George Sandifer-Smith

Afon Rhymni

The river, beside the trainlines
where speakers say 'this is a staff announcement'
before garbling the rest of their verse, has grown
important in persistent times, memory.
We spend our outdoor exercise hour mapping
a square route angling back to a fence
we can see the river through, murking beside
released traffic, rare cars
delivering medication or pizza.

The Rhymney River and Afon Rhymni begins
its day, should rivers wish to measure themselves
in hours and seconds like ours, passing glacial down
to draw lines between Glamorgan and Monmouthshire
until Victorian parishes were rendered
in the Cardiff afterlife, running a capital
towards the Severn Estuary. Cold water clarifies

and is neither Welsh nor English. We listen,
a formerly-black body cleansed in the death
of choking, dusty industries that fed a world.
We don't see the trout now clearing
the distance to the upper reaches.


George Sandifer-Smith is a Welsh writer and lecturer. His poetry has appeared in various journals and magazines including New Welsh Review, The Stockholm Review, The Lampeter Review, Ink Sweat and Tears, Black Bough, The Daily Drunk, Melted Butter Magazine, Re:side, and numerous anthologies including Poems from Pembrokeshire (Seren Books, 2019), To The Sofa And Back Again (Roath Writers Group, 2020), and Hit Points (Broken Sleep Books, 2021). In 2019, he was awarded a PhD in Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University, and he currently teaches at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. You can follow him on Twitter, where his handle is @SandiferSmith.