Whence and Whither (c1930) by Mel Perry

Two lines, parallel,

of people hunched,

stooped, dressed in black

viridian, blue.

A permanent blue.

They descended


like wraiths, not of

their own volition,

carried down by

rattling, relentless

escalators of delusion.

All wore hats,


a woman’s cloche

enshrouded ears, men’s


occluded eyes.

Funnelled from ticket-

halls, passages,


clicketed by closing

gates, packed

together they sleep-walked

into humanity’s

grubby below-ground.


Fan-vaulted talons,

blood-striped, clawed

from the ceiling.

They picked, pried,

pricked at fear and

loathing of Jews and

blacks and gays.


Rising on the right

empty stairs where

brief light-flickers

are swept to dark

recesses at each step.


Treads shudder with dread

as we are bruised and trampled

into a bleak summer morning.

Geography Lesson by Mel Perry

These politicians, for whom

I did not vote, pledge

to learn from the lessons

of Paris.


May a voice,

calling from distant

teachings, find an ear

in this dinning fear.

Where you found

our land, let it be thus.


In choosing a colour for

the map, let it not bleed

pink across continents.

If you must have a border

draw a line in dash-dot-dash.


Where you find steep mountains,

carve a zig-zag path. Where you

plant a forest, leave space for wide rides

When you make a garden, grow

plants for bees, butterflies.


If you must build a fence,

leave off the razor wire.

As you build a wall, make a gap

for the kissing gate.

As you form a language, learn

another’s, and learn another too.


As you ink in the coast

leave a space to build

a harbour.  And when you

colour in our seas, choose blues

from pale tropical shallows to

deep-ocean ultramarine.


Prince Caspian by Mel Perry

The boy in the Tranås classroom,

who wrote without falter or query,

who moved the strokes of his Persian

voice in silence across the page,

who scribed a story of loss and love,

Afghanistan, his home.


Like Caspian, may he rise us up

from that page, rise us up

alongside him with the wisps,

flicks, kisses of his language

meeting ours in this autumn air.


May his fingers entwine ours,

grasp our hands, hold our hearts

along the braided rivers of his land,

across all oceans, as together

we encircle the hammering grief

of Ankara, Baghdad, Beirut,



I am a poet who lives on a Welsh estuary.  My poetry is usually inspired by the natural world and specific built environment. I have borne witness to the poetic history of Poems and Pints at The Queens, Carmarthen. I was the pioneer travelling poet in the first exchange organised by the Wales Ireland Spoken Word and Poetry Alliance (WISPA) in 2014.  I was a member of the International Yeats Literary Residency in Tranås, Sweden,  September 2015.