The ice has thawed
and the numbers stopped
so what then are these that ripple
from this Radnor spire?

Shortwave shifting
propagating particles of pi
over folds and faultlines
to that listening pencil
in an attic near Talgarth.

cypher keys
quaver and brieve
components of symphony
or rattling of chains.
One keen ear knows
a thousand more sigh.

those grid block
digits line up
and an answer is born
to the questioner
in this older colder war.









Bio: Martin Evans is a humorist, writer, musician and film-maker from mid Wales. With an eye for the obscure he is the founder of the Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society and describes himself as a “purveyor of whimsy”.

Notes on “Numbers”: I experienced the Cold War from close-up having patrolled the western edge of the Iron Curtain as part of British Army on the Rhine in the 1980s. Beyond that fence lay a sinister and unseen enemy and Europe was believed to be awash with their fifth columnists. Numbers stations broadcast on short wave frequencies to a myriad spies out in the field. Nobody ever really knew who was broadcasting, who was receiving or what was sent.
This film explores this idea by listening in on an unknown numbers station broadcasting in Welsh. The cold war here being that which originally made the border between England and Wales and still echoes today.
The film was shot on one icy March day up at Black Mixen in the Radnor Hills in Powys. The bird that can be seen flying near the mast in the film is actually an eagle-owl.

One thought on “Numbers

  1. […] Evans, whose work was brought to my attention by the inclusion of another of his videos, “Numbers“, in the latest issue of Poetry Film Live. He describes this one […]

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