I am a captive to your step,

lamentando on a theme

with tip-toe turns and silent twirls

to inventive time signatures.

I think a coda is required.

Or perhaps a lively stomp

dampening the demon heat,

white to blood red,

cooling to ash.

From A Bankrupt's Diary © 2018 Ceinwen Wilson

Battle fatigue

You came to me as an unexpected guest,

parachuting in from a hostile zone,

and as we sat away from the scream

the war’s din lessened to an abstract dream.

Peace enveloped us as we talked;

hung about our lips,

poured through your every syllable

straining to recall the vow

through melancholy verse, healing,

revealing the scar. Then you laughed.

And we were of one mind

in an instant,

for a moment understood

as long as it allowed.

From A Bankrupt's Diary © 2018 Ceinwen Wilson

Coffee pot routine

We visit the theme time and again

and draw the same conclusion

where the porcelain cups used

to play out routine,

objects, at once familiar

grant redundant aid when

questions stab at problems

challenged then rebuked, never

to see the uncluttered space behind

those repurposed implements.

Hollow clattering drowns out

the bubbling stovetop coffee.

And I wait

for a safe distance when

no longer of use, I cannot comply.

And it is silent.

From A Bankrupt's Diary © 2018 Ceinwen Wilson


I wrap objects in newspaper

with deliberate care.

They whisper evocatively.

In the dark

they journey to another place,

another in-between space,

witnesses of a past to mourn.

A waiting game is being played.

They are winning the charade

and draw me in with sepia hues,

glanced through misted panes of glass

distorted to anthracite decay.

And while nomadic and free,

in mocking silence they look on

and laugh at me.

From A Bankrupt's Diary © 2018 Ceinwen Wilson


Do you remember when

skinny, pale and winter skinned

we jetted off to tropical sands,

the island of my father’s birth,

happy, clueless newlyweds?

You ask if I have any regrets.

I smile and turn to my own thoughts.

What a question.

I meet your eyes, blue lagoons,

glinting pools of steadfast warmth

and ask if you’d like a cup of tea.

‘Lovely’, you say

smiling back at me.

From A Bankrupt's Diary © 2018 Ceinwen Wilson

Phone calls

It sits on the desk and rings all day.

My stomach sinks while my

head prepares to be underwhelmed

as I give the rehearsed reply.

I decide to ignore 0844, 0845

and numbers of futile cause

while relations ring with equal gravity,

on and on, an unabated, fixed reminder

of what cannot be undone,

evoking Oscar Wilde.

(Only relatives, or creditors, ever ring in

that Wagnerian manner.)

A rude intruder demanding

the involuntary final act.

Then there is silence, yet

the perturbed shrill resonates

in every corner

of every room,

subdued coercing tones of doubt.

From A Bankrupt's Diary © 2018 Ceinwen Wilson 

The bailiff

We kept the bailiff at arm’s length

on the doorstep,

outside the threshold.

So he turned his attention to our car.

We managed to appease him with fifty pounds,

enough to keep him at bay, I thought,

until late one afternoon, after dark,

I returned with my mother and children

to find a lorry and forklift outside.

Had he come for the car?

I parked the car up the road, out of sight,

and with my children and mother in tow,

crept around the side of the house.

Formidable Mother said, ‘He won’t get past me’,

and ushered us in while she stood in the doorway,

a red-headed Viking anchored in the breach.

We remained in the dark, peering out of the window,

anticipating the checkmate move when

suddenly, we saw a figure walk past

and as I prepared to face the foe,

‘It’s Uncle Bobby!’ the children exclaimed.

There was a loud rap on the front door,

which I opened to a familiar face

who smiled at me, and relieved I smiled back

and asked, ‘Is that your lorry outside?’

‘Yes’, our visitor replied.

‘Why are you all in the dark?’

From A Bankrupt's Diary © 2018 Ceinwen Wilson