FORT CORNWALLIS, PENANG & further Poems by Byron Beynon


I imagine myself
inside an Edward Hopper panting,
sitting in a diner
alone and motionless,
the black coffee getting cold,
waiting for something
within me to change 
when suddenly the atmosphere
eases and I hear
a trumpet sound
played by a lean,
cool Chet Baker
embracing my silent mood,
reaching out across 
the evening shadows,
touching my sleeve,
taking me along
with those strong adjectives of music
which climb and soar
above the oppressive
streets and traffic,
telling me calmly of a way
to get through.


With one glimpse
Keats manages
to catch in a June letter
the Welsh mountains,
his motion of days
on tour,
moving swiftly
he remembers Lancaster
with its cacophony of shuttles,
a transition brought
by new experiences of activity,
an action travelling 
forwards in thought. 


After the vortex of Parisian
streets and traffic,
we sat inside the calm square
where lunch-hour workers
relaxed and fledgling infants
played near a peaceful museum,
once Victor Hugo's house.
Days that are windows
reflecting the supreme air of spring,
as an incorrigible bird
sang its unrehearsed notes
with an admired optimism.


The continuous search
for the room with a view,

to wake one morning
clear-headed with naked eyes

to witness the promise of a breathing landscape,
optimistic yellow, garden-mint green, peaks of orange.

I’d watch the delivery of colours,
listen to a delicious language

echo from purple hills,
words pausing on a table-top

as the sensuous air embraced the limbs of the trees,
a prepared windowpane
clearing itself like the tone of a determined voice.


The heat of an afternoon
enters with a trade of tourists;

conception's myth entertained
by a deliberate pose

near a barrel's erect 
eye filled with flowers.

Within a defensive wall
rebuilt by convicts you can sense

the swell of commands,
perspiration draining from captured pores,

a pungent aroma of sea breath,
the sway of lost time,

thinking of families 
they'd never see again.

An uneasy warmth
stalks the mind like a predator,

about to flare up,
poised to strike an oppressive blow. 

Byron Beynon coordinated Wales’s contribution to the anthology Fifty Strong (Heinemann). His work has featured in several publications including Agenda, Quadrant, Wasafiri, Cyphers, The London Magazine, Nixes Mate Review (Boston), Poetry Wales, English: Journal of the English Association, and the human rights anthology In Protest (University of London and Keats House Poets). Several collections, including The Echoing Coastline (Agenda) and Where Shadows Stir (The Seventh Quarry Press) which was launched at the birthplace of Dylan Thomas, Swansea in February 2023.”

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