Ceinwen Haydon lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. She writes short stories and poetry. She has been widely published in web magazines and print anthologies. She was Highly Commended in the Blue Nib Chapbook Competition [Spring 2018], won the Hedgehog Press Poetry Competition ‘Songs to Learn and Sing’ [August 2018] and was shortlisted for the Neatly Folded Paper Pamphlet Competition, Hedgehog Press [October 2018]. She is a winner in the Nicely Folded Paper Pamphlet Competition (July 2019). Her first Chapbook is due to be published shortly, (‘Cerddi Bach’ [Little Poems], a Stickleback by Hedgehog Press. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Newcastle University (2017) and she is developing practice as a creative writing facilitator with hard to reach groups. She believes everyone’s voice counts.
Ekphrastic Poems after Georgio de Chirico
The Uncertainty of the Poet
headless torso amputated limbs bananas bunch and burst from your groin thrust from muscular buttocks and twisted waist a flat lucent circle mark a gash where your head was severed absence imprints on my eyes reminds me of life stone torso headless amputated what words what clumsy conjugations phrase priapic bananas in indigenous brush strokes mark your virile groin
The Song of Love
dead-eyed olive ball alabaster Byron dreams pinned red glove dangles
My father said
in old Caernarvon’s fine oak woods, mired in bog and flashed with butterwort Prince Llywelyn ap Gruffydd hunted aided by his bloodhound, Gelert. One autumn day, Llywelynleapt astride his best horse, pungent and slicked with embrocation and he galloped off, rode far from home, forgetting Gelert. Why would the Prince do that, I wondered. Surely, he’d have whistled, called his dog to heel, to join him in the chase. Rampaging off to raid musked lairs, kill vixens and their cubs, he omitted to tell his servant-maid who cared for his princeling heir. Prince Llywelyn returned at dusk, corpses stiffened in leather saddlebags. Bats flitted to catch insects under canopies of trees. A barn owl ghosted past his face and screeched a warning. Gelert, barked and bound into view blood dripping from his teeth and jaws. The prince felt palpitations. Knew terror. He leapt from his mount, rushed indoors, to find his infant son. The babe’s coverlet was soaked bright scarlet. There was no sign of the light of his life. His thoughts misted red and he jumped ahead. Bent on revenge, he knifed true Gelert dead. Llywelyn howled, then heard a whimper followed on by a lassie’s cry. Behind a heavy tapestry cowered the nurse and her tiny charge: both frightened but unharmed. Seconds passed he checked his senses, as he held his baby tight. It was then he saw a wolf, sprawled wide, laid out on the nursery floor. Its fangs were sharp, its cruel eyes red. Gelert’s bite marks were necklaced round his throat. All in all, quite dead. It is said Llywelyn suffered and wept for years: to know he had slain Gelert was more than he could bear. Gelert, the dog, who’d risked life, so his heir might survive. My father swore this tale was true, for years, I believed it too, told it to kids of my own as God’s own truth. Until that is, a broadsheet exposed one David Pritchard, host of the Old Goat Inn. He’d told Gelert’s tale to pull in drinkers, draw many pints, win wealth. Davy Pritchard, he even marked a plot, engraved it as Beddgelert. This false tomb, where no hound is lain, both truth and fiction subverts.
Breaking Out in Lockdown
Night-time dreams stir demons and despair, drawn from funds of fearful, waking days. Grey dawn breaks late in December – dark hours prolong fevered hauntings, until skimmed-milk sunshine parts consciousness, peeps between limp drapes. Life feels like waiting for death. Time a heavy, prickly holly wreath scratching round my neck. Today, more overcast than ever, rains tears. Oppressed by four walls, I dress for stormy weather. Ignore news flashes, and walk towards the flooded beck, careless and untethered. I skirt a puddle, slip in mud, jolt. Halt. Look up, and see a radiant goddess – Rainbow. She arcs across the moors and blesses me: colours grey with love. Treading home I notice skeleton beech trees winsomely curved and strong / spy buzzards wheeling high / hear song-thrushes carol, hidden in hedgerows almost next to me. Incredibly, I believe all moments are eternities, and life though flawed and risky lifts with raw beauty.