Of Amlwch
a pattern of fields and buildings
Interlocking with lives.

I have chosen
a folk pattern
forsaking isolation

an interminable quilt,
joined to responses and influences
in conflict and agreement
changing subtly with changes in history
the growth of poems
the retreat of peoples
personal defeat and victory

I have chosen
the use of available material,
a feature of the passing of time

first when the system of cymorth, mutual help
precluded the need for a Poor Rate
in the unbroken tradition of the farming hamlet
its innocence broken by copper

then through the mining  boom
when a sympathetic priest
petitioned for the injured
to the agents of Lord Anglesey

and through the simultaneous trough of the wave:
a hut full of naked children
destitute of all conveniences
and almost all necessities

a patchwork of rags to be coveted
under the threat of the red cloth badge
of dependence on the parish -
beginnings of the red menace in Wales:

in the wake of those years
the visiting of the people
with the winter of cholera

in the good times, neighbourly
hogs rooted at liberty in the streets

now we have tourism, all the neat squares
the Tourist Board has sewn up most craftily

Patchworks of Amlwch,
a pattern of fields and buildings
interlocking with lives

Steve Griffiths
STEVE GRIFFITHS was educated at Sir Thomas Jones School, Amlwch, and he later read English at Cambridge at the end of the 60’s. Although he lives and works in London, he often returns to his native county to give readings of his poetry. Patchworks is taken from one of his earlier anthologies ‘Anglesey Material’.

Many thanks to Steve for his kind permission to include this poem here, and also to Seren Books, the original publisher.

Patchworks by Steve Griffiths