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Connor Waters

T킷 CELF (pronounced: tee celv)




Emily Saunders

Henry Lascelles

WELCOME BACK I recalled the Indian concept of the relation of life and the seasons. Spring is Creation. Summer is Preservation. Fall is Destruction.

Winter is Quiescence.

John Cage, Silence

Spring, the time of creation, feels like an appropriate time for the release of Cardiff Student Media’s creative magazine, Tŷ Celf. It is easy to forget that Spring is a time of fresh starts, rebirths, and so on. Here at Cardiff University it is, instead, a time when students huddle in libraries, sweating over upcoming essays and exams. It is a time of memorisation and formulaic responses. This magazine then, (made with its own fair share of blood, sweat, and tears) is hopefully a breath of fresh air, a temporary distraction from books, binge snacking and 2:2-themed nightmares. Tŷ Celf means, in Welsh, ‘Art House’ or ‘house of art’. In much the same style as last year’s edition the magazine is minimalist in its approach: it is first and foremost a platform for students to showcase their creative work. The standard of submissions, as you can see, has been astonishingly high. There is much to enjoy in this edition: writing veering between surreal, heartfelt, and ebullient, evocative art and vivid photography.

This academic year also saw the creation of – an online accompaniment to the magazine, available all year round. Do have a look, and email if you would like to showcase your work online; I will be accepting submissions all summer. My thanks go to Luke Slade who handed the role of editor over to me this year, and explained to me the myriad mysteries of InDesign. Thanks also to Tom Eden and Elaine, who ensured the magazine’s publication, and to Rebecca Roy, who helped me sort through the writing submissions. Most importantly, thanks to the contributors for putting time and effort into their wonderful submissions: without their help, this magazine simply wouldn’t exist.


Mapping by Eve Goodman

She grew up between the thin red papercuts that slice through her home, following the mountain round like barbed wire. Nearby is a cross. A blot on the map but you can see her in it, sitting quiet between the pews not even thinking about God. Past the church, a river. A shaky blue line drawn by a girl who will soon learn to swim in it and follow it down to where the pen leaks into a lake. The lake is where her mother dies but this goes unmarked. Trace the line down the A55 to the red ‘H’ in the middle of town, never quick enough. By the hospital is the school near the rush-hour road which haunts her father every day at three-fifteen in his office directly East. In his window, a lake. This one fake, its placid façade carved into the landscape like the contour lines in his face that weren’t there last year.


Fruit Salad by Rhys Tobin

Mama would get up early with the birds and prepare us fruit salads for the day. Delicately placed chunks of flesh. Slice, slice a trill and a slice; sweet citric blood. She’d chop off her fingers and put them in. We suckled. We feasted off her body daily. At night she’d grow back like a starfish. I visited the astral plane once, and danced with the Cailleach. Ringa-rosey in sunbeams and springs. The rhythm of the river carried me and her children of ash and stone through starlight and twilight, flowing in around and through houses. Every time we entered a shriek. One night, one christmas, the Cailleach surrounded the house. Free-floating, their shrieks bouncing off realities. Times were tough. Mama cut out her womb and with hot needles sewed together meals and blankets for us. But too primal, too rich, we gorged and purged in the toilet bowl.


Henry Lascelles



by Ellie Woodruff

You play the role well. You wear black, of course and in front of the others you try to force your features into an expression like grief. But your tears show your relief: from the chain on your finger reminding you each day, that it wasn't you who had to walk away and fear that he would find you. Kill you. Or worse. You still carry his picture around in your purse to remind you that it's all right to smile, open up your bruised heart for a while. When you strip off your dreary dress at night, faded scars on your lily white skin catch your sight, and for a second he's back and you can't escape You instinctively protect your blossoming shape and you let out a long sigh when you remember that your baby's a bastard, and that Bastard's dead.



