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With Rae Howells

Bay WAS DELIGHTED TO BE CONTACTED BY RAE HOWELLS OF WEST CROSS WHO WON THE PRESTIGIOUS WELSH INTERNATIONAL POETRY COMPETITION 2017 – WALES’ ONLY MAJOR POETRY COMPETITION, WHICH RECEIVES ENTRIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD.

The first Welsh Poetry Competition was set up by poet and writer Dave Lewis in 2007. It was officially launched on St David’s Day at Clwb-Y-Bont, Pontypridd, with the aim to encourage and foster the wealth of creative writing talent that exists in Wales. It aims to inspire people to capture life in the present day and to give a voice to a new generation of poets and writers.

Inspired by Rae’s poem, Bay designer Simon Williams took the opportunity to illustrate it in a wood-cut style.

Airlings by Rae Howells

Somebody has wrung them out

two old flannels

two un-eyed rabbits

as if the rain had hooked them

from the air

twisted their lives out

wrung them out

two old flannels, loose knots

flung on a heap

 

flung

on a temple of old bracken

and dry grass, moving,

shushing, shush,

 

or are those fierce whispers

urging wake, wake,

remember?

 

remember how you ran

into the air,

you could hardly keep your feet,

barely pricked the soft pasture

as you leapt, always trying to

free yourself,

flinging yourself skyward

your face turned towards light

 

but dragging the needle’s thread

the heavy gold thread of

yourself

you buttoned your soft weight

into the rising of the hill,

paused to press down the

ploughed soil

with your feet,

small brown pin.

 

I see now, you were the earth’s

beat,

her quick blood,

submitting to the arteries of the

burrow

only for your dreams of the wind

 

among warm bodies strung,

beads along the vessels,

rows of ears and feet,

each body a stitch in the seam,

you hemmed the earth and

the sky.

 

Shush now, shush, old flannels,

wrung out on a heap,

your legs stretched long on the

old dry grass,

listen how the wind sings,

her longing fingers in your fur

as she whispers –

come little airlings

unbutton yourselves

kick the light with your feet

the earth can hold herself

awhile.

 

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