VoicesontheBridge@GlobetrottersBar Pontypridd Wales – Sunday 12th May Tickets are like hot cakes- and flyers are flying! Don’t miss this one…

May Flyer

A Sense of duty (excerpt)

060215Trealaw 238.JPG

I listen to the voices of those

talking quietly of their day

of their worries,

and sharing the joy

of milestones missed

the sadness of memories

and the missing of you.

I watch men who stand

leaning, crying in a grief

that has no sense of ending

of the keening, of the longing

to hear your voice

before the sound

of it is forgotten

and that dread of forgetting.

There is a kind of peace here.

White Sheets

DSC_5843 (1)White sheets.

Hanging from the wash line.

Is this a wash day?

A wash day like it used to be in the village.

With every house on a Tuesday morning

hanging the washing on line after line

in the back gardens.

The wind catches the sheets.

And as they billow like sails

they make that cracking noise

as the cotton snaps to its full length.

White sheets blowing in the wind.

Rising and falling as they are caught and buffeted.

The wind drops and the white sheets

slowly drift back to hang limply.

The wind rises again and the sheets

begin to stretch out with the force of the breeze.

The clouds break.

And brilliant sunshine illuminates the sheets.

A stronger gust and the sheets stream out again.

Each sheet rises in sequence to reveal the pathway.

To reveal you standing there.

You. Watching me.


And the sheets hide you again as they fall

to hang without movement.

But then begin to unfurl and rise

as yet another gust pushes the white cotton out

and you are once again exposed.

You stand watching me with that serious look.

Your eyes expressionless.

Studying me.

And once more the whiteness falls

to cover where you are standing.

There is no movement now.

Just the brilliant whiteness

falling on you like a curtain.

And then you are revealed again.

But it is not you.

It’s the girl standing there in your place.

Your daughter.

Standing there expressionless.

Staring as the sheets rise and fall rhythmically.

And then you begin to move.

A long slow stride.

Towards me.

You move.

Almost as though you are in slow motion.

That slow time again.

There is no sound now.

Your eyes are focused on me.

You know me.

You look at me.

And now rain drops.

The sound of a steady pit-pat.

The sound increasing.

Rain falling.

Suddenly a crescendo.

White sheets spattered.

Grey spots

On white sheets.

Nearly dry white sheets.

Water spatters.

Water stained

White sheets.

Turning grey.

Hanging limp now.

Hanging to the ground.

And you are gone

Awake now in the darkness.

Uncertain of the time.

Lying there listening.

To the rain.

Rain hitting against the window of the bedroom.

Words (Excerpt)


I love the revelry of words sound

words as they ride and are formed

languishing momentarily or longer

on the back of the tongue

brought forward on the breath

to roll and reverberate in the vault

of the mouths vast darkness

to briefly rest on the tongues tip

a momentary and glorious savouring

and then to flit from the bit of my teeth

and freed then thrown outward

on the stuttering blast of breath

the sound of words the dissonant clash

and the smooth assonance

that always manages to awaken me.

Uncertain Times (excerpt)

Of words and truth.


Like grasses bundled

And withered in storm

We are blown helplessly

And not a word is spoken.

Who sings the authentic song?

Who speaks the words of truth?

Who stands for me and mine?

Who looks at what we see?

Who hears what we hear?

Who breathes the air we breathe?

Who sees what is right and wrong?

Who speaks for me and mine?

Who sings the authentic song?

Where are our heroes and poets now?

 Rob Cullen

The Black Box

The Black Box.


It’s been the first night

I’ve slept right through

In a month or more

I woke thinking

Of you and that black box

You used to keep

under your bed

and those messages

from the past it contained.

A few words written

On brown parcel paper

With the correct postage

Sent from Germany

In nineteen forty five

You wrote to your love

Breaking out tonight

Heading for American lines

But you ended up

With the Russians instead

And we laughed at that

So typical of our dad.

But there was that faded

Old telegram too

So fragile now

From where you’d

Handled it so often

Telling you your brother

Had died that morning.

He’d fought in the war

Just like you

And came home

To the  austerity

Of a land on its knees

Not free from desease

And the virulency of TB

That defied the hope

Of that miracle

Drug penicillin.

People have forgotten

The fear contagion

Of disease could bring

My poor uncle

Visited his old home

And his family

In Ireland for that last time

Not knowing

That he carried

A death sentence

And passed the disease

to his younger brother

And to his own daughter

Then when it came

To having tests in school

Before inoculation

It was found that

I was immune

And I must have been

exposed to it too.

But luck showed its hand

And stood on my

Right shoulder.

As children we’d run

around the street

singing that old jingle

Who won the war

in nineteen forty four.

And my father

Would say quietly

You shouldn’t believe

In such lies

And that constant

Bragging of the greatness

Of the British Empire.

We fought in a war

But paid for it dearly

War is never something

To be bragged over.


Rob Cullen 18/05 2016.