Poems to share

2. The one in which I drive through Crumlin wondering where the cigarette-razed crisp factory used to be

Despite its tileless roof and its weeds, there is an iridescence
to Crumlin’s crumbling colliery. Except, this morning as I cruise
beyond its towering chimney, I imagine its bruising

underworld – the scent of dust and sweat silenced
like this valley’s churches. I change gear as if in the presence
of ghosts. In her Grenfell bedroom, with smoke crawling,

would my Derys cwtch her teddies or her Barbies?
In my vision, I lie by her door as carbon monoxide lines
my lungs. The gas won’t be confined:

assisted by cladding, it spreads over neighbours sleeping
in front of TVs. I picture my Hayden nodding awake
like a coal mine trapper who’d sit alone for hours as methane seeped

from the coal seam. From Grenfell’s 23rd floor, a son’s Goodbye sailed
in a Snapchat. The roadside willows look weary.
Derys asks: ‘Are my sandwiches Marmite?’ ‘Sorry,’

I reply, wondering why I made her ham. Hayden yells: ‘Epic fail!’
Grenfell lacked sprinklers – cost-cutting prevailed.
In my mind, Derys runs down its storeys. Her slippers are soggy.

© Marvin Thompson, from Road Trip (Peepal Tree Press, £9.99)

We are thrilled to be able to share with you an audio recording of the poem – read by the poet himself – as well as these fantastic notes (in both English and Welsh) to help you enjoy the poem and encourage meaningful conversations on its themes.

Notes from the Poet
Nodiadau gan y Bardd

2. Yr un lle dwi’n gyrru trwy Grymlyn yn meddwl am weddillion tân-sigarét y ffatri greision.

Er gwaetha’r to heb deils a’r chwyn, mae glofa gloff, adfeiliog Crymlyn
yn pefrio, rhywsut. Ond heddiw, a minnau’n crwydro’r cyrion
tu hwnt i’w simnai dal, dwi’n dychmygu byd ei pherfedd

cleisiog – arogl llwch a chwys yn fud
fel eglwysi’r dyffryn hwn. Dwi’n newid gêr, fel pe bai ysbryd
yma’n fy ngwylio. Yn ei llofft yn Grenfell, a mwg yn cripio

ai ei thedis neu ei barbis fyddai Derys ni’n eu cwtsio?
Yn fy nychymyg, dwi’n gorwedd wrth ei drws wrth i garbon monocsid leinio
fy ysgyfaint. Nid oes dal y nwy yn ôl,

a chyda help y gaenen, mae’n lledu at gymdogion, ynghwsg
o flaen eu sgriniau. Dwi’n gweld Hayden ni yn hepian cysgu, a deffro
fel un o geidwaid drysau’r pwll, a eisteddai eu hunain am oriau wrth i fethan lithro

o’r wythïen lo. Yn Grenfell, o’r trydydd llawr ar hugain mae ffarwel mab yn hwylio
mewn dros Snapchat. Mae golwg flinderus ar helyg min y ffordd.
Fe hola Derys: ‘oes ‘na farmite yn fy mrechdan i?’, ‘Sori’

medda finna’, a damio gwneud rhai ham. Gwaedda Hayden: ‘Epic Fail!’
A doedd dim taenellwyr dŵr yn Grenfell. Mesurau torri cost. Yn fy mhen
rhed Derys hyd ei choridorau. Ei sliperi’n socan potsh.

Translator: Grug Muse | Cyfieithiad: Grug Muse
Peer reviewer: clare e. potter

Translation made possible with the support of Literature Wales | Gwireddwyd y cyfieithiad gyda chymorth gan Llenyddiaeth Cymru

Marvin Thompson

Marvin Thompson was born in London to Jamaican parents and now teaches English in mountainous south Wales. He has an MA in Creative Writing and was one of three poets selected by Nine Arches Press for the Primers 2 mentoring scheme.