2 Poems by Tony Curtis



Clouds Cristo-wrap El Capitain

and erase the top of the Falls;

then an afternoon of heavy rain.

After the Monologue from the Oregon Trail


we go out of the theatre into a pitch night

that the rain has washed clear,

stare up through the huge pines and meet

a sky that comes down to greet us


with its diamonds closer,

bright and sharp and beyond number,

met as if for the first time. As if,

crossing prairies and mountains seeking a new life,


this was the sign to put down roots: here,

and they saw exactly where they were.



The Rising of the Rivers


Today the Taf’s lost

itself in the marsh pastures

between St Clears and Llandowror.


It was always thus in those long winters

of my boyhood journeying down to the cousins

in the bay of cockles,


but now we see clearly,

from the high arc of this new road,

it has spilled from its meanderings


to lake over the fields

up to the edges of this raised passage:

this would have drowned the old road.


How long before the overspill

reaches Laugharne and the sea,

islanding the hamlets and farms?


The Gronw, Wenalt, Fenni and Cywyn

rising in the Precelis and the Fans,

the crooked stream becoming the Taf and Cynin,


all sluicing down to the Boathouse and Castle,

challenging the tide coming over

the heron and wader sand-flats of the bay.


Ahead of us on the eastern skyline –Paxton’s Tower:

high and dry – a rich man’s folly

to celebrate Nelson, who saved us.

About the contributor

Tony Curtis
Tony Curtis is Emeritus Professor of Poetry at the University of South Wales. He has published more than forty books. His From the Fortunate Isles: New & Selected Poems was published by Seren in 2016 and in 2017 Cinnamon Press published his selected stories as Some Kind of Immortality. Tony Curtis is currently editing a charity anthology Where the Birds Sing our Names for the Ty Hafan hospice in south Wales. He is reading in the USA on the East Coast in September 2020.

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