Poetry & Lyrics

Written & copyright by John Good.
Graphic design by Mark Foshee


Garden Path
The Wanderer
The Shed
I Lawr I Hyn (Down to This)
Crystal Dreams
Ashen Solace
Night Fright & Ecstatic
The Talisman
Shrovetide Fair
Sventeen Seasons
Cymylu (Overcast)
Bilge & Beachcomber
Blue Natural
50th Birthday Gift
Lie Lightly
Hard Landing
A Dancer & Oh My Love
Just Motionless and Lost
Dramaless Day
Rhapsodic & Then Rain
The Driver
As if...
Silver Terrace Cemetery
Idris Speaks (video enhanced)
San Anselmo Reprise
Questions in Llareggub
Mawl a Marwnad Afan
Similar Weather
The Girls of Summer

November 2021, Prescott Valley, AZ
August 2021, Prescott Valley, AZ
July 2021, Prescott Valley, AZ
June 2021, Prescott Valley, AZ
May 2021, Prescott Valley, AZ

May 2021, Prescott Valley, AZ
May 2021, Prescott Valley, AZ
November 2020, Prescott Valley, AZ
Revised 2020,
Prescott Valley, AZ
Revised 2020,
Prescott Valley, AZ
`90s, revised `20s,
Prescott Valley, AZ
2000, recently revised,
Prescott Valley, AZ
Mid 1990s, Glendale AZ
Late 1990s, Glendale AZ
2000, recently revised, PV, AZ
July 2020, Prescott Valley, AZ
Early 2000s, El Mirage, AZ
Mid `90s, Glendale, AZ
2000, Glendale, AZ
Early 2000s, Port Talbot Wales
2017, Phoenix
`90s, Arizona
2000s, Arizona
2000, Arizona
`90s, Arizona
`80s, California
Early `90s, Arizona
Summer 2018
Revised Winter 2018-19
Summer 2018
2000's, San Anselmo, CA
Late `90s, Wales & Arizona
May 2004, Phoenix area
October 2015, Phoenix area
`80s San Anselmo, CA
Mid `90s, Glendale, AZ
Late 2014, Phoenix area
Early `90s, Glendale, AZ


Beams of Light

YouTube, Aug. 2017



Why can a photograph or painting of something as ordinary as a bowl of fruit amaze the onlooker? Why can a series of musical notes played on a violin bring tears to your eyes? Why can otherwise ordinary words, arranged in a particular order in a poem, seem to open wide the doors of perception?  This mystery has preoccupied creative people since Old King Cole was in kindergarten. It has even spawned one or two imaginative works itself.

Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately Portals.

Starry sky, with a broad
          snow covered tree below and the text of the poem in the sky
                                                                                                             Photo by guille pozzi on Unsplash


Garden Path

Email messages are often cryptic, at least one I received recently was. Unlike face to face conversations, phone calls or even old fashioned letters, emails often seem lacking in subtle colorings of meaning and/or feeling. The email that inspired the poem that follows, came from an old friend who lives on a different continent and, like myself, is in his early 70s. He wrote that one summer evening he was enjoying a walk in his garden. At one point in his narrative, a suggestion of melancholy enigmatically and perhaps intentionally crept into his writing.

Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately Garden Path.

A grassy
        path with high lush bushes on either side, and poem
                                                                                                                   Phillip Glickman at Unsplash.com.


The Wanderer

My grandmother Cressandra was clairvoyant, and would occasionally make predictions that turned out to be true. Seeing her teenage grandson admire himself in the mirror on one occasion she said, "One day you may see something in that mirror you don’t want to see." 60 years later, I know what she meant.

Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately The Wanderer.

The text of the

John in the 70s morphs into John of the naught


The Shed

We in the Western World, and I’m sure in many other wealthy places, have too much stuff. Just about everyone I know has an attic, basement, garage, storage unit or shed. These often are places to throw and forget things no longer being regularly used but thought to be of some worth, if only sentimental. Whether because of changes of life, location or just a need to tidy things up, there comes a time to go through the shed. Every time this happens, there will be revelations.

Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately The Shed.

        shed in the light of early dawn


I Lawr I Hyn (Down to This)

No matter how expected, when grief rears its ugly head, the unawareness of the majority of people to your raging sadness, as they go about their everyday lives, seems almost callous. It can almost make you want to shout out, "Don’t you know what’s happened?" But of course, to come to grips with that grief will eventually mean rejoining that everyday majority, although as a permanently changed person.

Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately Down to This.

Poem with background of lone man looking out over a city at
                                                                                                                                                                                  Theodor Vasile at Unsplash.com.


Crystal Dreams

I think most would agree we live in turbulent times. Then again every generation has surely experienced stormy if not tempestuous spells. What’s more important is how we cope with that heavy weather. Do we grit our teeth, struggle to our feet, leaning into the gale? Do we confidently let the rising water wash over us, in the knowledge that the flood will recede? I think the answer will be different for everyone, but perhaps predictable from how we’ve dealt with rough patches in the past, and what we’ve gleaned from those sometimes tumultuous experiences.

Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately Crystal Dreams.

Ship on a stormy sea, with an icy island in the distance.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Dederichs Torsten at Unsplash.com.

Click on the banner to
          go to John's Welsh mini-workshop video



After many years of searching for some kind of permanence in life, I eventually found it in the realization that change is certain to come. As they say, you can take it to the bank. Nothing, even if it takes a thousand years, remains unchanged. Perhaps not so strangely for an incurable optimist, I take solace in this. I was greatly helped in my revelation by the I Ching, aka The Book of Changes!

Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately Becoming.

Closeup of the quarter Moon, with the poem inset



Maybe I’m naive, but I sometimes feel that relatives and friends who are no longer with us are, on some special occasions, still part of the gathering. You might say that at 71 I’m senile, and that maybe true, but even as a child I thought this. In fact I find it’s a reassuring thought in this age of enforced isolation and rampant alienation that we have loving companions who are never far away.

Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately Gate-crasher.

        Good escorting his daughter Jamie down the isle.


Ashen Solace

There’s a fine line between accepting the inevitable and taking a stand against the often negative, yet impersonal forces in life that seek to take us down. This seems particularly relevant at the moment, with the pandemic raging around our once perhaps complacent, everyday activities. Reality can’t be avoided, but surrender is not an option.

Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately Ashen Solace.

Poem with
        twin beams of light over New York City on 911
                                                                                                             Zac Ong at Unsplash.com.


Night Fright & Ecstatic

These are two nighttime poems written at quite different times but strongly connected. One being saved from a nightmare by a night bird, the other a waking wonderment at one of the most enchanting singers I have ever heard… human or not!

Listen to John's take on the poems.

Alternately Night Fright & Ecstatic.

Suburban night sky, with full moon and the text of the
                                                                                             Paul Siewert at Unsplash.com.

CLick here to
          go to the Catalog page, to preview John's music.



The most mysterious aspect of existence is consciousness. What is it that makes us aware of being alive, of being loving, breathing, sentient creatures? This question—or one similar—has preoccupied philosophers, priests and poets since King Solomon was a boy. These verses are my attempt, if not to find an answer, then to phrase the question in a better way for myself and possibly others.

Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately Reflection.

Man near
        pool, in red rocks looking up at the poem
                                                                                                         Christopher Ruel at Unsplash.com.


The Talisman

It would seem strange to find reassuring permanence in the desert of the Southwest, in an environment that can be brutal and unforgiving. Just stand out in the noonday sun in June for 10 minutes and watch the buzzards circle, or listen to the rushing wave of a flash flood carrying trees, boulders and once rugged vehicles along a recently dry wash. Or imagine the hunger in the eyes of the coyote, owl, mountain lion or rattle snake as they set out under a crescent moon to hunt and survive. But strangely enough, there is a permanence of sorts in this harsh cycle of life, death and rebirth. It just takes a little while to show itself.
Photo: Daniel Tuttle at Unsplash.com.

Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately The Talisman.

