Name: Berenice Dunford
country: Wales
bio: Berenice was born in England and moved to Wales more than two decades ago. She writes poetry and prose and has had her work published in an anthology, representing her town in a national competition. She runs Bag End Poetry & Message Board, a poetry critique forum. She wrote her first poem at the age of ten, making the accidental but pleasing discovery that her thoughts put down in a diary looked like a "real" poem. Berenice currently lives on a tiny Welsh peninsula, surrounded by the mountains and the sea.

Jo !
Kangaroo Court.

silent tears roll down

noisy jeers ring out
battered asphalt

Judgement pronounced
for no other reason
than being different

decades pass
scars heal
at one out of place
tears begin
again to fall

Reaction is
to defend self and sanity
facing the world
as a kangaroo court

Coffee & Counsel

It's funny, we rarely talk about
the weather. Instead we sit behind
our cups and trace the stains
of other counsels across my table-cloth.

We talk with words and gestures,
chase the schemes we share.
Then the climate shifts. Our nightmares
begin to cross paths and collide,
bounce ceiling to wall to floor.

Words streak away, we don't know
why, or where. This counsel pulls us
through tunnels and caves, tempered
with her cigarettes, my kettle
and our dreams.

The clock's time-bomb ticks,
as our egos click with the sound.
Eyes meet, ponder, as we wander by,
unaware each is catching the other's hell.

All the while, the Swiss Cheese-plant
drips at us, drips across the tablecloth,
tries to recall it's jungle roots. A car
horn shatters our coffeed chit-chat.

Deep secrets return to their rightful
place. We go back to the business
of the world. We gather up the cups,
mop away the stains
and hug
and part
and pray
this one is not the last.

threads of love

you found time
to listen,
my first word
hung in the void
spanning infinity,
you stretched out,
almost missing
my heart
falling towards
private hell,
causing you
to reach again,
i wept
for fear that i
would be the cause
of your overbalance,
you caught me,
wrapped invisible arms
around my emptiness,
said softly,

whatever my loss
or yours,
we have threads of love
to hold us together

The Iron Lady and I.

Poky mid terrace back kitchen,
nightfall of Thatcher's Britain,
lost in a small Welsh town,
Carmarthen nineteen ninety.
I live out my homesick pain
with iron and sweet starch spray.

Of gas fire hiss and media murmur
and rain slashed on grimy glass,
of politics and era's end,
in lonely oblivion I labour.

Words rise from whisper to roar,
to fill a dingy night with colour.
Fading icon pauses to gaze
tears trapped within her eyes.
And suddenly I am held

by quiet calm after rampant storm,
by a pause before curtain fall.
One final closing door upon
my childhood innocence.
I listen for a tolling bell
to roll out across the gloom

and all I hear
is ssshhh of steam
and all I smell is starch.

Welsh Summer Afternoon.

Whisper in the summer garden,
whisper of a small flicker
of finger touching wind,
of lifting fringes
from herbaceous borders,
of hollyhocks bowing to lupins
prior to the dance,
of roses drooping
petal weary with heat hung haze.

Here is a drift of air,
breathed out softly,
then hush
and quiet again.

Nothing, but nothing
can break this tranquillity
in it's shades and shadows
of a passing afternoon,
gathered around a squat stone cottage
bound to earth
by four hundred years of occupancy,

with walls a murmuring,
agreeing and disagreeing
on who did reside within,
stretched from post medieval squalor
humans and animals alike
crammed into an excrement stenched commune,
to twenty first century
buy us a quaint old cottage
and play at country living.

Walls and trees have seen it all,
have dismissed it all
and drifted back to a summer
sleep-dazed afternoon.