WILD NATURE POETRY AWARD competition now open.

A maker, worker, and writer,

Ben Gwalchmai is the critically acclaimed author of the novel Purefinder [2013].


Ben has written for the New Statesman, Huffington Post, Imperica, and Welsh National Opera to name a select few.


Most recently, he has been published in Know Your Place: Essays on the Working class by the Working Class. Poetry Wales, IWA, and Nation. Cymru.


He is the co-founder of Labour for indyWales, lives in the area of Powys he’s from, and this is his first poetry collection.

Cover design by Domini McMunn







138 x 216mm


48 pages


£8.99 + P&P UK


ISBN 978-1-912876-16-7












swimming in locks //

kites over marches


Ben Gwalchmai



At the heart of the structure of this collection is a juxtaposition between locks and the red kite. But which kind of lock? And which kind of kite? They wrestle their meanings. Just as the collection wrestles with the Anthropocene we’ve made, just as the poet wrestles with Anglo-Welsh /Welsh /Borders /Gororau identity, just as there’s space given on borders for languages to bleed. In all this, the collection looks to answer ‘Who speaks for [the] Wales[es of Maldwyn]?’








Barrug // Hoarfrost


Crystalline first thing, it gave

a sense of poise;

the cool pregnant air



Promising to teem, it gave

a season to growth;

the slick gossamer




An hour's death. The path's

muddy, the air's sucked, and

the frost has gone but the wet

– that viscous, that claim, that

taint – has flooded the scene.

Each step, a muddy sweetening.




Many a good woman has married a horse


Many a good woman has married a horse.

In the horses eyes, they see promise

and in the legs, riches.


Many a good man has slept with horses.

In the horse's mouth, they find comfort

and in that stench, luck.


Many a good child has slain a horse.

In the horse's death, they see caring

and in its blood, love.


Many a good fool has married a woman.

Many a good fool has married a man.

Many a good fool has amused a child

and in being kicked to death, loved.


Many a mourner has married a woman.

Many a mourner has married a man.

Many a mourner has amused a child

and in being kicked to death, loved.


Many horses make light work of love.



straw cut blackberry


Straw cut, blackberry, hot brash;

glints like flints does, blue teeth –

some put death in the cut

but it's only the turning of the crop.


Stranger dressed gaudy, going by;

flourescent orange jumps hedge –

some put depth in the jump

and it’s only the living of the boy.


I sit in the field,

the field sits in me.














Locks are a meeting

where arbitration is

successful and desires, met.



Every person is a lock,

each lock a personage.


Each of us can be picked

every time we click.



To live in a lock house,

to be lock keepers,

is to crave regular

maintenance, oils,

windlasses –

few wind lasses come here

now and the wind has never

moved the lock much.


You live in Lock House,

a house of locks –

glint mechanics, metal

memorizing movement

yet rigid & fixed on

your withdrawal & return –

to which I ask,

'Which kind of key?








The indifferent scale.

The quarry, the calcite,

the silicon, the mine,

the lorry, the sulphite,

nanocarbon, the time.


Yet you breed.


Overuse, worlds of health.

The mangroves, the fishing,

the resulting, the dams,

the lostwove, the locking,

polyhalite, the cans.


Yet you survive.


You see all this, all this loss,

and somehow scavenge a thriving

from our killing your home.


You are enough to give a man hope



Kites over


Dreams freeing and trapping in equal measure,

what do your brother gweilch dream of?


Enough wood to rebuild a wood,

enough car parts for a car factory,

enough plastic to scupper Tupperware.


Constituency territories, fleeing for feeding

but returning for breeding – tens of miles.


Do you see a time when all that wood is yours?

Do you see a time when cars have run their run?

Do you see me, with you?

9781912876167 P1077241