Sonia Goulding

The time before

I come from a house in the air with no garden,
but railings we’d climb without fear, near the
clanging shipyard and the sound of the hooter,
where sometimes we’d wait by the gates for my dad.
I come from streets where the rag and bone man would
stand with his horse, and goldfish in bags.
I come from high railway bridges, tenement buildings,
green budgies in cages and gipsy charm curses.
I come from hand-in-hand to the river with dad,
past blue-buzzing pylons to buttercup banks,
sticks of wild rhubarb and quick sticklebacks.
I come from prayers in assembly, clean shoes and
hanky, winning on sports day in navy knicker glory.
I come from collecting the pension for old Mr Morgan,
díolch cariad as we brought home his shopping.
I come from sugar butties, bubble and squeak on a
Monday, and sneaking downstairs at family parties.
I come from a ghost in a frame on the wall, the infant
brother who lived and died before I was born, the most
beautiful child, my dad said, that he ever saw.
I come from here: I come from the time before.

Sonia lives in a small village in North Wales. In recent years she has had articles published online and in print and has recently returned to writing poetry since attending a creative writing course with Arvon in November 2020. As a Welsh
student, she has developed an interest in the poetry of the language, winning first
prize with her debut poem at the Learners Eisteddfod just before the first national
lockdown in 2020, and achieving second to The Chair in the same competition in March 2021. The first of these poems, on the subject of the River Dee, has been requested for use by Natural Resources Wales.