 For another Arizona desert poem, try The Driver.
        Saguaro in sunlight, with rainbow and storm clouds in



Dreams come with all kinds of hidden messages. Some are clear, some confusing, some reassuring, and others frightening. This reworking of a dream narrative is an attempt to laugh at the surreal, as opposed to attempting amateur psychoanalysis, as inviting as that might have been.

Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately Allegory.

Night sky at
        the beach, with distant coastal town glowing
                                                                                                Ryan Wenhao at Unsplash.com

Retro Records is a
          Musical Timeline, click here (photos of John over time)


Shrovetide Fair

I wrote this poem in the late 1990s. Even though poets tend to look back to imaginary golden days, they sometimes accidentally anticipate the future. Well, to tell the truth, the ancient bards of Wales were part wordsmith, part sear; they were expected to foresee whatever was to come, whether it was victory or defeat. In this case, with the present pandemic, I hate being clairvoyant.

The Shrovetide Fair occurred right before Lent, when everyone atoned for their sins.

Photos: (top) Olga Kononeko, (bottom) Richard Beatson at Unsplash.com.

Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately Shrovetide Fair.

        poem illustrated with a hospital, Romans carrying their dead,
        and a calliope.


Seventeen Seasons

I was born in Wales, lived in Hull, Yorkshire, London, Wales again, London again, Brighton England, San Francisco, L.A., Phoenix and Prescott Valley Arizona. So, I think of myself as a traveler, even when settling in one or another place for considerable periods. Romantically inclined, like many of my country folk, I often imagine myself as having been on board ship, with all the vagaries, hazards and exotica that that entails. Also, like my fellow travelers and compatriots, looking back over the swirling waters of a lifetime’s passage is both edifying and essential in fixing my current position on this vast ocean we call being. Regrets? Yes, some. Would I do it again? When do we sail?

Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately Seventeen Seasons.

        poem overlaying a sunset photo of an island in the distance and
        a half moon
                                                                                                    Saffu at Unsplash.com


Cymylu (Overcast)

I’ve said it before that Wales is the Mawsynram of Europe and Mawsynram in India gets over 300 inches of rain a year.  Wellies (rubber rain boots) are essential equipment for the autumn, winter, spring and even summer in Wales!

Strangely enough, having spent childhood expecting rain, drying off after rain or being caught away from home in a downpour, I love a rainy day. Even after having thoroughly dried out in California, then Arizona, I sometimes get something like restless, if it doesn’t rain for a week or more. I guess puddles are in the blood now.

Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately Overcast.

        House at the Cistercian monastery in Margam, South Wales on an
        overcast day.
                                                                              Chapter House at the Cistercian monastery in Margam, South Wales.

Learn Welsh with
          John, click here.


Bilge & Beachcomber

Maybe the prebirth experience of swimming in amniotic fluid, or an innate sense that our bodies are 60% water, or even some million-year-old almost memory of humanity’s ancestral origins in the fathomless ocean, who knows? But whatever the reason, the human race has a love-hate-fearful-longing fascination with water of all kinds.  By growing up boxed between a mountain, two nearby rivers and the ocean, spending countless hours on the beach, swimming in the sea or fishing and playing along the river banks, my own relationship with water is both complex and profound. How about you?

Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately Bilge & Beachcomber.

Welsh beach with beachcomber, with ship ribs emerging from
        the sand

The musical accompaniment is a piece called Afon Clacamas (The Clackamas River). I wrote it one Sunday morning waiting for an afternoon musical engagement in the Portland, Oregon area. My hotel room overlooked the magical, eddying river, teaming with salmon. The instrument used is a set of hybrid Welsh Bagpipes made by John Tose, Preseli, West Wales. Preseli area is itself magical and was the source of the Blue Stones, mysteriously transported to Salisbury Plain, for ritual use in the construction of Stonehenge.


Blue Natural

Perhaps the greatest preoccupation of versifiers down the windblown ages is the passage of time. Like the wind itself, you can’t see it, but everyone sees and feels the effect it has.

Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately Blue Natural.