by Sara Bellanato

Back hunched, his trowel shining like a star, I can still see my father digging at the bottom of the garden. I was always delegated to the patio, where I pulled weeds with my gloved hands and flicked woodlice until they curled into tiny grey bullets. Once I uprooted a dandelion and a spider burst from the crack between the patio tiles. A fat white sack rested on its abdomen. I screamed and tried to stomp on it but my father, mercurial and imperious, stopped me with a look. He taught me that nothing deserved to be killed just because it was smaller than I was. He taught me other things as I got older. I learnt how to plant flowers; to scoop out the soil with my fingers and separate the earthy tendrils of root and stalk. Don’t pat too hard. Don’t forget to water. And I learnt how to dig with spade and trowel, heaving up mud and clay and piling the clods on the grass. He put his telescope on the patio sometimes and let me stay up late to skygaze. Polaris, Ursa Minor, The Big Dipper. He taught me about Jupiter's red spot and Saturn's rings. When he mowed the lawn he gave me slow-worms and toads to keep safe from the grunting blades. I watched, captivated by forked tongues and frog hops. But now I’m the one digging at the bottom of the garden, in a sun bleached t-shirt with muddy knees. My daughter has been delegated to the patio, where she pulls weeds. He never taught me what we were digging for.


William Baker Morrison 11

The Whole Dark Forest by Rebecca Roy

‘She’s got the whole dark forest living inside of her’ – Tom Waits, on his wife She’s got the whole dark forest living inside her. Ivy winds in a creep up her spine while seedlings shoot, from the tips of her sleeve and if you smooth her skin the light press of leaves can be traced, like an inked page from a textbook of botany. In rain she secretes oils to remind one of spring.


She is rough to touch, grown along contours of defence, given to contortions in search of the light they repeatedly hide behind tower blocks, which crop up unbidden. She’s a modern woman in a time of deforestation, caught in the onslaught of sub-contractors from the city. She sheds so you may not pick her clean and leave her bald for winter. The colour of her lips is crushed pigment of poison berries; they move in reply to the enquiring moon hung behind its stage-screen cloud and the debonair wind she lets part her shroud to exhibit her nakedness.

Connor Waters

But be warned, if you snuffle around her skirts in search of truffles, if you grunt too close, she will show you her bark. She only takes callers who come after dark not on their knees, but for the company of trees the forest sees its own you see knows whose arms are bowers unfurling their knots, and which bouquets are flowers, strangled with ribbon. Bring gifts, but she’ll only receive sacrifices, limbs of leaves, dropped to her feet where she will knead them, lovingly into her mulch. Hood - stray off the path and join her, thrive but if you come with an axe to split her, listen; she will crack, open – and her sap which will spill upon the ground surround your ankles in less than a second will stick you to the spot as quick as quick sand and then you can listen, to the padding approach of the wolves, which also live inside her.


A zest for life (Exhibition of a manic depressive) by Lois O'Connell

Between the reception and a cupboard they call the kitchen there is a square room, a room that for now, is hers. The main gallery has been booked where sixth form students squint at their own work, and parents circulate, baffled with pride. Now and again someone will stray into the square room, searching for facilities, and find my aunt swaddled in fur on a red velvet sofa stinking of herbs. She’ll invite them to take a look at her work displayed on the walls, which she didn’t hang because she is so very thin. They look at their watch or shuffle their feet but powerless - their health against her weakness they must trace the steps of my aunts career. Acrylic chilli peppers in heavy frames blush as she talks of cancer and the private view she’ll host tonight and the vol-au-vents there’ll be. Etchings from art college found under the bed, dust stained with smoothed creases, come next.


Detail. Patience. The intricacies of a jungle, the precision of a surgeon. On fishing wire, Teletext Christmas cards slowly spin in their display, whispers of her commercial days. ‘Not mad though’ she’ll tell them as they pass crop circle Gods; twisted sculptures with dead eyes poised on white plinths. Flossy the cat hovers in blue abyss beside, painted as soft as fur, gentle whiskers, a calendar pose. Then there are posters, the statue of liberty, black graphics against a blood red sky and a front page from the Daily Mail, Westminster 2007the one woman protest. Five minutes, maybe less and the strays will shuffle back to the narrow door thanking my aunt and bidding her goodbye. A zest for life, 40 years in the making, curated in a day. A skeleton that won’t be silenced. she is her final work of art.



