At Strumble Head
A half hour stolen from the day, so
I came to Strumble Head.
The sea, blue grey rolling hillocks.
An oyster catchers cry splitting the bay.
Foxgloves, daisies, sky blue candy tufts,
and a cormorant, jet streaming the billows.
The intermittent mirrored wink of the lighthouse
gleaming, sun streaming.
Always, the inner gasp as a breaking wave
behoves a porpoise – or impossibly not.
Simply in my dolphin dreams?
Ever, the reverberating of the gulls,
persistent squalls, mews, occasional screams.
Outside this bubble, a world becalmed
The noise, the mighty chaos and upheaval,
and the smaller fuss, went on.
In Germany, a man, armed
Took a fatal spree, a cinema shooting run.
A composer died, aged one hundred.
Refugees lay, exposed in 50 degrees of heat,
unhindered by aid, a blanket between seven,
no tents, no water, no food.
As the waves primped and plumed,
how it is that,
across this planet of ours
the odds remained:
As people on our islands voted
Again, again, again…
My mind was tumbling, Strumble bound
To past walks with you, picnics and dogs.
A curious seal, whiskered and severe
Head bobbed brightly in a cove we know.
The coast path meandered, stumbled.
Lost, then found.
Then, returned to my small reality,
albeit cage dragged and reluctantly.
My heart and soul ablaze, it’s true.
For Strumble, Penrallt and so much else besides.
this sea bound, cliff scaped endless beauty.
The odds are stacked,
my card marked…
From, my ever treasured you.
This poem was written on the day of the UK Referendum (aka Independence Day – ha, the irony!) I shall continue to seek refuge in the beauty of landscape, environment and the unconquerable nature of Nature itself. And, am grateful to all – most especially HB, for this was written expressly for you – who have spoiled me with love and affection.
I am indeed, a most fortunate man.
My angels were singing : a poem for St David’s Day
This poem was written a few years a go now – and I have shared it previously. I wondered about ‘recycling it ‘ but (rightly or wrongly) I love this poem, and, given that St David’s Day is an annual event, well….here’s to him, to Wales and the Welsh, and ultimately ; to us all!
Ddiwrnod da ac yn flwyddyn wych I ddod.
I stood near the house
where Grace once lived,
My angels were singing.
I watched as birds
and daffodils dived.
My angels were singing.
It’s spring and the sun
bursts fat and alive.
And my angels were singing.
Old crow, silhouetted against Carningli rock,
purple shadowed on blackened burnt bracken,
gorse and heather reeling :
the after shock.
But my angels were singing, still.
As seagulls wheeled across the bay,
catching sea breezes,
tumbling at will.
The Irish Sea lies beneath
becalmed and silvered blue,
and my angels were singing.
Wales’ favourite saint remembered
the new season breaks forth, springing,
flowers dancing, church bells – ringing.
His angels – singing.
Seasons, people, live and die,
here and now is for the living.
But remember those you love or loved –
And let your angels be singing.
Let your angels be singing.
this poem was written six years ago, but, in the light of the tragic events of this week, has a renewed resonance for me. Rest well.
Heaven Has No Fences
In our world……
The sky is blue bolted and stilled,
spring washed and not yet
I lay in the garden
gazing across the Bay,
a chiff chaff summoning, bell like trilling,
unwittingly willing to add thrill to
a Sunday evening revelry.
Earlier, we walked along the Nevern,
woodlands pin pricked by wood anemones,
bolstered by wild garlic
and the first blue bells creeping skywards.
Nothing untoward until
an owl, a tawny streak,
chased by a furious blackbird
disappeared, chastened perhaps
into the green tented, splintered tree tops.
In your world……
Dawn, presumably, could not come too soon
as you fought your way to the side,
galvanized by the hope a passing cargo ship
The Mediterranean, at one point
a moonlit, blank canvas,
the next moments, a swirling scramble,
angry abstract patterns, peopled by those
in extreme, ultimate, unimagined distress.
I must confess,
a shared sense of hopelessness,
the frustration that our two worlds can be
so far flung, heart strung,
and one almighty mess.
The awfulness of what drove you on
the headlong rush to emigrate
is likewise tough to contemplate.
In part, I too must bear the burden
for these casting votes of carelessness.
Life, the casual combination of magic and loss,
toil, sweat, leisure, excess
the daily, weekly, yearly struggle,
the explosion of the senses.
Can leave my mind muddled, confused,
my values and principles
assaulted by the restless flow of news.
But one thing, for me,
remains as clear as morning dew :
heaven has no fences.
Migrants rescued 10-17 April
Feared to have died attempting the crossing so far this year
- 35,000 Migrants have arrived from North Africa in 2015
- 218,000 Estimated to have crossed the Mediterranean in 2014
- 3,500 Migrants died attempting the crossing last year
It is November
the 4th to be precise
and the morning mists trailing above the estuary.
Llanstefan to my right
gulls wheeling and waders rootling about
in the flattening mud
as the train clanks and creaks along the way.
The ruins of a castle, ghost silhouetted and sharpened by
the profile of black rocks
caressed by grey blue waves.
There is sunlight on the headland
and sunshine in my heart
and the train whistles in sympathy with my exuberant mood.
I sit and smile at
A man with blue stars tattooed
upon his hands.
Knowing that, even now,
your star is flung
high and bright in the firmament;
Caravans rest, snail like upon the landscape
piebald ponies in a waterlogged field,
spiked with gorse and yellowing leaves
the rivers fat, full flowing
the world a better place for the knowing that
you have arrived, safe and secure
Molly maid, niece of mine
A diamond brightly shining
Nothing tawdry for you and,
please that it might prove to be
A life less ordinary for you.
We got married, 7 years ago today, at Elk View Lodge in Fernie, Canada, with Mary Jane Leppard officiating and John, Min, Katryn and Gwyn to cheer us on! And then our great friends, Donna and Murray, who were there in Calgary, alongside my mum, to greet us and toast our good fortune.
This is by way of a thank you to them – but most of all, to my lovely Helen.
If you want to stay in a beautiful place in Canada we recommend http://www.elkviewlodge.com
It was our wedding day and
in the moon capped, early morning light,
the one I love the best,
I watched you sleep,
your blue bandana streaking your rest.
Pretty in pink
and pillowed breathing.
Wedding day dreaming?
No stags, nor hens, the night preceding,
but two humming birds milked the late night scents.
Later, great horned owls, two again,
ghost winged past us,
a stately proceeding through the pines.
It all made sense,
these avian blessings.
You and I, entwined.
The sunlight cracked the morning mountains,
and on the day, the view
emboldened us once more.
The jagged, lizard spine bowled us over,
bouldered beauty abounded.
Under oath, you took me,
and I you.
And we were proud,
to be so
Overhead, two eagles soared,
Promises, destinies, futures,
tried, tested, assured.
Later that day,
waxwings flashed across an emerald coloured lake,
a woodpecker belted out a treetop drumbeat.
We paddled gently, made no mistake
and made a wedding breakfast
in British Colombian heat.
Driving back, Calgary bound,
a pick up truck split the prairie side
streaming a dust dirt cloud.
Bluebird boxes decorated our journey.
We revelled in the wedding day drive,
Time moved on,
birds, holidays, all took flight.
We are in a different place
but find ourselves
fat and full
wedding day delight.