In my mind’s eye, I see you,
as the rail skimming miles slide by.
You are peeling apples in our kitchen,
your mother by your side.
Chunking, slicing, chutney dicing,
Slooshing, whooshing, liquid reducing.
And that, which cannot be denied?
You’re the jam, the jelly roll, adoration preserved.
honeyed, sugared, the core – I am sure,
and yet, by me, undeserved.
Ever, the apple of my eye.
First we met amidst the cheerful noise and roar of living,
Squared off in Market Street
The horses shying, nudging nervously,
Eager to avoid lorries, cars, the inconvenient pedestrians.
Saddled up and stirrup cupped, they sally forth, and,
Like some star crossed lovers,
Their paths and the walker’s ways are not to cross again, this day.
It’s a long road to the end of Long Street,
“And miles to go before we sleep”.
The walkers convene, eager to beat, maybe even break the bounds
For we are living history today and the wildly beating western heart of Wales
Resounds, and steers these wilful feet.
Estuary and sea behind us
Swiftly we stride the road of kings
Where Richard once slipped towards Bosworth on paths of glory
And, daring to cross the 21st century once more,
We make our way behind, beyond Hendre farm
The leet singing softly across the centuries,
Testament to engineers of another age.
Stepping stones and hawthorn copses, and
For some a speedy detour around
the long deserted, but still upheld,
stone encircled cattle pound – a mournful story of shillings lost
some here before us were to count the cost.
Its uphill now, and the wind is there to whip us lightly
A few drops of rain to remind us of where we are.
But we are following the flag, in its wind kissed flight.
Resolute, you might say, marching
Towards Bedd Morris, and the standing stone,
Where – for a slither of time and a mouthful of sandwich –
Ennobled by mayor and mayoress, resplendent in red,
We rest, and are thankful:
Apart from one young beaten boy, perhaps,
For his is the freshest mind on show, and, let’s
Make no bones about it, if the young are to remember the ancient boundaries,
They must be beaten soundly for their troubles.
“The youth of today”, echoes down the years,
As the stick swishes in the stiffening breeze,
But this is pantomime only, photographs and cheers – no tears.
Refreshed, and joined by dogs and other new companions
Fresh for the journey, but walking age old paths,
The mountain top soaked in colour,
Purple heathered and gorse honeyed
And the red and white of the flag, breaking the blue grey cloud.
Sheep safely graze, though they, and skulking foxes, rabbits and a small mountain lizard
Might be forgiven for being a trifle amazed at this unforeseen traffic
A Carningli crocodile, a human hazard.
We pass the stone circles that once were home to those long lost,
Skirt the side of “Angel Mountain”, no celestial voices to be heard
But the song of the lark arouses, a buzzard cries and wheels above
Riding the thermals, untroubled by time
Undaunted by history.
The skies open up before us, the sea and cliffs ahead,
Below, Chapels, Manor, Nevern church
Well mannered fields, undisciplined outcrops and wayward woodland,
Many passed those ways, wrote the tapestry of time,
Though for most our life stories remain unread.
For today, the Pilgrim’s Way, is above the valleys
And we’ve time in hand, as downwards, dogs dancing, we are led.
Back to Newport, job done, a stalwart crew,
We salute our standard bearer and make plans to meet
And that evening are rewarded with revelry,
And, later a form of reverence
As the Llwnygwair Arms falls silently to keep watch
Over the time bound tradition, the Court Leet.
Certificated, we walkers, riders too,
Take our place in the boundless tale.
Above us, Carningli sleeps,
Dented by our passing, brushed by our boots, hammered by hoof beat,
The drum and the dragon, magical and mystic, the mountain top steeped in sound.
We, time straitened fragments of history, move forward now, on into our own futures
But today – we made our mark
And companionship, community, purpose and vigour, these are the features.
Abundant memories, to lighten the winter dark.