Laurie Taylor


song of passing by Sam Robinson

The night air bristles whispering trees Broken beams stripped stone walls rain runs in along the wood grain Seeps through rock is snared in cobwebs Hanging Falling Breaking on the floor. . . . Spiders tiptoe over glistening droplet streams, thread thin shadows dancing on asphalt The stars Unmasked caress delicate talons splintered skull One wing sinking into the clay The other cast out in last flight A worm weaves through thin ribs In slow blind ecstasy feather clings to the fragile bones Is snatched away Shining silver blue in the cold night Swallowed by the loving dark Eyes washed away by the rain Gentle carrion attend Clearing flesh for soft shadows Dance of grace Passing quickly by keen dull eyes see the dead will you sit a while?


Riding the Wheelbarrow by Georgie Jones

my tumbling limbs overflow its once-red sides, now mottled with rust after staying still for too long in the rain. the bolts of the handles shake as Will pushes the cart, lugging my weight over the dips in the ground on rickety wheels. it bears so much more. The ancestral musk of culture, reaped from the mellow soil of the earth, soaks into my pores and is flung off in the wind as the barrow hurtles past, startling the chickens.

Crossing the Field

by Rose Segal

Despite the now-sunshine I can tell it’s been raining From the streaks on your white face That have parted the hairs. The summer dust’s dampened Into firm, cloggy mud Giving way underfoot And ringing your hooves. Around us the flies Circle drunkenly Unsure of where to land Now things are soggy. And we cross the field. Pressing our feet deeper Into the earth, And following our gazes Through the trembling blue Of the sky.


Picture Evidence by Jacqueline Kilikita

If you look closely, You’ll see my dad, Having jumped the ticket barriers At Finsbury Park Underground, Standing on the platform By the yellow line. Too close for comfort. And in this one here, Yiayia mans the stall On Chapel Market in Islington, Selling strawberries to Sid Vicious. She’s telling him To keep his fingers “Out of those plug sockets.” But this one here is the best, With Uncle George and ‘African Dave’ (Whatever happened to him)? Outside the Brixton Ritzy and off their faces On Bupou’s last bottle Of ‘Ouzo: Brewed On The Isle of Cyprus’, Glass glittering across Garfield Road. London was different then, See? _________________________________ ‘Yiayia’ translates as ‘Grandmother.’ ‘Bupou’ translates as ‘Grandfather.’ 20

James Cohen


Something Wrong by Matthew Tett

I guessed that something was wrong as soon as I opened the front door. It wasn’t that the glass was broken or the lock smashed in; it wasn’t that I could sense an intruder. Nothing like that. What I noticed as soon as I got in the house was that Mum had gone. She was always there, like a part of the furniture. I knew what I’d see as soon as I turned the key in the lock, but on this particular day, it was very different. Dear old Mum was gone. Some people think it’s odd, but she is my mum. I always had a sense of her, could imagine her sayings, her moans and groans about aching this and painful that. After all, she gave birth to me so why shouldn’t she have the right to pass judgement on me and my life? Where was I? Yes, I knew she’d gone. She was always there, just to the left of the front door, on top of the radiator grill. She used to complain about being ‘chilled to the bone’ so that’s where she lived: in one of the warmest parts of the house. I stopped, looking at where she would, should, have been. A perfect darkened circle say on the grill, surrounded by a sticky coating of dust, and cat hair. The urn was always there, with its shiny surface and domed lid. But now, it had gone – Mum had gone. There was only one thing for it: the kettle needed to go on. As Mum would have said, ‘A cup of tea solves all your problems.’ I’d see about that and then maybe, just maybe, it would all become clear.


When the words come by Rose Segal

After you’ve turned on your orange lamp That gives the room a warming glow, And stretched all the things that were said today Out of your muscles, and let the things you’re unsure about Drain away Through the floors of the house, leaving space For the light that is always ready to replace The dirt locked in your enzymes And the strain on your face After you’ve swum to the bottom of your lungs With orbs of gold to drive out the day’s poison, When you lie straight on your back as still as the floor, Palms up to the sun, That is when the words come.

