Anni Wilton-Jones – Across Years

Anni Wilton-Jones LE Poetry & Writing October 2017r

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Across Years, poems by Anni Wilton-Jones

Anni Wilton-Jones, a resident of Co Mayo, has also lived in Wales, England and Saudi Arabia. Having experienced a varied range of careers she is now semi-retired, working part-time in supporting voluntary dyslexia groups. A writer of poetry and, occasionally, prose, she has read in Wales, England, the USA and Ireland. Her collections include Bridges, Winter Whiting and, written under the pen-name Victoria Tims, a chapbook of poems about abuse, entitled Moth.

Attention Span

A quarter of an hour
is a quarter of eternity
to a child.

My silence is sustained
by a surreptitious sweet
and reciting times tables
in my head
as my attention fails
the test of the first two minutes

of the hum of the homily
the drone of the discourse
the prattle of the poem.

Now I’m mature
I can reach that time-marker
before the glaze
glides over my eyes

that good-mannered glaze
I watch out for
in my own audience
a couple of minutes
into any long piece.

Deceiving the Enemy

Each night, under candlewick,
tented along the ridge-pole
of my forearm,
blinkered from the killer clock-face,
I fear only fading torchlight,
creeping daylight,
sudden sleep
and the treacherous, soft-footed foe
who pauses and calls
Are you still awake?
straining her eyes and ears
for a sliver of light,
the turn of a leaf,
then moves on.

When age brings a truce
and I am no longer under covers
with Haggard, Stevenson, Buchan,
will I still feel that classic relish
without a war in my world?

Across Years, Across Miles

She looks back a lifetime
the recall closer now
than that of yesterday

and she sees

a whole class
under threat
of confinement

a self-confessed culprit
and lonesome

an irate teacher
determined to find
a further malefactor

and herself
on her feet
claiming guilt

the shared sentence
the unexpected rewards
an ally and accessory
a support through
the scourges of schooldays
a friend

that fellowship
long lost
to chance and change
survives now
in mutual memories.


They waited until the day
we lost every bird
before they came to us

believing that now
we blow-ins from the town
would understand

would welcome
their mounted invasion
of our fields

but they were foxed
by the forcefulness
of our noes and nevers

how could they comprehend?
they had not watched
as our children had

the tearing apart
of each of our hens
by village dogs     hunting     as a pack.


Together for a decade
Then apart for four;
so long for so long.

How can the passing
of all those years be told
in one short space?

Two rivers flowing
to the same sea
by different courses.

The meanders sometimes close:
the children, their children,
drama, teaching, poetry.

That’s where to start,
where waters follow
well-matched routes – less to explain.

Then, comfortable again
with what is shared,
explore the unfamiliar –

where hidden rocks
and unexpected eddies
may call upon the re-found trust.

In Memory

Here by the railway
a quiet skein of river
under the footbridge
this is our place
for burying
pet fish at sea

I tip the guppy
out of the tablet pot
watch it float
away downstream

as I try not to remember
my last visit
when the railing held wreaths
of love for a Dad
who chose this same bridge
as his point of departure.

© Anni Wilton-Jones