John, Aged Four – by Robert Nisbet


The wasps, purring, hovering in sun,
above a yellowing sill, by the wireless,
a brown and sometimes babbling box.

The garden and the rows of peas,
the rooks, who were visitors, black,
dipping, rising, voices cawing.

Bobby, the big fat ginger cat,
sleeping, buzzing, through summer,
with his tail’s metronomic swish.

And John’s mother’s goodly ambience,
a warmth and, best, a bulwark
against days’ and moments’ fluster.

Such a shock then, when a bigger boy
showed him how to stamp a snail
to death. In a moment, so much buckled.



Robert Nisbet, a creative writing tutor from Pembrokeshire, was the winner of this year’s Prole Poetry Pamphlet Competition with Robeson, Fitzgerald and Other Heroes.

Illusionists – by Robert Nisbet


Sawn in half nightly, plus Saturday matinees,
knives sizzling past the right ear then the left.
Samantha, his glamorous assistant. Later on,
brewing the midnight teabags, totting accounts.
In time wrapping herself around him,
like sweetpea clinging to a mighty edifice.

PAs, Girl Fridays, running shows. The wives,
the my-good-ladies, doling out the pocket money.

But Helen the helpmeet, in their tiny-town terrace.
When Ronnie, thirty, wizard footballer, was crocked,
she tended. When Ron turned inward to a bleak mind,
she took the pain, his pain and hers, kept the peace.
Kept, for callers, a tidy house, united front.



Robert Nisbet, a creative writing tutor from Pembrokeshire, was the winner of this year’s Prole Poetry Pamphlet Competition with Robeson, Fitzgerald and Other Heroes.

Dawn’s Wedding Day – by Robert Nisbet


Dawn’s wedding was a sloppy one maybe,
the usual pinks and gins and sentiment,
whole handkerchiefs of tears,
brothers and cousins in pinching suits
huddling to the rain-swept annexe for
a quiet fag. The uncle who’d already
that year spread his karaoke slice of
Sinatra’s My Way over a funeral
and two anniversaries, now, half-cut,
got in among the speeches.

After her husband’s accident, Dawn craved
simply to care for him, stayed up nights,
shivering with him at the fear of death.





Robert Nisbet taught English in grammar and comprehensive schools and then taught creative writing in Trinity College, Carmarthen, where he also acted as professor to exchange students over from the Central College of Iowa. He is the author of over 300 published poems.

The Sky-lit Room – by Robert Nisbet


The Sky-lit Room
A small Welsh town, 1966

A sky-lit kitchen window where, just two
floors up and on a rise, I thrilled upon
the past, the town.

That kitchen, Castle Terrace, had a view
of jumbled streets, of buildings joist-by-jowl
with history,

a past of stitched and soldered livelihoods,
of hardships, close-negotiated hopes,
a small town’s loom.




Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet who has had many poems published in the UK and the US, in journals like San Pedro River Review, Constellations, Clementine Unbound, and Common Ground Review.