De-weeding by Georgie Jones

Quite contrary to the opinions of my petulant neighbours, I let my garden grow on its own. Its vines spread provocatively alongside a neat row of rectangular lawns, trimmed using a ruler and coloured a uniform pigment of green. They work to meld all individual blades into one plot of monotomy, framed by a pastel border of tight-lipped tulips. They look upon my family of invasive plants, who fought their way onto my churned-up earth through hungry acts of pollination. A gathering of cross-breeds— Crabgrass, Sowthistle, Buddleia— Aquilegia in its stormy purplish bloom; stubborn brambles, whose bursting blackberries sprout stubble; all embraced by the ivy and her far-reaching arms. Rooted in stigma, my weeds have got the neighbours talking. Just wait until they crack the ground.


Laurie Taylor


The statue and the moon by Freddie Rochez

Long ago, when gods and angels walked the land, and wishes were granted, and magic was real, there were no stars in the sky. The sun sped across the Heavens during the day, and the moon drifted across the darkness of the night, and that was enough. There is a garden, hidden on the edge of time, where the angels come to sing their final chimes. A statue once stood in the garden, in the shadow of a great ivy-draped wall. Every night, the statue would look up to the sky, and watch the moon as she sailed from one horizon to the other. The statue had no arms, and so could not reach towards the moon, although he longed to possess her more than anything. One evening, an old man came to the garden at the edge of time. The man claimed to be a magician, and knew all the secrets of the mind. He had travelled all the world, from the highest mountains to the lowest caverns. He had seen and spoken to men and animals, gods and demons. When he saw the statue, he bid it speak, and the statue spoke. The statue told the magician of his love for the moon. The statue told him how he loved the moon so much that he thought his heart would break, if his heart were not already made of stone. The statue told him that he would give anything, if he had anything to give, to possess the moon, if only for one night. Now the magician, being old, and wise, and crafty, knew all about love. He knew that the statue did not love the moon herself, but rather that he loved her image. And yet his old heart was moved by the statue’s story, and he decided to act upon it. The magician gave the statue a pair of silver hands and built a staircase up to the top of heaven. Then he climbed up past the clouds and he caught a moonbeam, turning it into a girl. This girl, whom he called Luna, was the most beautiful in the world, because she had never touched the ground. And for that one night, the moon shone a little dimmer than it had before. He presented the girl to the statue, giving it exactly what it had wanted, but only for as long as the sky was dim. The statue loved the girl, because she was bright and pure, and because he knew, in his cold stone heart, that she had been made just for him, from the light of the moon. And the girl loved the statue, because he was sad and alone, and because he loved her, and because she had been made just for him. They danced through the garden at the edge of time, the statue and the girl who had come from the moon. He held her in his silver arms, and she sang to him of life above the Earth, of the loneliness of the moon as she drifted through the empty sky, and the beauty of the world below. When the sun rose, the magician took the pair and changed them. He returned the girl to the moon, adding to its depleted light. He broke the statue, its marble skin and its silver arms, into countless pieces, and threw the fragments into the sky. He left them hanging there, soft and still, with the moonlight. The garden at the edge of time is empty, now, without the statue to bathe in the sunlight or watch the moon as she passes through the sky. And at night, the fragments of the statue, which men today call stars, dance across the sky with the moon. They dance together above the garden, where angels go to die. 25


