Sheila-Na-Gig online


Robert Nisbet

Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet whose work has appeared widely in Britain and the USA. He won the Prole Pamphlet Competition in 2017 with Robeson, Fitzgerald and Other Heroes. In the USA he has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize (four times) and for a Best of the Net Award.

Dragonflies at the Rectangle

The town’s historic Britain, but this building
is twentieth-century bland conformity,
the committee room a grey-washed rectangle.
Morgan at the County Council focus group.

Beyond his corner window seat, flat roof,
dark green tarpaulin, cheaper kind, sagging,
dipping and ridged, and by his corner,
long-gathered water, blown-in leaves,

a natural pond. And here assembling birds,
the region’s thrushes, tits and jays, one crow
alongside, pushing, strutting, the wing-wash,
splash, and best, in blur and suddenness,

the dragonflies. The colours scintillate,
the blues, the greens, the rushed excitement
of the wings’ fable, those thirty strokes
each second of the pond’s prodigious life.


Our memories of that time, that boyhood,
are pale, and yellowing almost to white,
but that boyhood time was one of green sap.

The fields and hedges, the streams where we swam
were filled with growth and impulse. Even in summer
the shock and joy of sudden cold would shudder
through our bodies’ search for bloom.

And yet the photographs, the various entries
in all those albums of the County’s Past,
nostalgia-banks, the Facebook compilations:
most show the hedges, fields, in grey and sepia,
and our boy-self prototypes, on river banks,
as Lowry-people, stick-boy images,

ignoring both the water’s brilliant cold
and the virility, the green-sap aspiration,
already nascent in those pale white forms.

%d bloggers like this: