100 Poems


Lost in Waves + Perdidos en olas

We found some large stones
on a slope
on Rhossili Down.

We sat down on one of them
to watch the waves.

Some rocks, much smaller ones,
lay scattered about.

Others, the bigger ones,
once capped, I said,
a burial chamber.

They belonged, I said,
to the New Stone Age people
who came to Gower
six thousand years ago.

You said: “So it was here
that they buried their dead?”

I nodded and added
that it was there,
just below the tomb,
just above the waves,
that they placed
their standing stones.

I pulled you closer,
we both fell silent,
lost in thought
and waves.

Perdidos en las olas

Encontramos unas piedras
en una pendiente
de Rhossili Down.

Nos sentamos en una de ellas.
para mirar las olas.

Algunas piedras más pequeñas
yacían esparcidas

Otras, las más grandes,
taparon, te dije:
una cámara funeraria.

Pertenecían, te dije,
a la gente de la Nueva Edad de Piedra
quien vino a Gower
hace seis mil años.

“¿Así que fue aquí”, dijiste
que sepultaron a sus muertos?”

Asentí y agregué
que estaba allí,
justo debajo de la tumba,
por encima de las olas,
que erigieron
sus piedras verticales.

Te acerqué más y nos callamos,
perdidos en pensamientos
y en las olas.

Robert Gurney, from Deep Down, in progress.


Anne Allen (+ ‘Anne’)

Aún puedo verla,
a mi prima, Anne Allen.

Todavía observo
su cabello rubio ceniza.

Éramos de la misma edad,
y habíamos nacido el mismo día.

Parecíamos gemelos.

Aún puedo verla.

Recuerdo nuestros once años
y ella parada como un ángel
a un costado de la calle
en Baglan, en Gales,
solo un segundo antes
que se produjera
un pequeño hematoma
en su frente.

Un auto había atrapado su vestido.

Todavía llevo
su foto en blanco y negro
dentro de la cabeza.

Su tumba está cerca del porche
de la iglesia de Todos los Santos
en Houghton Regis.

Suelo visitarla, cuando puedo.

Robert Edward Gurney, 21.09.2018
Traducción de ‘Anne’.


I can still see her,
my cousin,
Anne Allen.

I can still see
her ash blond hair.

We were the same age,
born on the same day.

We were like twins.

I can still see her,
aged eleven,
standing like an angel
beside the road
in Baglan, in Wales,
just one second before
she was gone,
a tiny bruise
on her forehead,

A car caught her dress.

I still carry
her black and white picture
inside my head.

Her grave
is near the porch
of All Saints church
in Houghton Regis.

I still visit her,
when I can.

The Lovers
To Marc Chagall

Chagall could have painted it:
the gaping doors
of a church at an angle,
the black void inside,
the wedding feast laid out
in an empty dance hall,
the bride and groom
flying away
above the road.

It started in Berkhamsted
and finished in Dunstable.

We were looking for
a picture framer
for our photo,
Gower From Space.

The first place we went into
proved to be shocking.

I mean, I’m broadminded,
but I have never seen
such pornography
as that which the chap
in the Berkhamsted gallery
had propped up
against his wall.

“150 pounds,” he said.
stretching out our picture.

I asked if he knew
of someone else.

“There’s a place in Tring”,
he replied.

That shop was shut.

It was then that I noticed
a Congregational church,
its doors wide open.

Down from some high steps
a man was shouting
to another in a car
in the street below:
the couple had not arrived,
they had gone, perhaps,
to the wrong church.

I then saw
what looked like
an old music hall,
the ‘Victoria Rooms’,
on the other side
of the street.

A kind man seemed to be waiting,
looking up and down,
gazing at his watch.

“Come in,” he said
and have a look”.

We went upstairs
into an old-fashioned dance hall,
complete with stage,
where tables were laid out
for a wedding meal.

“They’ve gone to the wrong place,”
I said.

He sighed.

The third framer we tried
was in Dunstable High Street.

We parked outside Asda
and suddenly saw them
framed by our windscreen.

A middle-aged man
with a broad grin on his face
was sprinting towards
Births, Deaths and Marriages
dragging along, by the hand,
an embarrassed-looking woman,
plump and of uncertain years.

She was running inside
a stiif bridal dress,
her veil flapping in the wind,
a posy in her hand.

They were both

I didn’t think they would make it
as they dodged the traffic
streaming in and out
of the car park.

“I’m sure I saw them just now,
in Tring, in a wedding car,”
my wife Paddy reflected.

I don’t know, looking back,
it seems like a mystery.

From a book in progress.

Rosemary Grant: 2018
RG: I do indeed recognise all those places in Tring, Bob. What a flustered bride that incident would have produced! Most unconventional! Don’t recognize the porn framer but I need to look harder. Just write in your own way. Unto thine own self be true. The poem is observant, ironic, amusing. I like the framed image in the windscreen, being very visually aware.
Me: My imagination is photographic. Not sure you can say that!
RG: Agree! I see things from an artist’s point of view but also the sounds and rhythms of words are essential to me, when writing.
That is a fine and affectionate picture of the bridal pair: she running, almost flying, in her stiff unmoving dress, with her bouquet, and he grinning. You have caught the innocence and gaiety of a Chagall picture. There is that air of mad disorientation, too, and blissful lack of concern.

Robert Edward Gurney I get castigated for muddying the boundary between poetry and prose!!! It’s how I tell a story, breaking it up into short lines. I spent years, summers, telling Africa stories to a fair-sized audience of children, including my own, on holidays in Wales. More, more, they cried.

Annie Davison Lovely,made me smile

Robert Edward Gurney: Thank you, Annie, loyal reader!!

Tony De Sarzec You are worried about muddying the boundary? The sort of crap that stakes a claim to be poetry these days is unbelievable and barely rises above nursery rhyme. And the ‘poets’ who churn out this garbage need to go and study what poetry is. No Bob. You are a good writer and you have developed your own style of writing. Personally I really like it. Everyone’s a critic. To hell with them! For my part, I always find you a breath of fresh air. So carry on sergeant and stop worrying about what pedants say or think!