Shermin Tan


Reflection by Rebecca Roy

“If tomorrow, women woke up and decided they really liked their bodies, just think how many industries would go out of business.” — Dr. Gail Dines Tonight, I snagged myself on the bathroom mirror; festooned in a festival t-shirt, men’s extra-large, all they’d had left oily smudges under-eye and my foul-weather chin mottled, with infrared spots. And I stopped and grinned with sudden delight. Ravenous, with an appetite all for the sight of myself I pored me in: smiling bared my teeth which I counted, one by one gnashed at my reflection it bit back, laughing. Next, flush with epiphany I drummed out the bongos on my tits popped one resplendent zit – the squirt hit the mirror – and sent the t-shirt flying, rolled splayed fingers round my stomach, fondling for luck and grabbed my belly button, formed a pursed mouth of folds and blew myself a kiss; then, stuck one hand down my pants to pluck a single pubic hair, a perfect curl which I pressed, to the centre of my for’ead. Fuck the magazines – I’m a bloody knockout; got the devastation of Marilyn, the clout of C4, one of the punk rocker seraphim dressed to kill in nowt but follicles and skin and flying, like a torpedo for those despots and ad-men; nervous kings who peer out oval office windows we target at each other, ringed with eyeliner. We defend their empires for them but it’s clear too they’ve seen our coup d’état coming from the start. We know our strength with every swimwear, weight-loss campaign every panicked tightening of their reigns, their banker’s dread of the day we feel the itch, the day we notice, they’re there, in our corneas and how neatly they will fit in our fists. 28

Tower Bridge

by Alice Schweitzer

I can hear the cough of the commuters’ engines overhead as their gear boxes groan impatiently in their rush to reach their destinations. I can feel the wetted metal slowly slip from under my grip; it feels as if the rain is in agreement with me, egging me on. I tilt my head up, exposing my bedraggled and worn skin to the consistent plummet of water. The rain has become tyrannical; its baptism is blinding me and erasing any suggestion of my existence. When I succumb to nature’s beckoning call the metal railing will remain sodden. The tarmac will not flinch. No mention of myself will remain. I can see that the lace on my left shoe has come loose over the weight strapped to my foot; its leather strap left dangling over the edge of Tower Bridge as if it too is reaching into the abyss. The abyss is my destination. People always romanticise the falling. If this was a film and I was to create a caption of this jump my hands would be outstretched, I would fall like a shuttlecock and the wind would cause my coat to billow and imitate a doomed parachute. The wind would blow spectacularly through my hair and in a close-up my face would wear a pained and sorrowful expression. Yet then in the parting shot of the fall (pictured in slow motion) I would look free and at peace as I descend into the water. But it is because of the romanticising of films that I am here. I played my part. I was the one selling this lie. In the real, non-film version this action will take less than seven seconds. When I let my hands relieve their grip on the metal my feet will awkwardly tumble from the frame, I will catch the back of my shins on the metal from the speed of my descent. My hands will pedal in desperation, my mouth will fill with air and it will be my cheeks that billow. When I reach the water its surface will smack me like a mother scolding her child for the stupidity of its action. The pain will be momentary as my lungs fill with water, my vision will blur and I’ll experience my one moment of ecstasy as the water stops oxygen from reaching my brain. They always say suicide is the most selfish thing you could possibly do. You should think of your loved ones. But what about those who don’t have loved ones? No film is made about these people because they cannot provide a Hollywood ending or a Hollywood pay check. For these people suicide is not selfish. No funeral is needed. No bereavement felt. The lifeboat rescue is for such moments. They earn a living from people like me. There will be nothing romantic about my fall. There is nothing dramatic or worthy of documentation. I will go with the rain and when the rain stops and the tarmac dries the frustrated commuters will continue to alternate between the first three gears. 29


Unanswered by Jacqueline Kilikita

Swollen ankles inside Egyptian cotton sheets, Eyes still big and round, They called you Cleopatra.

Bou eine o gatos mou? Where is my kitten? Na bigenoume spiti? Are you taking me home? You conjure your past like Magic, while the present, Dances on your lips, still Plump like Turkish delight. And every heart in that room Sinks like a tablet in a glass, Bubbles rising to the brain, A cloudy understanding.

Sam Smith




Tŷ Celf 2014  

Tŷ Celf aims to be a platform for Cardiff students to showcase their creative talents, be it writing, art, photography, or otherwise.

Tŷ Celf 2014  

Tŷ Celf aims to be a platform for Cardiff students to showcase their creative talents, be it writing, art, photography, or otherwise.