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Gwilym Williams

Finding the border was easy.

Crossing it wasn't.
National flags greeted our approach.
It was where the map said it would be.
It was where the road stopped.

Radar was a timely sign that we were there;
painted olive-green to match the surroundings
scanning in the direction they came from last time
with their surprise attack.

An absence of vegatation followed;
concrete watchtowers with slits for eyes
appeared on barren hills amid curls of razor wire
barring the way to the minefields.

In the last village before the border
at a small round table outside a bar
three men sip coffee from small cups;
smoke cigarettes;
exchange sporadic remarks
concerning a lottery ticket
- you couldn't call it a conversation.

At the first hint of rain they move under cover.

It's the same on the other side.

They have their border paraphernalia too.

Here is an old mirror. This crack
from top to bottom
is no man's land.


Gordon spoke in soft low tones
over the rapid clip-clip and snip-snip
of his flying instruments.

I went for ten minutes every month;
my gaze would meet his on silver surface
that was bruised and chipped; I'd catch
the steel gleam in his grey eyes and
note the eloquent lift of his right

The place smelled of lavender
and bay rum over exhalations of linoleum.

He touched on important subjects;
women, football, cars, condoms,
the latest gas leak and
how every creature on earth was preyed
upon by some other creature.

He was a fount of wisdom and insight
and when he paused to catch a thought
he made half-masticated noises
with his loose teeth. There was a vein
to his chat if you followed it. Words
gushed from him.

Customers came and went
swift as swallows;
restless, shifting,
fugacious as time itself.

Gwilym Williams
. I was born in Wales but now live in Austria.
I am aged 60+. My only book is an individual collection called
Genteel Messages [Poetry Monthly Press ISBN 978-1-906357-17-7] which won the Purple Patch 2008 Award for Best Small Press Individual Collection. My pamphlet Mavericks was 3rd in the same lists which can be viewed on the Poetry Kit website.
I have a poetry bog at http://poet-in-residence.blogspot.com which I try to update regularly. It contains some of my own work and my own translations from German into English, and also the works of other poets and writers, some famous and some not so famous.



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