Byron Beynon lives in Swansea, Wales. His work has appeared in several publications
including Agenda, Poetry Wales, The Warwick Review, Poetry Ireland Review, Quadrant
(Australia) and Wasafiri. Collections include Nocturne in Blue and Human Shores (both
from Lapwing Publications, Belfast).


Even from here
inside the sane oasis
of a courtyard
life can still be furnished
with credible hospitality.

We travelled with a phoenix of years,
found ourselves listening
to the whisper of strangers.

Already we have witnessed
that the midnight and noon
hours are the same,
and the skin seen fleetingly
opened like an insect's case.

In the Raffles Hotel

In the Raffles Hotel there are tiger
prints on the floor.

Reputation can often disappoint
in this minty atmosphere.

The sling is expensive,
at the long bar there is beer
and plenty of ice.

Cool green of bamboo chairs,
the Tiffin room and tea being served,
as a woman wearing curlers
sunbathes in the garden,
drying her hair in the noisy
Singapore heat.

Haunts of dead writers
and the readable past,
names that drop
from a case full
to the brim,
Kipling, Maughan,
Coward and Conrad
all stayed here
with personalities,
party-goers in fancy-dress,
has-beens and 'I've forgotten his name',
staring and smiling from
numberless photographs
their faces holding
the pose and turning
their minds to future keys.


This morning you telephoned
that two seals were swimming
in the Tawe,
they brought with them
innumerable seagrams,
navigable rhapsodies
gleaming with motion,
a lustre of sea-eyes
that floated in fields
where tides registered
global warmth, changeable seasons;
for a moment
they held your breath,
sensed their need to escape
at one with their tidings
delivered across the miracle of unchained waters.

The Shard

Near to Guy's
where John Keats
once strode by,
a spire of glass
developed to the heights
with varying shades of sky,
a vertigo through the senses
to unfurl your brain.
Watching the passing of days
above a city of calculated darkness,
lit at night by fragments
across the earth's circumference.
Translated into each metaphor,
it dreams alone,
piercing the air
as birds reflect
the sharpness of their eyes,
a cool needle that threads the clouds.

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