        Fishing in Sedona, with poem


50th Birthday Gift

Living abroad is entirely an adventure when young. The focus is on looking outward. As the years pass, and the focus turns homeward, the delayed cost of the adventure, although maybe not prohibitive, becomes appreciable.

Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately 50th Birthday Gift.

Airliner taking off at sunset.


A cold day in the sun
Unexpected turn in late spring
Sliding windows wide on their tracks
I watched the curtains dance macabre
Asked the breeze to freshen the presence of
Family whisked away down ghostly jetways
— International skies —
All the time wishing miles-away-faces
Familiar scent etched on beds, windows, walls
Would linger, present for the next 50 years


Lie Lightly

Losing a mother sends every son and daughter in search of something to cling to, in a rising tide of disbelief.

Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately Lie Lightly.

Read a story about Vi in Gwenllian and Vi.

Photos of
        John's mother through time and the poem.


Hard Landing

Love of family and friends, in retrospect, has a cost. Well, it’s more like a ransom that only time can redeem.

Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately Hard Landing.

The poem
        and a photo of a small plane crashed in a field.


A Dancer & Oh My Love

Delight in watching a woman, my wife, as if dancing, become ever more alluring.

Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately A Dancer & Oh My Love.

Two poems to Kelly, John's wife



Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately Father.

        father, early WWII

CLick here to go
          to the Catalog page, to preview John's music.


Just Motionless and Lost

Some things wash up on the shore, some fall out of the sky. Beachcomber, rock hunter or poet pick up the debris.

Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately Just Motionless and Lost.

        closeup, the poem, NASA starscape


Dramaless Day

The I Ching tells us that there is no such thing as a motionless state. Thoughts, philosophy, people, the seasons, Celestial Spheres, even the rock we casually take for granted and stand on, are all in motion. If not increasing, they are decreasing; if not slowing down or cooling, they are accelerating and heating up. The ancient Celts knew this and celebrated the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. Their priests, the Druids, are said to have called it Alban Arthan (Beacon of the Little Bear). They knew that the darkest day had no choice, but to give way to ever brightening light.

Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately Dramaless Day.

Old wooden crossroads sign, along a dirt road


On some cold dramaless crossroading day
Dove and pigeon scratch out a living from
Winter-yellowed rye grass seed
But seed and shoot, taproot and tuber
Sunday-silent as a ruined abbey’s altar light
Darkly wait their growing
Future inflorescent crowds
Solstice hay-high on seasonal hysteria
Outflowing vibrance in zenith’s verdancy

Though growing itself never makes a sound
Greening is deaf as a grandfather clock that
Taps its old foot marking idle hours
Is color blind to gray days and heydays alike
Woven deeply in the fabric
Built in the bricks of our floors and walls
Earth and sky
In every changing heart
Every signal from the hands and
All sightings of masked mystery’s eyes

For there are no standstills not manmade
Neither timeless wastes nor child out of reach
Just frame-frozen thoughts
Picture postcards scribbled
Never meant to be sent of
Dove and pigeon scratching out a living on
Some cold dramaless crossroading day

Dirt road in the mountains


Rhapsodic & Then Rain
Two Windscapes

There’s a long-held Welsh folk tradition that pigs can see the wind. People can only see its effect, but as a metaphor for the human condition, it is clearly visible.

Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately Rhapsodic & Then Rain.

Rhapsodic as a kite blowing in the wind above Then Rain


The Driver
Phoenix to the Apache Reservation and Back

It’s proverbial that that those born, bred and still living in their immediate environments often have forgotten the exceptionality of their surroundings. Frequently, famous, even world famous, landmarks and places of beauty or mystery have been absorbed into the everyday. The traveler, expatriate and passerby often have the advantage of fresh eyes and curiosity, to take what for many has become ordinary and rediscover a world of wonders!

Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately The Driver.

For another Arizona desert poem, try The Talisman.

              overlaying a mountain canyon and stream

Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately As If....

