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David Gwilym Anthony

David Gwilym Anthony was born in Ffestiniog, North Wales, and soon afterward his family moved to Hull. He was educated at Hull Grammar School and St. Catherine's College, Oxford, where he studied modern history. His life has been "spent in the near aura of famous poets: Dafydd ap Gwilym, greatest of the Welsh bards; Philip Larkin, one-time librarian of Hull University; Andrew Marvell, who also went to Hull Grammar School." He now lives in Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, a stone's throw from the churchyard where Thomas Gray is buried. He works in London, in financial services. His poems have appeared in various magazines, e-zines and anthologies in the UK, USA and Japan.

His first book, Words to Say, was published in 2002. Words to Say is available from Amazon. To read what others have said about Words to Say please click here. His second book, Talking to Lord Newborough, is now available from Barnes & Noble and Amazon. It is also available direct from the publisher, Alsop Review Press. His poetry collection Passing through the Woods is available from Amazon UKAmazon USA and all other Amazon sites. A downloadable Kindle version is available here.

For My Daughter

It’s funny how I never saw you grow.
I seem to miss what’s nearest as a rule,
far too preoccupied — a busy fool
blind to the way the seasons come and go.

What shall I give since now you’re going too
and will be gone a while? Although you’re brave
and self-assured, I know I rarely gave
a sign to show how proud I was of you.

I give it now, with love; but love’s no gift:
it’s yours by right. Because you’re going far
I’ll give a gentle light to be your star,
and all my hopes to hold when life’s adrift.

I’ll give them all, though all I have would be
no gift beside the gift you were to me.

Passing through the Woods

It’s hard to see my way because
the leaves have fallen. Now
they’re drifting where a path once was —
it’s hard to see my way. Because
the light is brief I dare not pause;
I’ll find the track somehow.
It’s hard to see my way because
the leaves have fallen now.

Summer’s End

stealing from the sun,
lit the shaded path
briefly. Now they’re gone.

Hurry through
faded meadows, while
light still holds.
Days grow shorter; how
quickly evening comes.

Stirred to rise
by a falling foot,
feathered seeds,
graceful on the breeze,
drift towards the dawn.

Wede Away

for JMA

Wisteria soft against a deeper blue,
and hyacinth, youth’s talisman: those bright
creations filled my wakening world with light.
I miss the flowers of spring and all things new.

Fulfillment followed promise to a time
rich with the scents and ripeness spring foretold —
honeysuckle, poppy, marigold.
I miss the flowers of summer in its prime.

Sparse as the season fades towards December,
pale soldier roses, rearguard in retreat,
still blossom as they face an old defeat,
while asters linger late into November
to hurl their small defiance at the fall.
— I’ll miss the flowers of autumn most of all.


The seasons' course seems strange to me,
more strange than I remember;
wild flowers bloom unseasonably:
primroses in November.

The young pretend to blame us all.
Well, youth's a great dissembler:
May was forever, I recall,
and there was no November.

These days I'll take what Nature sends
to hoard for dour December:
a glow of warmth as autumn ends;
primroses in November.

A Winter Funeral in Fulmer

(for RJ)

The church was cold in a sullen light
as we lowered our heads in prayer.
Over the bier a moth took flight,
though the church was cold. In the sullen light
it fluttered down as a blessing might
through ancient dust-laden air.
And the church was gold in a sudden light
as we lowered our heads in prayer

Talking to Lord Newborough

I'd perch beside your gravestone years ago,
a boy who thought you old at forty-three.
I knew you loved this quiet place, like me.
We'd gaze towards Maentwrog far below,
kindred spirits, and I'd talk to you.
Sometimes I asked what it was like to die—
were you afraid? You never did reply,
and silence rested lightly on us two.

These days the past is nearer, so I came
to our remembered refuge on the hill,
expecting change yet finding little there:
my village and the Moelwyns look the same,
Saint Michael's Church commands the valley still—
but you, old friend, are younger than you were.

(Lt. William Charles Wynn, 1873-1916, 4th Baron Newborough, whose grave overlooks the Vale of Ffestiniog in North Wales)

Out of the Night

We saw your death—they showed it on TV—
and had revenge if vengeance was our goal.
You thanked the Gods, whatever Gods may be,
and spoke of your unconquerable soul.
We shared a God—no, not the one whose whole
existence was compassionate, who tried
by promising redemption to console
his wayward children, and was crucified.
We chose your sterner Deity as guide,
with ancient tribal precepts and a sword.
Though Hope and Charity did not abide,
Faith lived when our uncompromising Lord—
not often merciful but always just—
demanded eye for eye and dust for dust.

(Timothy McVeigh, called the Oklahoma Bomber, chose Henley's "Invictus" as his epitaph)

Flotsam on a Winter Tide

Round again on the full tide, churning
close to the quiet foreshore, then
caught by the undertow and turning
round again—

slowing now: as far-travelled men,
turning back with regret or yearning,
drift for a while near a journey's end.

Knowing all and beyond all knowing,
Nature speaks in the tide's turn, when
all that drifts is gathered, going
round again.

Bird's Eye View

As if I work for him—how could he know
the weight of all my cares?—a robin hops
towards me from the border; then he stops
to watch me push my mower to and fro.
He looks for worms along the fresh-cut line,
while I seek inspiration for a gem
to stun my critics—how I'll dazzle them!
The bird has his agenda; I have mine.

My chore complete, I settle down to wring
some essence from our interaction. Now
a sharp deflating insight has unfurled
its wings. (I had been contemplating how
absurd it was for such a little thing
to think himself the centre of the world.)

Mother's Day

I hold the phone, remembering—
no need to call today.
Routine's my raft, and as I cling
I hold the phone, remembering
a loss. It is a cruel thing,
this trick the mind can play.
I hold the phone, remembering.
No need to call today.

Nearer to Thee

We scanned the headlines for the news
and sensed what was to come:
those children in the photograph
would not be coming home.
Small hope surrendered with a bleak
announcement on TV,
and someone played a brave old tune—
Nearer, my God, to Thee.

Can God be near when malice lurks
throughout the world He made,
when every generation sees
its innocents betrayed?
Each evil lessens all of us—
Who lets such evil be?
But grief fills churches, grief and shame,
and brings us nearer Thee.

We search for meaning, finding none,
for hope where hope has died.
I think about the message sent
when Christ was crucified:
untainted lives are beacons, bright
however dark the sea.
Take them, Father; take our hopes
and hold them near to Thee.

(In memory of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman)

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