Led By Donkeys

Their lies are visible from space,
carved out of sand in vast bold script:
Proditione writ large
Pietas ficta screaming to the sky.

On the ground, our language shackles us:
tongue-tied, we’re led, protesting,
dragged between jagged rocks, sharp drops
and relentless wind
scrambling over Crib Goch
towards a place
where all perspectives compromise –
up is east, west is down, left is right
and compass dials spin in desperate loops
searching for truth in hollow chambers.

Trust, like faith, is dangerous.
The donkeys know where they are going –
they have been here before –
a new year’s echo: sirens and alarms
we cannot hear
over the shrieking.



David Van-Cauter‘s pamphlet Mirror Lake was published by Arenig Press in 2019.




Tory Blue

Let me tell you of fridges,
the one which made a Grenfell lighthouse –
all the lost ships burnt in their unsafe little harbours
if only Jacob could have been there, the pied piper of Daily Mail rats.

Let me tell you of fridges,
a coffin filled with thirty nine migrants –
a phone with an unfinished text message “I think I’m dying Mum”
the sun above them and a cold cast shadow filled with queuing gurneys.

Let me tell of fridges,
a leader hiding from questions behind milk
like a baby being breastfed by its working class mother
“How am I going to give everything you need in this Britain”?

let me tell you of fridges,
a billionaire in his gold Smeg by cured meats
which one tastes like the migrant or Grenfellian?
how the fuck can you stomach such cruel delicacies?

Let me tell you of fridges,
the ones on Yemen roads blown out by bombs sold by Tories –
a poem should never hide, it must be colder than ice to thaw us.



With five collections of poetry focusing on conflict Antony Owen is a well respected writer known for investigative poetry which took him to Hiroshima in 2015 to interview atomic bomb survivors. His subsequent collection, The Nagasaki Elder (V.Press) was shortlisted for a Ted Hughes Award in 2017





Let’s unpick this hard knot
so its fibres fray, lift
the arrested seed, letting cold soil
fall through our fingers, lightening,
releasing, slackening – as earthworms
surface after dim weeks of rain –
to a plain length of parcel string,
an opened gift



Laura Wainwright is from Newport, South Wales. She is author of New Territories in Modernism: Anglophone Welsh Writing 1930-1949 (University of Wales Press, 2018). She was shortlisted in the Bridport Prize poetry competition in 2013 and 2019. Her poetry has been widely published in magazines and journals.