Advent. A poem for Roger Hill.Posted: December 7, 2019
We’ve known Roger pretty much ever since we came to live in Newport in 2005. He was a great friend, a bon viveur and raconteur.
He, Reg and myself and the two dogs, used to walk to the top of Carningli most Sunday mornings, probably for about three or four years. Roger liked to see the sun come up, so the Sunday morning starts got earlier, and earlier…! The gossip was good, the coffee even better, and the two dogs always got a biscuit. At the end of the walk Helen often provided a cooked breakfast. Those were golden mornings.
A talented artist, a lover of words, of music, of friends and family. An ally, a kindred spirit. A free spirit. We will miss him very much, as we do Betty, who died around a year or so before Roger.
His pictures hang in the bedroom.
His memories move over the mountain.
I’ve called this poem Advent, as kind of memorial to the time he marshalled us all up top to sing carols and wassails.
You urged us on to crest Carningli
As the summer sunrise split the Western skies.
And we’d huff and puff
Gossiping, musing and marvelling
As the Bay yawned below.
One time you had us carolling and wassailing
In the gathering Yuletide
swirling, steaming mists,
A hint of snow.
The mulled wine and singing
amidst the mystery of ancient stones.
Our walking trips gradually dwindled.
Stopping points became final destinations,
As knees gave way and age overtook us.
We had to say au revoir to
The gorse and heather, still painting their
Honey golden purple splash
Startling the muted grey of
mountain moulded rocks, bedazzling
Larks, sheep, cattle and ponies.
But the pub, painting, music and stories
Held up our conversations
(As did Brexit, climate change, other debate
Indeed, as you aged
your plea for a new vision
grew ever more passionate.
Your voice undiminished by the indignities of maturing.
And we’d do well
to heed your warnings)
Your friendship, intellect, never dimmed.
You were both interesting and
Now we’ve lost you to the drumbeat march of time.
Your paintings grace our wall
Lighting up this winter gloom.
The memory of you
on your West Wales mountainside.
Close to family, hearth and home.
Asleep, but not alone.
A great man for all our days.
A friendship celebrated, tried
true and tested,
To be remembered in
Oh, so many ways.
Unlikely to be bested.