I celebrated my 55th birthday recently….there is a lot of horror and awfulness in the world. I don’t necessarily want to avoid contemplating it, but sometimes it is good – if you are fortunate enough to do so – to stand back and simply drink in the magic. That, for me, is life really – as the late, great Lou Reed would have it “Magic and Loss”.
I WATCHED IN WONDER, AS……
The clear blue sky was split by green leafed tree
I looked at the painting of the Cornish Belle that hangs in my office
We watched 2 crested grebe dipping, and a swan on the nest, from the sanctuary of our hotel balcony
We flew down into Treorchy, apparently arriving by runway, the car a magic carpet, splitting the mildly misted darkness of a November night
Eric Bibb, troubadour extraordinaire, cool hatted and sharply suited, took to the stage where his godfather once sang, for the delight of miners abounding
Lowri Evans and her band set down tunes in the Land of Song
And Leonard Cohen “danced Cardiff to the end of love” on and on
Prior to that, Bruce Springsteen rocked and swayed and sang, apparently never ending
I devoured my new Norman Rockwell birthday gift book and donned a brand new shirt, homage to the station wagon
The smoke rose frail and fronded above the Port Talbot factory smokestacks, curling upward, skylined cloud
Rainstorms sweetly savaged the still spring air
The dogs and I discovered a new path, abundant with bluebell and nettles, and a new bridge – uncrossable as yet, and “Fern Hill not accessible”, but the apology surely not necessary
The three of us were knocked out, side split by the Love Punch
And tonight it is the turn of Godzilla
I passed by London Bridge, Moorgate, Bank and Old Street, bento box lunch and a stroll in the sunshine
Not doing the Lambeth Walk, but been there now, Roots and Shoots and all
I watched Debbie Harry and Blondie – 40 years on
And saw the last ever episode of M.A.S.H. bleary eyed, watching Hawkeye
I went West once more
I drank coffee, black, sweet and strong – no palpitations
I made a bow to Sir John Betjeman’s statue
I took lunch in the Pleasure Garden, Bonnington Square,
Greece, Turkey, England, Wales – all duly represented there
We walked the woods, wreathed in wild garlic, lilac and columbine pinks
Saw a peacock – it’s tail fully fanned and luminescent – no cameras, but I am graced with a memory
I got a shy smile from a man begging
and earned a gap toothed grimace from a gypsy musician
I stayed at the new home of old friends and found fresh features in previously unexplored and ageing streets
Heard new music from Brazil and Canvey Island – smokey jazz and the dynamite explosion of rhythm and blues
The lime trees were resplendent and green gorged in the morning light
A smouldering sunset topped Dinas Head
My niece, still new and unexpected, gurgled and chimed over the Facetime pages and gave her newly homed father a smile, that unfolded in delighted stages
I began the journey through ‘Americanah’ already relishing these recommended pages
Derren Brown amazed, perplexed and transfixed us – maybe even sent us away mildly hypnotised
A new car growled and spat and bore us southwards
Sussex and Kent span by
I learned that maybe I liked Rudyard Kipling after all – Just So
A nuthatch joined our café table
Earlier a tortoise had blown in my ear and then raced off, as much as that is possible
Work went on and I was lucky to love it
I read the emerging story, the fourth instalment unfolding, the characters captivating, the humour intact
A first rate novelist burnishing her form, died in the wool talent, as a matter of fact
Today I watched my breath unfurl in the mid May morning air
Some time ago we were transfixed by the 2 horses in the field behind, wildly, joyfully galloping, ground breaking and tail streaming bannered
The cawl was good, the craick too
As 55 years gone by were remarked, cards, presents and abundant good wishes
A life graced by good fortune, great friendships, by hugs and by kisses
I have lived these last years, silver ringed and golden gated
Enriched and involved, connected , sated
I celebrated, oh, how I celebrated.
Crowns the bay
As I stare hard
On this perfect summer’s day
At the blue-green world
Yawning beneath me.
Gasping to the top
I clasp at stone
And lay a new gift –
A blessing, ordered to complement
My bent –pin wishing well thoughts –
Atop the gathering cairn.
My legs construed
To return me to you
And your melon scented kisses.
You – the jewel
In my Carningli crown.
My angels were singing : a poem for St David’s Day (I have shared this with friends before but hope it bears revisiting)
Concocted over a few spring like days, out walking the dogs, watching the birds, and thinking of those who have died : Derek, who loved Pembrokeshire and rode on Carningli most days, and also of my grandparents (and others), who do – I believe – watch over me.
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.
Snowfall – on 23/24 January 2013 it snowed – hard. We took the dogs onto Carningli and all 4 of us revelled in the snow, after our own fashion!Posted: January 25, 2013
Snowflakes, fat and magical,
Falling fast upon our seaside town
We hot foot it up onto Carningli
Hiking at the odd angles
Which snow (and sand)
Newport Bay lies below
Muffled now, the silence of the snowstorm aftershock
A swarm of starlings split the leadened sky
The eery wingbeats of this huge flock
Mingle with tobogganists careering cries
Home, the windows glowing
Chimney smoke signals our duskening guide
And still, as moonlit darkness hits its stride
Stealthily, greedily, it is snowing.
Lost In Translation? A little bit of nonsense really, but I enjoyed writing it and hope it might cheer up a gloomy evening (well, it is here in Pembrokeshire anyway)Posted: January 19, 2013
Cooked Flan in Llandovery
I saw Steven in Llanstefan
And ate a pie in Pwyl
Sang Climb Every Mountain in Mwnt
And Angel Eyes on Carningli
Dined out in Dinas
Ate sewen in Fishguard
And eels in Llanelli
Bought a car in Cardiff
Saw a cygnet in Swansea
Got ripped off in Conway
Swam in Welshpool
Laughed in Laugherne
Got wrecked in Wrexham
Wept in Torvaen
Had a haircut in Aberaeron
Was wistful in Aberystwyth
Hysterical in Hermon
Took a drop in Newport
Or was it bathed in Trefdraeth
Took a boat from Newquay
Spent a decade in Tenby
Sang in Treorchy
Drove a Morris Minor in Magor
Felt glum in Merthyr
Decided Neath was enough
Barbecued in Skewen
Mistook Skokholm for Sweden
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.
It’s all about –
PHOTOGRAPHY – I want to share images , from day to day life, work (and other) travels, sometimes landscapes, sometimes people or animals, and also quirky little things, odd angles, that catch my eye, and might please yours? More of these can be found on our website at http://www.thestudioatpenrallt.co.uk
HELEN CAREY’S BOOKS – And finally, I want to direct you towards the work of my favourite writer, my wife Helen Carey, because, if you like what I write – you’ll LOVE what she writes! see Helen’s page here on this blog.
So, here it is, The Marcist Agenda – please read on, hope you will enjoy and be stimulated by what you see and I would very much like to hear back from you on what you read.
Faster than a herd of turtles! Cheers! Marc