Three Poems by Roddy Williams

Found poem

I am a lost poem.

If you find me
look after me, I beg you
as if I were one of your own
that you wrote late on an October night
after a fight with someone with whom
you were in lust
and several glasses of wine.

Keep me somewhere safe on your person
to the point of almost forgetting my existence
and then
take me out and read me only
when all your tides are at their lowest ebb
somewhere between Hammersmith and midnight.

Maybe you could add a line or two, a stanza,
finish me off, nail me down,
leave me on a pew inside the church
or in a phonebox.

Somewhere no one goes.

Ask The Family

Robert Robinson was a small warm-tongued wizard
conjuring up families with the strangest names
onto the screen – they were always clever people
and he stole their knowledge from them like a brain thief.

We were Williamses and were never conjured up,
besides, my dad would have hit Robert Robinson
if he tried to trick us all and steal what we knew
as we never had a great deal to begin with,

not like the Blink-Otters of Weston-Super-Mare
or the Manta-Wray family from Milton Keynes.
Youngest child Manta-Wray would be at least my age.
He must spend his time wondering where the facts went.

Robinson even stole the fact of the fact theft.
That’s why Britain’s full of empty-headed families.

The last coaster

She lives in a train.
The track stretches fifty years between now and then.
We lay a sleeper every day.
She travels back a lot
in her seat by the window
watching the trees dissolve around the edges
my father welding rhubarb to the root.

I am here in the waiting room with the fresh rails.
It’s not my journey to make.
I hear the whistling of steam
but it’s the kettle for her tea.

I place the mug on the one remaining coaster
and follow her gaze out
to where the trees have grabbed most of the sky.
The rhubarb has been dead
since before the Joneses
got the coasters that we had to get
just to keep up.


Originally from North Wales, Roddy Williams now lives in London. His poetry has appeared in  ‘The North’, ‘The Frogmore Papers’, ‘Magma’, ‘The Rialto’, ‘Envoi’, ‘Stand’ and other magazines and anthologies. He is also a keen surrealist photographer, printmaker and painter.

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