There’s strength in numbers…..

This poem was requested by my former employers at Alcohol Concern, as a contribution to a drugs and alcohol journal. It’s really hard, or at least I find it so, to write a poem ‘to order’ but I do hope that this goes some way to representing the amazing achievements of a lot of people who live, work, volunteer and take part in the community life of Fishguard and Goodwick. Hats off to one and all of them.   

 

There’s strength in numbers

What are the ties that bind?

Good times, sad times, celebration and commiseration.

The chink of glass, the drowning of sorrows,

take a drop, take a little,

taken too much on board?

“Ain’t you got no home to go to?”

How do we talk this through together

without condemnation, lecture, or impunity?

 

We start to chat,

a little bit of this, a little bit of that.

Meeting here and there,

coffee shops, church halls and draughty rooms.

And out of conversation blooms :

Coffee mornings, storm warnings,

Scouts, Sea cadets , the Army youth too,

Brass bands, Lifeboats, Coastguards

Fishguard and Goodwick, the beautiful blue.

Lion’s gentle roarings

(“you’re like a breath of fresh air”).

Are the old folks all grumpy?

Do the younger ones care?

Let’s celebrate our age friendliness, with Festivals and Fairs.

Soroptimists, many other optimists too,

but also nay sayers who

would have us believe that

there’s nothing to be done.

Bring on the school children, Bowls Clubs, Rotary and Round Tablers,

Fishguard AFC players, Sound of Youth ravers, Good Neighbours,

each and every one.

Community Forum, Town Team, County Council, Town Hall,

on ye come, come ye all.

Think about the’ tombstoneing’

before you make the fall.

Folks singers and poets, pancakes and pizzas,

pirates, playgrounds, snowmen and Santa.

Library, Theatr Gwaun, amongst the hubs.

Not quite so good, at getting into the pubs?

Yet, in our town of Transition

we are talking moderation,

not preaching prohibition,

thus no alcohol beer is the festival king

at the Seagulls Rugby Club.

Chamber of Commerce,

Last Invasion ideas – advance, and

if we are feeling none the worse

whisk me off to the Bay Hotel

for a Sunday afternoon Tea Dance.

Music, scones and jam, nothing silly

and the endless energy of Jockabilly.

 

 

Do we drink less, or more?

To find the correct answer, now that would be clever.

Let’s talk the talk, to find the cure.

But learn this we did, and learned it well.

There’s more strength in numbers

with people, the glue. Communities Together.

 

Marc Mordey (with ideas and comments – all much appreciated – shared by several Fishguard and Goodwick community champions) August 2017.

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A celebration of an ancient tradition – beating the bounds in Newport, Pembrokeshire

Seemed appropriate to republish this as I am leading the Beating the Bounds walk today – August 18th 2017…the 53rd such walk (in modern times, so to speak)

Beating the Bounds – 2011

 

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 Henry 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.

 

Marc Mordey 20/8/11

themarcistagenda

Beating the Bounds  

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…

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