It tells of an artist who has all but given up his work. An integral part of his peculiar house is the well situated in the middle of it, down which he drops everything he creates, even his most rudimentary of sketches.
This reminds me of a friend who was so discontented with every creation (painting or collage) , that he decided to black them all out.
As a writer, it's possible to feel this quite often, even when I'm at my most prolific.
The other week another poet said to me (he can often be brutally honest) - 'I've got good and bad news to tell you at the same time......My dad said he loved your book 'The Common Ground' ; trouble is, he said everything you've done since then has gone downhill by comparison.'
Despite the fact that my first full-length collection was actually called 'The Common Land', I was simultaneously delighted and devastated.
The delight came briefly ; the devastation lasted longer.
Sometimes the seeming pointlessness of it all can hit home. Usually, when you receive royalty statements showing lack of sales.
It can also be when you are asked to write poems which aren't used.
Recently a relative requested one for her charity and simply never got back to me after I sent it ( was it that bad?).
I wrote a poem for a Beatles tribute anthology and found it was too late, the editors had decided and not asked me to contribute anyway. Didn't they know I grew up with the Fab Four, singing along to every hit and playing my tennis racket guitar as I did so? Didn't they know that Lennon was my working-class hero?
I had already been too late for the Bob Dylan anthology, so it was becoming a habit.
If they ever do one on Captain Beefheart, Tom Waits or The Who, then I won't be fooled again!
And then.....I was proposed as 'adopted poet' for an organization called Venture Wales.
I couldn't find out much about them, but they seemed to be a 'not-for-profit' body funded by the Assembly. I duly sent them a poem about my young daughter making a rocket in her Science class......adventurous, experimental, bold and.......... it turned out, totally inappropriate as far as they were concerned.
After a meeting with one of their chiefs ( an executive, I'd say) - during which we agreed to disagree on everything about Wales, including the round ball or the oval - I couldn't work out why they'd suggested me. 'A meeting of opposites' I was told, but it was more like Gerry Adams being asked to write a eulogy about Mrs Windsor ( mind.....after Martin McGuinness's meeting....).
On the train back home I made up my mind to reject their offer, then immediately came up with an idea for a poem.
It was about the kind of place I'd like to see in Merthyr and one I'd visit often, a restaurant which would also be a kind of arts centre. I wrote 'A Restaurant Called Ysbrydoli' and they rejected that as well, even though the tale it told - of a man who ventured forth into the chip-fat wastes of MacJungleland, to create an eating-place based on poetry, music and mushrooms of the non-hallucinogenic variety - did seem highly apt to me.
Alongside these disappointments there was one success though, I have to admit, I wasn't optimistic about that either.
Morlan is a multi-faith cultural centre in Aberystwyth and they asked me to write a poem about Christmas. It didn't have to be in the least religious, they assured me. This was a good thing, as my ideas tend not to have any Christian basis.
The exhibition - which includes the following poem - finishes on December 21st. I'm quite surprised they accepted it, given the subject-matter.
The character in the poem is quite 'barkin', as are many of the various characters from my next book, coincidentally entitled 'BARKIN!'
Presen t Myself
We’re gonna ave fun later
me an my new fren,
pull a cracker or two t’gether.
She’ve dressed up as Santa
got black stockins on er;
a presen t myself.
Int nobuddy left,
I buried my on’y brother
an my sister thinks I’m weird.
My neighbours always say ello
an then I yer em larf.
My long mac angin,
my bobble at an spotty wellies
wha’ever the weather.
I yer them whisperin
through-a walls as I offer er
a leg o chicken.
‘Sylvie!’ I sayz, ‘yew are
the one I bin waitin for!’
I wuz always too shy b’fore,
my tongue trapped, rabbit
in a snare ; she shakes
er rubbery ips, got proper air.
My sister ad a doll once
er bes’ presen, it even cried.
I flung it out-a window,
‘Yew little bastard!’ the ol man yelled.
I wouldn urt Sylvie ,
she’s s soft an willin.
I lay er by-a Christmas tree.