16.15 Saturday 13 February 2021

. . . sparks of bantz through the muffle of a mask

16.15 Saturday 13 February 2021

You should be in your place by now – in the corner, by the bar,
taking a sip from the head of a newly settled pint as
the pub fills with the warmth of red.
There should be laughter and leg-pulling
and getting in another pint and
shouting at the ref.

Today, will you be wearing your lucky red Timberland top?
What’s the point …?
I know there’ll be no pint – too early in the day.
No shouting ’til you’re hoarse, no singing,
just a solo groan, the odd expletive lobbed at the radio
and a contented poke of the fire if they win.

Nevertheless, you tend your little flame
with sparks of bantz through the muffle of a mask.
You store up kindling for stories and jokes,
you read the back pages, you’re up to speed.
You’re just waiting to join with all the little flames,
from all the little houses,
to make a blaze on a cold afternoon.

Saturday 13 February 2021 was the day of a rugby Six Nations match between Scotland and Wales. This poem was conceived before the final score was known.

Saturday 13 February 2021 was also the end of week 8 of the third lockdown in Wales because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Obviously, at the time of writing, the final score of that battle is unknown as well.

Photo ©Margaret Walton 2015. Words ©Susan Walton 2021.

Dig deeper

after Samira Negrouche

Seduced to a new place
which distorted vision
and altered behaviour.

Go back into the past,
examine what’s under the scab.

Return, do it again,
dig deeper.

Don’t say,
turn things over in

There’s no hurrah because
you’re inside the
at the right time
movement starts
in unity.


This poem was inspired by ‘À cent quatre vingt degrés’ by Algerian poet Samira Negrouche. In working on that poem I heard resonances of Wales, a nation regarded by many as being under English and then British colonial rule since the 1500s. The recent spread of Cofiwch Dryweryn graffiti throughout Wales runs alongside the growing call for independence. If you wish to read more about Cofiwch Dryweryn, this book is an excellent place to start.

Image and words ©Susan Walton 2019.