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      Braiding Brexit: A Lemming's-eye View

      Ystrad Fflur: Dusk

      Aberaeron Book Festival - Friday 1st November 2019
      Broc-Mor, Aberystwyth - Saturday 2nd November 2019
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      Name:
      Location: Aberystwyth, Wales, United Kingdom

      I became a poet following a life during which I travelled the world as a deck officer in the Merchant Navy, worked on the farm where I now live, and then re-invented myself as an information scientist, working for Aberystwyth University and then for my own company. Born in Sussex, I moved to Swansea and, following time at sea and my marriage, have lived in the same farm cottage for the last 45 years - first as a family home and now alone. I would describe myself as a traveller - regularly travelling overseas and within the UK, regularly exploring life. This varied background undoubtedly contributes to my poems, which have been described as "[having] a directness, honesty and crispness of diction which enables the poet to communicate the most raw of experiences with a degree of sureness restraint and power" - 'Mostly Welsh' is a collection of poems rooted in the Anglo-Welsh tradition, although readers may also notice other influences. There are poems of place, but perhaps the strength of the collection lies in its series of powerful poems dealing with love and loss, and with time and memory. I am currently working on a novel and my second collection of poems.


      Andrew Green: Poetry as Blood Donation

      Monday, February 10, 2020

      Tides


      time flows
      like currents in the ocean

      and crystallises in my mind

      old tears taste
      like the sands of an empty beach

      my memory is their salt

      Wednesday, February 05, 2020

      A Poetry Reading in Aberystwyth


      At the end of last month the bookshop in the Arts Centre staged a poetry reading/book launch for a poet who had connections with Aberystwyth going back to his student days in the 1970s. Chatting to him before the reading, I discovered that he had not only lived in Bronant but in one of the other cottages that were then on the farm where I live... and that we had a friend in common! If truth were told, we must have met each other back in the seventies too - but neither of us recognised the other! And here we were - both poets! Must be something in the soil!

      Dominic Fisher was reading from The Ladies and Gentlemen of the Dead - a slim volume thoroughly worthwhile acquiring! A couple of the poems he read during the evening can be found on his blog at https://dominicfisherpoetry.com/2020/01/28/return-from-aberystwyth/ but these are just a beginning - perhaps the most touching was one written to be read to a friend dying from cancer - 'Pictures of us that I haven't got'. But many others deserve a read... not just a read, but several reads. I particularly liked (apart from the two Aberystwyth poems - 'Llangurig' and 'Ynyslas' - in the blog) 'From Nowhere'.

      We are here on an apple on a tree in deep space
      or on some other kind of fruit or planet
      in the middle of what we call October.

       And the poem for which the book is named.

      Sometimes these skeletons are down on their kneecaps
                      praying for wings
                      to a bone moon...

      The poems are heartfelt and honest, and many are very moving. Go out and buy the book and enjoy the read!

      Tuesday, February 04, 2020

      Sea Song


      we scattered the ground with our desire
      the past soon buried in the warm sands of the day

      laughing, you held me

      breathless I plunged into the depths
      blindly tasting your love as you raised me in the surge

      we were quiet in the undertow

      Wednesday, December 04, 2019

      Winter Beach


      Tan-y-Bwlch, Aberystwyth

      Remember
      The sea assaults
      Of winter gales when
      Towering spray sheets curl
      Over the green-stripe tower
      At the harbour mouth
      And waves roll shoreward
      Beside its jetty
      Shingle crashing
      Floating spume across the beach
      With black stones cold shone by spray
      That above the wave thrust
      Hides the horizon behind its mist
      As the sun shines low
      On a December afternoon

      Tuesday, November 19, 2019

      Berlin Irony


      9th November 2019

      1961
      A wall of shame
      cut through a city and a people
      a bleak new division:
      we and the world turned away

      1989
      A wall fell
      remade a city, a people, a history
      a bright new union:
      we and the world rejoiced

      2019
      Now we fashion
      our uniquely British wall
      a tragedy of repeated history:
      the world wonders, shrugs

      2047
      And I wonder if
      my children must wait
      twenty-eight years before
      the world rejoices again

      Or shall we spend our time
      building more walls?


      Wednesday, November 06, 2019

      New Publication


      I have recently been at a couple of poetry readings - at Gwyl Lyfrau Aberaeron Book Festival and, the next day, at an evening reception at Broc-Mor in Aberystwyth – both well attended and enjoyable! When I was preparing and deciding what to read I realised that I had - over the years - written ten poems around Brexit and I read one of them in Aberystwyth, but it occurred to me that it might be worthwhile... or at least fun... to bring them together in one publication!

      And so Braiding Brexit: a Lemming's-eye View was born!

      The pamphlet is available to view or download at:
      https://i-booklet.co.uk/ChrisArmstrong/BrexitPoems/

      Tuesday, October 22, 2019

      Augury


      Waking to see autumn's lustre
      lit on my beech

      rust leaves gilt glowing
      red gold bathed by

      a rising sun's first grasp
      of day.

      Turning to see gold amber cirrus
      low light the east -

      beneath a darker grey purple
      cloud bruise

      that golden gleam of
      dawning dawn.

      So my sad grey purple dreams
      dawn dim

      their dark ghosts disconnect to
      fade to latent light

      my day newborn sun sings
      and I am risen.

      Thursday, October 10, 2019

      Dark Lullaby


      As this first night knows me
      as my soul becomes its dream
      I understand my small being
      is one with time's vast scream.
      Even now I know between
      my heart's first aspen flutter
      and its last soft ashen beat
      endless dark passions must clutter
      my every empty lonely night
      and bear down to hold my mind;
      only this one moment knows a calm:  
      a velvet dark - a fusty smell - find
      the mantling wing,
      my mother's ancient shawl
      warm wool winged
      holds my drowsy head in thrawl
      driving night's dark dæmons
      from the soft innocence
      from my dawn-drawn bed