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foto©robcullen16012016.

In this place there are empty shapes.

Spaces, moving. Here, there, everywhere.

Spaces moving among us, about us.

The shape of the missing,

we no longer hear, or see.

People we once knew, touched,

talked with, laughed with, cried too,

they were features of this place, this town,

they are missing now. Do we miss them?

Do we have a sense of the empty space they once filled?

Once, not so long ago, a month or so,

when I was engaged on my daily walk,

I would meet older people, some very old,

Late 80’s, early nineties…


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withkindpermissionofRhonddaCynonTafLibraryArchives

The bridge has been taken away

I told you about the old bridge

that was there before

the bridge that was there before

where

the tin shed cinema stood

keeping its darkness

inside…in.

Memory

of…

running from the film …show

running from the… dark

across the …bridge

into the intense colour of the park

I was always running then

I was three.

Doctors were paid,

to write “heart failure”,

or heart stopped,

on the death certificate

of miners -

silicosis or pneumoconiosis,

“miners lung,”

inhaled coal dust in plain words

were not words

in the doctors…


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foto©robcullen30012021.

Telephone call came at five,

To tell her he’d died

At four thirty,

Died in his sleep peacefully.

She listened in the darkness,

It was morning,

But it lightness wouldn’t come,

For four more hours.

She made a cup of tea,

Sat in the quiet of the kitchen,

Everything was quiet now,

So she made lists of who to call.

It was two hours before she would call

The three children,

Let them sleep in the quietness,

Let them lie like she used to.

She stopped herself from saying

“when he was alive”

Now she’d…


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foto©robcullen16012021.

Waves of lines, white tides, rollers moving,

Breaking on another shore in another time,

Waves rolling in silence, slow as mercury,

Silver, shimmering, there is no sun in this sky.

It is a panorama without feature, or horizon,

I can fix my gaze outward — it is fixed anyway,

Sunlight moves across the unmoving vista,

Unchangeable, while slow grey traffic passes.

The windows of people’s houses have the blinds drawn,

Now and then, I used to see someone look out from their window,

They never looked at me, they never waved, or made any sign,

I stopped…


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foto©robcullen13012021

“Our lives are but specks of sand — better to use the time we have usefully.”

Bridging

In this time of fractures

Of the emergence

Of old hatreds

The telling of lies

When politicians, our leaders

Seem unable to refrain

From encouraging fear

We need to build bridges not walls.

Bridges aren’t just about getting somewhere

In this age of having to get somewhere

Bridges are about connections

About joining one side to another

To join the divides and separations

Bridges span different views

Bridges connect generations

We need to build bridges not walls.

Bridges make things come…


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foto©robcullen16012016. The bandstand a place for teenage tryst, ghosts haunt the place now.

In this place there are empty shapes.

Spaces, moving. Here, there, everywhere.

Spaces moving among us, about us.

The shape of the missing,

we no longer hear, or see.

People we once knew, touched,

talked with, laughed with, cried to,

they were features of this place, this town,

they are missing now. Do we miss them?

Do we have a sense of the empty space they once filled?

Once, not so long ago, a month or so,

when I was engaged on my daily walk,

I would meet older people, some very old,

Late 80s, early nineties…


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credit: Norse research project.weekly.com

Puca watched his brother Coyote

Fall from the tail of White headed Eagle again,

Fall far from the Sun and Immortality un-gained.

Another of Coyote’s tricks unhinged another fall.

Puca knew Coyote would take on another shape,

Always with the same voice, wise people would not listen to.

But the poor and wretched needing hope might.

Puca watched Coyote transform into another form.

As sure as night followed day, a trick would be played,

So that Coyote would reach the sun and immortality.

Puca smiled it is the endless game the Trickster plays,

Puca feels restless, there’s…


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Foto©robcullen18092020

Turning, or maybe returning, to you.

I remember the first time

I listened to your words, your voice,

hearing the sound of another lover

Of words and the search for a meaning.

Your words gave an assurance.

I studied your verse without rhyme,

lines with their own meter and chapters.

At a time when my skin betrayed me,

days when I felt the hurt rejection brings,

I needed to find someone like you,

and as if to order, you emerged, only you.

Your accent was always familiar,

though harder edged than my father’s,

and now I seek…


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credit Amnesty International

Your soul is a bright shining flame,

A beacon illuminating darkness.

For those who stand in days brightness.

It will never light those hiding in shame,

Your spirit is the brightest of stars,

sparkling glowing in the night sky,

your brightness shines through the lie,

of those who took you in their cars.

Your name and life will be remembered.

Poems will be written about you,

Love songs will be sung to you,

Your name and life will be remembered.

This is a love song to Giulio Regeni,

And to all those who disappeared,

Whose lives…


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fotorobcullen042015

-

I don’t expect you to understand.

It was as if a door to a hidden room

had suddenly been opened.

I had no time to prepare myself

for the sight of what lay within.

-

It was a store, where old things

had been locked away for so long.

It’s not that I would have preferred

that room to stay locked and closed.

But I didn’t know the past would cause so much pain.

-

Memories that still hold power

to stun the soul with hard shafts

of cruel unrelenting shame,

I had to begin to pick through,

to…

Rob Cullen

Rob Cullen artist, writer, poet. Rob runs “Voices on the Bridge” a poetry initiative in Wales. Walks hills and mountains daily with a sheep dog at his side.

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