by Robert Nisbet
It made him want to leave the little town
in the first place: gateway
to the mining valley: the village-ness,
the local thing.
Jolting to art school on the Underground
he knew moments of total anonymity.
At other times, in a fresh set,
he was glad of the new dispensation,
remembered the village in contrasting pictures.
Boutiques in the King’s Road,
his father’s grocery.
Espresso bars, the chip shop.
It was good to be racing on.
The meritocracy, the middle class,
glittered for years, but guttered a little,
like a stubbed candle, when his father died.
He’d remember now the long Cardiff Road,
where he’d watched the daily patterns,
the shopkeepers, the miners’ wives,
buses running in village time, village tempo,
from valley to town to port.
He sensed harmonies in the town’s truth,
shining like a newly-mined and new-washed coal.