Mike Jenkins

The Singer at Nimfes
for  Teris  Vlacos

We’ve taken the serpent road
into the island interior,
where the water nymphs
have grown legs for the evening
and time ceases to matter
as the night cools in.

Old women in black shuffling,
clutching charred sweetcorn,
children flitting back and fore
in the lights their wings
never burnt, the stage lit up
in the village square.

Songs of history and mourning,
songs from a time
before the tourists came:
the two men sit
harmonise and join in;
the singer sweeps his arms
in gestures of tragedy.

From the audience, he calls children
to his platform and suddenly
his past in these mountains
meets with present renown
and hesitant young voices
splash in shallows of song.

Retired teacher of English at various secondary schools in Wales, n. Ireland and Germany. 
Winner of many awards , including Eric Gregory Prize, John Tripp Prize for Spoken Poetry & Wales Book of the Year. Latest book is in Merthyr dialect, ‘From Aberfan t Grenfell’ ( Culture Matters) with artist Alan Perry.

You can hear this poem at
new recording 6-m4a