This month's featured artist is Anna Lewis:
Anna Lewis’s first poetry collection, Other Harbours, was published by Parthian in 2012. Her poems and short stories have appeared widely in magazines and anthologies, and her story ‘Fruit’ won the Orange/Harper’s Bazaar short story competition. Her new pamphlet The Blue Cell, poems which explore the lives of a number of early medieval Welsh saints, is due from Rack Press later this spring.
Anna’s website and blog can be found at www.annalewis.org.uk.
Gwladys and Gwynllyw
He used to come home and show me
the blood on his hands, the scraps of hair
stuck to his forearms,
used to hold out to me his stiffened palms
and smile, tired and shining.
Those hands: I took them, raised them, kissed them,
closer to the men he’d spilled
than their own wives, who waited still
for news in muffled, soot-lined huts –
between women, my salute.
All that is gone, since our son
held out his faith, his face above it lit;
now each night, between the leafless trees
we wash: the water slices off
our shames, our cruelties.
I watch my husband’s silver chest,
his silver stomach cut up from the lake,
armfuls of water hours from ice
thrown back and forth across the breadth of him.
He comes to me reeled in steam;
his breath condenses on my cheek.
Note: Gwladys and her husband Gwynllyw were infamous warrior chiefs in Glamorgan around the fifth century. They abandoned their violent ways of life after their son converted to Christianity.
(From The Blue Cell (Rack Press, forthcoming). First published in Agenda magazine).