Some of my Poems

‘A cwtch in Kyrenia’ book launch

‘A cwtch in Kyrenia’ book launch

Book Launch of Simone’s new slim volume of observational, narrative poems, based on a lost-and-found notebook, a journal of a trip to Kyrenia, re-discovered late in 2022.’

Sunday 2nd April 2:30-4:00 pm at the Pole Barn, Ceridwen Centre


 ‘First catch your hare…’
those inevitable jokes about jugging,
about the long slow cooking required,
as I cradled him in that Laithwaite’s box,
carried him home with wrap of bubble
and shredded paper for his bedding;

some debate about full moon,
about which night it fell on,
felt it had to be later than the Thursday,
weren’t surprised when lunacy
snared us at a craft fair;

bought a hare, a wide-eyed, startled specimen
trapped in mid-flight,
not a moon-gazing, other-worldly hare,
not a groomed, tamed, symbolic hare,
but a running one,
ungainly, windruffled.

Cast bronze, which we didn’t grasp till googling after,
but what he was made of didn’t matter,
nor the fact that he was a second,
a flawed hare we’d maybe rescued from the flame,
for this was not
a rational purchase;

just something about the texture
of his coat, his lopsided gait, huge feet, huge ears,
something hugely appealing;
also the magic thing…The only live hare we’d seen before
had led us down to the beach at Mwnt
that day, probably full moon,
we decided to come back here.

A Photo for Grandpa

He’d snapped them all – his choice of verb, not mine –
Queen Mum, Princesses Margaret…and Anne, stars
of chart and catwalk, the rich, the famous
and the bad. Now here he was, winding down,
in a modest studio close to us.

The natural choice for our task.
happy families snap for Grandpa.
The op had gone well: we were told he’d make
a full recovery, yet Grandpa was beset
by gloom, could not face the world, had turned
his chair to the wall.

We were asked to stay away, give him space, so,
having summoned, drilled, scrubbed our wayward brood,
we posed – awkwardly, the first and only time –
for this. An image with a large remit,
to tell him that he’s loved, that life is good,
that his son’s made it, that grandkids scrambled
on the cusp of adulthood.

Things were glossed over, touched up, edited out:
the scene was staged. Not all was rosy
but did it work? Grandpa’s chair did turn back round.
No visitors signs were packed away. He caged
his demons, rallied, even as reality
unravelled, soundless, at the edges of our frame.

Summer shower

Just now, there were two thunderclaps,
that prescient pause, and then rain.
At first it seemed to be a passing shower,
but we thought wrong. The clouds
unburdened themselves. You drank
your coffee, laughing as I ran to rescue
newly pegged out washing.

These last few weeks, I have become used
to trusting the weather, to trusting the sun
to persist, to trusting that there will be
the smell of line-dried linen come the evening
What folly! I fumble with unclipping, mocked
by fat, hot, earthbound tears.

Twenty minutes and it’s over, but the air
is thick, the sky still laden, my skin sticky.
Outside the kitchen, the decking dries fast. Pets
are on shutdown, eking out energy
in furry torpor. I am a creature

of temperate climes, loving the lusciousness
of a Mediterranean summer, yet
barely able to function when it comes here.
I will need to adapt.

On the First Day

On the First Day

On the first day of Christmas my new love gave to me
a lift to the station, on oat milk skinny latte,
a text with smiley faces, and, as I seemed like
the kind of bird who wouldn’t mind, one bird – to mind –
for the night.

On the second day of Christmas my new love gave to me
two texted silly jokes, avian-themed, two strange close-up photos,
rather intimate, the items already itemised, and,
if she wasn’t causing any hassle, could his partridge
just hang out for a while
in my tree?

On the third day of Christmas my new love gave to me
three calls to arrange the evening,
three lukewarm Pinot Grigios, and so, as I was feeling
somewhat mellow, I said – the cat’s just ignoring her.
It’s ok, she can stay a bit longer, while you get yourself sorted,
a little longer
in my pear tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas my new love surprised me
with four tickets to the footie
with two of his mates, who bought me four cuppas
because I was freezing, and I just gave that smug bird
a frosty glare as I shivered past it on the doorstep.
P.S. Too cross to list
the other things.

On the fifth day of Christmas my not-quite-so-new love
turned up with a £5 box of chocolate truffles,
(I know as he’d left the ticket on). He’d spotted
my snuffles from the footie, and, to keep me company,
he said he’d leave Polly,
for the week.

On the sixth day of Christmas, what was my treat?
I remember it well. An all-you-can-eat-for-£16 Indian buffet,
(far too much to be honest), and six mints,
and an After Eight, and all of the items
I’ve told you before, but I couldn’t taste anything,
and that bird, that cheery bird, chirruping away,
she kept me awake
all night.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
seven minutes of passion – I could be wrong about timings –
at the end of Jools Holland, at least I think
that’s what it was, unless he’d lost the remote, or my Kleenex.
He passed out. The partridge was wide-eyed though,
staring at me.
Was too confused for lists.

On the eighth day of Christmas he brought me nothing,
except eight hours of insomnia. He seemed distinctly distant.
So what did I have to show for the other seven days,
just a cold that wouldn’t budge, and my role
as unpaid bird minder?

On the ninth day of Christmas my love brought me
nine carnations and an I’m sorry card and a £9 set
of undies from the M&S sale. I know – I was with him
when he paid, and yes they do very nearly fit. We agreed –
not a tweet about birds, or pear trees,
for the day.

On the tenth day of Christmas it was strange, all change,
ten words I didn’t know I’d hear – We don’t want
to rush things, let’s take it slowly. Somehow the bird
picked up the vibe, stayed quiet
for once.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, what happened? Right.
Eleven hours of worrying as I was late;
eleven minutes of coming to my senses as he was late;
eleven seconds of shouting, but it was too late. And that partridge,
well she was still here, but
she kept well out of it.

On the twelfth day of Christmas – twelve minutes of grieving
as I packed up his stuff. You’d be amazed
how much a man can spread around in twelve days
He took one load, said he’d be back for the rest,
but that was twelve hours ago,
and the partridge hasn’t gone…


Words: Simone Mansell Broome
Illustration: Cerys Susannah Rees

Last Samaritan in Paris

Rene Robert, a Swiss photographer famous for his images of Spanish flamenco stars, died in January 2022, in Paris, after a fall.

Nine hours.
Not stripped, robbed, beaten this time. Not left
at the side of the road that runs
from Jerusalem to Jericho.
Left for dead. Not this time.

This was
urban abandonment, half a world,
two millennia away. Nine hours
on a cold January night, between
the Place de la Republique and les Halles,
a route he knew well, his bedtime stroll,
his territory.

A dizzy spell,
a trip, a slip, a fall and a man is down,
alien, anonymous. These priests and Levites
tonight are again too busy, too wary to bend
to check. Look the other way, cross over,
pass by, lost in our own concerns.

It takes another invisible one
to call at last for aid, (maybe another
of those six hundred who’ll die
on France’s streets this year).
Help comes too late.

If we’d had time,
had known his fame, weighed up the passion
of his art, would he have seemed at last
like one of us?
No ass or inn this time.
Just absence, indifference.