Author Archives: Robbie Burton

March Challenge 2017


St David’s Day. Ah, where can we go from here?

David…whose popularity in Wales is shown by the Armes Prydein, a popular poem which prophesied that in the future, when all might seem lost, the Cymry (Welsh people) would unite behind the standard of David to defeat the English.  So maybe could write a poem about nationalism.. or something of the sort. Here’s ‘Blues’ by Derek Walcott:

Or maybe we could think about David’s life and teachings which have inspired a choral work by Welsh composer Karl Jenkins, Dewi Sant, and an oratorio by another Welsh composer, Arwel Hughes, also entitled Dewi Sant. And in this Dylan Thomas poem the original version had line 17 reading “But for St David, his arms”
No it didn’t, I made that up.

On the other hand we could go with his association with corpse candles, lights that warn of the imminent death of a member of the community. The story goes that David prayed for his people to have some warning of their death, so that they could prepare themselves. Here’s a poem about candles for the dead by Bernard O’Donoghue:

So there you have it – St David’s Day. Nationalism, inspiration, candles. What does it mean to you – if anything?



February Challenge

Okay, it’s too big to ignore. We’re confronted daily by the antithesis of Light…

Here’s a poem by Edward Baugh:

and another by D.H. Lawrence. It’s worth listening to Glyn Maxwell read  it as he adds an insight into Lawrence’s technique.

Poems about the dark can take many turns – political, natural, personal…  They raise questions, too – can the dark be positive?



Membership of Cross Border Poets has reached bursting point. Regrettably, from January 2017 onwards, we are unable to accept new members but will review the situation in six months time.




On encountering the pearly gates


On encountering the pearly gates

Goodbye is unexpected.
If the gatekeeper isn’t St Peter it must be her,
my first mother.

She smiles a weird smile which I think
means welcome.

Goodbye I say, smiling back and she grabs hold
of the gates and lifts them up,
then lifts them higher.

I remember my birth certificate with crane driver
inked under Mother’s Occupation.

I duck under and we stand there
not knowing what should happen next
and wondering if we’ll end up

doing whatever it is together.

Day 30

The Last…?:   Well, here we are at the end of another 30-day poetic marathon! (Methinks Martin doesn’t know there are 31 days in October. Will there be a final prompt tomorrow? [RMB])

Think of something you couldn’t possibly do without. Now, consider having to face up to savouring it one more time before it vanishes forever.

The last book? The last cake? The last elephant?

Write on!