The poem and a
        picture of toddler John with his older brother

This poem was written at the time of the expected, yet devastating premature, passing of my brother Alan. The music is my arrangement of the traditional song of parting, sang  at the quayside in Wales, when people left for lands oversees often--as in my own case--never to return. As to the appropriateness of using flutes? Alan gave me my first lessons in flute playing and those hours spent in the front room of our childhood home in Sandfields are still a vivid memory 60 years later.


Silver Terrace Cemetery
(Virginia City, Nevada)

They were looking for gold, at first throwing away silver-bearing rocks, when someone realized the folly, and the Comstock Lode was discovered in Virginia City, Nevada. It was the richest silver discovery in history, attracting miners and camp followers from all over the world, including people from Wales and even Mark Twain. The city's cemetery readily attests to an extraordinary diversity of dreamers. Ironically, some of the old mines actually extended under the resting place of many of these miners. This irony inspired the following poem.

Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately Silver Terrace Cemetary.

Click here to
          preview John's 1500 Years of Welsh Poetry


Idris Speaks

Idris Davies was a miner, teacher and poet who T.S. Eliot thought captured the atmosphere of the 1926 General Strike better than anyone else. His work received a welcome second look when Pete Seeger used a part of one of his poems as a lyric for the 1965 folk song "Bells of Rhymney". The Pop group The Birds turned it into a major hit. 

The poem is a monologue I wrote to accompany my version of the song that includes some of his actual words.

Mining tools, line drawingMining tools, line

Strikers protesting
        during 1926 General Strike
The poem Idris Speaks
Strikers protesting
        during 1926 General Strike

For more information on Idris Davies, see the Wikipedia page.


San Anselmo Reprise

Two expatriates, at one time living near each other in Southern England, then Northern California, meet from time to time to recollect, make music, look forward, exchange dreams, bandage old and new wounds, and seamlessly resume a friendship spanning over 40 years. There are always major changes, but, at heart, the important things remain unchanged. William Blake understood this.

"The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship."

Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately San Anselmo Reprise.

 I also wrote Similar Weather while at the same friend's house.

San Anselmo
        Reprise text & photo

The musical accompaniment was composed/improvised and recorded in the same room in San Anselmo California, in which the poem was written, over a period (on and off) of many years.

A. Hindson: Engineer and Percussion Assemblage
J. Good: Flutes, Words, Whistles and Voice.

     talking to Dylan Thomas...

Questions in Llareggub

...at the Boathouse     

Listen to John's take on the piece.

Alternately Questions in Llareggub.

From the album From the First 1500 Years of Welsh Poetry. 

Text of the poem
John and his wife Kelly at Dylan
        Thomas' Boathouse
Kelly and John the Boathouse, some time ago...  

John's Online
          Welsh Courses, click to go to that page

     love and loss of childhood...

Mawl a Marwnad Afan

In Praise and Lamentation for Afan

Listen to the poem, as sung by John.

Alternately Mawl a Marwnad Afan.

I have two short stories about Christmas in Afan,
Magic Amongst the Slag Heaps & Once upon a Star

The poem
Photo of the
          River Afan by David Good
the River Afan by David Good     

     getting over a loss...


...creativity heals     

Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately Kyle.

A poem for my friend Kyle Harris

Kyle Harris

Kyle Harris - Glendale Lib recording
                              John Good, Aug 2007


Click to preview
          John's music on his Catalog page

     international spring...

Similar Weather

Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately Similar Weather.

 I also wrote San Anselmo Reprise while at the same friend's house.

Similar, a poem

     a midsummer night's dream...


Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately Sleep.

Sleep, the poem, on a night sky
        backgrounds, with a sail boat
                                                          Photo: Johannes Plenio from Unsplash.com

     regulating the clock...


Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately Timekeeper.

You can read about my grandfather in Jack.

The poem the Timekeeper

     the maiden verbage...

The Girls of Summer

Listen to John's take on the poem.

Alternately The Girls of Summer.

The Girls of Summer poem, with
        flowering tree and girl in summer dress on swing


Beams of Light

"I think it's a first installment of a 20 year scrapbook of song, verse, instrumental, with story and legend to be added in future linked episodes ...sort of an alphabet 'cawl' with musical croutons. The theme is a loose narrative, created by longtime traveling, learning, laughing, forgetting, regretting and loving..."

