.
Incensed priest fogs & dances with the altar.
Lead glazed glancing lights.
Sun smashes glass into myriads,
Hazy Crazy,
Blue & red, purple  & gold.
In short trousers 
Bare Knees smarting
From too much kneeling
I clatter out
Of oak doors greyed and old 
From too much listening.

In Sunday dark and best
I troop to Mam-Gu’s, en famille.
Loosening tie
Forgetting St Catherine,
Loosening Belief.
Promise of Apple tart,
Tea, playing with cousins, hearing uncles swear
With meaty words and perhaps,
A woodbine behind a hidden tree
In Penllergare Forest.

Mam-Gu, older than St Catherine
And nearer to God
Loves her sons. The house,
This Theatre,
Leans with people.
The card table buckles with
Brothers, uncles, Fathers, sons, men & boys.
But no Grandfather.
Sisters, aunties, mothers, daughters whisper gossip in the kitchen. 
Mam-Gu presides.
Cards – Crib or Nap are played, money is lost and tempers too.
Men shout, Women walkabout.

I look from face to face.
There are too many on stage for me to be noticed. 
Mam-Gu does not see beyond her boys.
I edge into anonymity.
And to be……not like them.

Cousins congregate in the Orchard.
Simple play, ferocious sweat in the Spring heat.
Sun cuts the apple trees through.
Climb, spy, hide, seek. Girl cousins, my sister, shriek & giggle.
Boy cousins, Alan, look manly
Savouring the packet in the pocket 
And the quiet unheard rattle of matches.
Practice swear words unspoken.
Shirt collars white, striped school ties long discarded,
Glistening pale skin, braces and short trousers, reddened knees.
Holy Wood. I watch and observe.

Apple pie still moistening on the tongue,
Tinned peaches,
Even metallic strawberries
Sweet as treacle.
Fresh picked Blackberries

Later escape for the boy cousins to the Common.
Penllergaer Common
Land of my Grandfathers
Pit and wild Pony.
All feral grass & dune
Ups & Downs
Paths to No-where
And Some where.

Alan knows all the paths.
C’mon he says. C’mon we’ll get a swim in before dark.
Foreboding settles on my
Brylcreamed head
Foreboding on my well-eaten apple pie.
Foreboding knees.

C’mon he says. C’mon there’s the pit pond. C’mon.

Alan’s Sunday best  lies at the water side. He’s in and happy.

No I shout. I’m having a fag.
I sit smoking, looking, seeing.
Alan swims in circles. The pond broods around him
It is treacle skimmed,
Blackest of sand,
Hot water, pit water, pitted with hiss and bubble.
Sweated vapour hangs
Swirls into darkening sky.
Foreboding kisses me, full, on the lips.
Alan swims in circles.
Vultures I think.

The water did for him that day.
Caught something from the rats they said.
In days
A fever,
A firm heart.
Then St Vitus danced inside him
And with him for years thereafter.
Black Sabbath.

Who can say what a day can bring.
Sunday, Funday, Holiday, Black Sabbath.
You take a swim you smoke a cigarette.
Black Sea partings.
That day I knew I was Observor, fond of fags and words 
Not being part of, separate.
Alan, one with nature
Belonging, in the game of life, living
Found a rat who joined his play
Swam like a dolphin
Where my grandfather lay.

And the spirit of my grandfather still lies for me on Garngoch common. And all the paraphenalia of the pit, its big wheel, the clanking railways, the remnants of coal, the pit ponies, the props, the canteen lie buried there as well, with my dream of the man.

How the hell I wish I had known him, seen his face, felt his tough worn hands, heard a story or two about pit life. And I would have smiled for him.......

So, it ended for him on the Common - windswept, unkempt, intermittant, with wirey  grasses, tufts along improbable sandy paths. This is where nothing land meets nothing sky, all dark and cumbersome. There is nothing pretentious about a shabby common. Yes, It all starts on this common and ends there as well.

Copy right    ©  David Vernon Goddard November 2011  and again 25th October 2014......

Penllergaer/Penllergare Woods………..small village where my grandmother lived.

There are rituals in all families. Whilst my grandmother lived all her sons & one daughter were expected to visit and stay to tea on a Sunday. This was a large, loud gathering.

My grandfather died from a rock fall in one of the mines on Penllergaer/Gargoch common. 

I never knew him. 

I still have his watch though........

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Our next reading…….

SUNDAY 2 NOVEMBER,  3.00 - 5.00pm                                                         

(including interval with tea & cake)

‘Long Time Passing’ – A Century of Wars
(on the corner of Castle Square, near the Tourist Information Centre) 

An afternoon of Poetry & Song including popular songs from WW1 & WW2, folk songs and original poetry from Pimento Poets’ new book, ‘Long Time Passing’.

No need to book, just come along!   Retiring Collection.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Pimento Poets: Meet the Poets.

Pimento Poets: Meet the Poets.: I will be profiling members of the Pimento poets group over the next few weeks. Watch out for information concerning each of our writers an...

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Anguished Voices...........

Tibetan people
Tibetan people (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anguished voices: Exiled Tibetans express pain through poems

"Away from home... I live in my thirty-sixth rented room... with a trapped bee and a three-legged spider..."
McLEODGANJ: Dozens of similar lyrical thoughts, speaking volumes about the pain of exiled Tibetans of leaving behind their homes, relatives and friends and their decades-old yearning for freedom, resonated the deodar-covered hills of the picturesque town of McLeodganj on Saturday evening.
Amid scores of people, including Tibetans and foreigners, five Tibetan poets read their own writings and works of famous poets to raise their voice against the Chinese government. The compositions were read out in Tibetan and Chinese language.
The poetry session was quite interactive as participants also spoke with the audience and there was a discussion on varied subjects, including the Tibet cause, importance of free thoughts, youth power and democracy.
"We are forced to live in exile and not allowed to go to our home country. The idea behind this symposium was to express our sentiments and deep thoughts through the medium of poetry and writing. My writings have depicted the anguish emerging because of living away from our own brothers and sisters. Besides, I also recited couplets highlighting the urgency of free expression of thoughts," Bhuchung D Sonam (39), a Dharamshala-based poet and writer, told TOI.
This event, which was part of the global initiative of a movement '100 Thousand Poets For Change' that has emerged from the US, was held at a quiet cafe in the solitary lanes on Dharamkot road.
Works of participating poets expressed the deep desire of tens of hundreds of Tibetans to attain freedom and to live in a free Tibet.
McLeodganj-based 'Tibet Writes', a congregation of young writers, organized the event to ensure that this sleepy town, situated in the foothills of Dhauladhar hills, became a part of the global movement.
Twenty-nine-year-old Tenzin Tsundue, another Dharamshala-based writer and Tibetan activist, told TOI, "I read three poems of Chinese peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, who is in a China jail right now. He has written these while sitting in the jail and they are based on optimism and positive thoughts. Besides, I also read one of my own poems."
Also, the poetic writings of Tibetans, who are currently lodged in Chinese jails, were also read by the participants.

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“What is Objectivism?” by Craig Biddle

“What is Objectivism?” by Craig Biddle