Issue 25: Robert Minhinnick

At the Cairns above Blaengarw

(for Phil Cope)

Mynydd Llangeinwyr

Elevation                                 568 m (1,864 ft)

Prominence                           90 m (300 ft)

Listing                                      sub-HuMP, County top

Coordinates                           51.6412 N   3.5726 W

Location                                  Bridgend, Wales

OS grid                                     SS 912947


Rubbing our eyes

not robbing our eyes

at a dragonfly above the Garw source

 - spring or seepage still unsure -    

because it takes hundreds of springs to make one river

but the people who create the cists and the cairns

and the axe factory amongst the thistles

and shrooms must choose locations carefully

rubbing their eyes

and rubbing their eyes

between Steepholm and Pen y Fan

and the Gwyr and the Gwrhyd

as for one day only

or maybe two in their year

the air clears

and they find the world is stretching…

until it is stranger than

Cornwall, Phoenicia, Amerika…

and melting because…Ah!

The psychedelics of sight…



Corn Ddu to Picws Du

and millennia later

the unnameables possess names

miraculously out of language chemistry

but those places had already become ideas

in the old geezers’ minds

and beyond the beyond

a beach like the chief old geezer’s yellow coat

and later twelve farms are built

until the steam coal reveals itself

and then the forests are sown over the farms,

black sitka on their needlebeds

beloved of arsonists and speedway boys  

 -  dragonflies themselves -

and now in masks we drive along

Gwendoline Street and Katie Street

and Oxford Street and Tymeinwr Avenue

and the streetparties are full swing

and another clear morning arrives

on our scratchcard planet

and we stand rubbing our eyes not robbing our eyes

at the people knocking off from the parachute factory

and another shift signing on to pack the gorgeous silks

walking away and walking home

and there is thistledown in the darkness,

its wraiths around us

in King Edward Street and Pwllcarn Terrace

and I know these invisibles are everywhere…

but they are still following a leader’s yellow coat…


20 – 29 July    2020

Robert Minhinnick (b. 1952) lives in Porthcawl where he helps administer the charity Sustainable Wales / Cymru Cynaliadwy, which includes the performance space The Green Room (due to restart post Covid). He is a former editor of Poetry Wales (1997-2008) and the author of numerous collections of poetry and prose works; his most recent books are Diary of the Last Man (Carcanet, 2017) and Nia (Seren, 2019).


Copyright © 2021 by Robert Minhinnick, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.