From John's interview with AmeriCymru.

Listen to John's take on the piece.

Alternately Beams of Light.

And I will build bridges, night and day,
Lay strong beams of light.
And I will read from the book of dreams,
Walk Wisdom's well traveled causeway.

Groceries put away, paper bags discarded,
the daylong dreamer gratefully sleeps.

From abstract patterns traced on fitful sheets
a macabre black cat leaps from its dream,
clears a blouse caressing a chair,
scattered skirt, shoes, tap dancing to the moon,
lands, spills a perfectly still glass of wine
left standing overnight on piano's polished lid.

Silent, red, slow, Beaujolais flows
past a rosewood-reflected Waterford vase,
seeps over sheet music's opened page,
five easy pieces anyone can play!

Even "Five Easy Pieces" requires concentration
and peace, though simple, is a practiced thing.

Just motionless and lost
late wayward children
shaken in faith yet faithfully
following obscured footprints our
discovering fathers had sometime left on
vanishing sands of tidal lives

Now and then
once and ever
great and small


Microscopic stones in the Universal Shoe

[ Ancient to Modern* ]

Star-castled above engines of siege,
Spindrifting silver threads of time,
Arianrhod--ironing--watches "Wheel of Fortune".

Flicking ash from cigarettes,
Wondering:  "Should I stop or spin?"

[ Charade - A Parlour Game ]

The glitter ball revolves
littering round faces
with spiral galaxies.
Slow slow quick quick slow
dance sounds inform...
shuffle feet around
sand-sequined floors.
(Rhythmic inebriates
back-beat high
blind to expectation
unaware of time.)

Suddenly the music
unexpectedly stops.
can't find a chair.

[ The Flying Fish Song ]

When I walk the dream-real, dragon's tail ridge that
Divides the red devil from the pea green sea,
Breakers beat on that poor lizard's feet.
"God help me if he wakes, it'll be the death of me!"
And the flying fish sing, to the tune 'Sink or swim':
"Just jump Mr. Jones, we'll polish up your bones.
You men love us fish.  You've kissed us with your lips
And we fish love you men, but we don't like all those chips!"

So if you walk the dream-real, dragon's tail ridge that
Separates blue heaven from blue hell,
Cling like a cat to that reptilian back,
But don't fear if you fall.  Don't worry yourself at all.
You'll soon hear your own seafood, dinner bell call!

Light, late night rains hold
saddened, Southern warmth,
Trickle-fingering, trigger past-tense.
I, indyingly search, find shelter
from the Westerly dawning storm.

Ecstatic, the night bird nocturnes solitude,
perfumes suburban garden dreams.
Enthroned, constellation's helmsman steers,
silencing near not wishing to miss
this fragrance intoned.

The 'senseless' dreamer, image deep,
In waking sleep-walks.
Often unheard, seldom out of sight,
Night's quiet child draws day's outline.

Without malice--like hell like heaven--
Hurt's remembrance aches.
"Never the same.  Never as it seemed,"
Greedy regret needs recompense.

That morning's effort extra hard,
Sleep's letter received,
The grammar of mood misunderstood,
Shadow-metaphors miss their mark.

Symptoms defy diagnosis,
Self confounding self.
The `I' conceals itself in the 'me',
One multiplies by division.

This enigma speaks in symbols,
Picture parables.
A language encoded in heartsong,
The riddle revealed in the soul.

And I will build bridges, night and day,
Lay strong beams of light.
And I will read from the book of dreams,
Walk Wisdom's well traveled causeway.

*Square brackets indicate a poem's title and is not spoken or sung.

Recorded by Kyle Harris.

Read an interview with John, regarding Beams of Light.

See our video on YouTube, integrating Beams of Light into the opening, at 2:37 and 9:28.

Return to:   John Good     Short Stories     Articles     Top of the Page

  Copyright 2021 Tramor Music, LLC; design by Mark Foshee.