From mountains of Eryri and Preseli’s ancient hills;
down soft slopes of Pumlumon spring the gentle, laughing rills.
Born of summer showers and winter snow and rain
their destiny: descending, to join the sea again.
Nentydd, isafonydd; brooks and tributaries flow
to ever swelling rivers, meandering and slow.
But some the coalfields entered, cymoedd stained so black and sore.
There’s healing now: the valleys stream with clarity once more.
As with the cyclic seasons our histories come and go.
The rivers fall, incessant, to oceans vast they flow.
Transcending our traditions, inspiring ways and means
and then, in tidal reaches, renewing hopes and dreams.
It’s here that is established their heritage and fate,
this meeting of the land and sea; a kiss of love, not hate.
For here humanity has stood, through countless ages long,
striving at the waters’ edge to sing the rivers’ song.
“Cân Afonydd: canu’n byw, rhwng mynydd, dir a môr;
cylchoedd natur, gras y nef; molianwn nawr ein Iôr!”
My eyes are strangely drawn
to distant Ynys Enlli;
focus of fearless Pilgrims,
repose of sleeping Saints,
ageless witness to centuries of faith and hope …
And then, along Y Llŷn,
to the mountains of the north;
the rippling giants of y Gogledd
serenely waiting for Idris to be chaired again …
O, magnificent sweep of Cardigan bay,
so calm your surface appears
yet, teeming below, are
creatures of another world …
… occasionally some break through …
with a splash and a wave
they sneak a look at us,
clothed humans. Then,
having satisfied their curiosity,
quickly return to their natural depths.
Finally, with hiraeth I gaze
at that threadlike stroke of watercolour
where sky and sea caress
with a tranquillity that belies
the swell and the storm …
… what a mystery you are!
The end of our sight,
but not our understanding.
We are aware of the treasures hidden
beyond your space-time curve.
If not our limit,
then you are our challenge:
a hope for one more adventure
before our life-long journey’s end,
or yet …
… a glorious new beginning!
© 2017 Graham Oakes: Bwythyn y Banc.
This was written following a post on FaceBook about a girl who was homeless because of circumstances which were quite shocking …
They take longer to write than to read them
but for most we just don’t have the time
to repay the hard work and the effort,
these authors of prose and of rhyme.
A book may be full of surprises,
unless we skip to the last page,
but living is harder than reading
whatever our income or age.
And what of those human-life stories
developed in mind, flesh and bone;
crouching by shops and by cafés,
so close, and yet, so alone.
We can’t judge a book by its cover.
We can’t judge a child by its name.
We can’t judge a beggar by looking.
We really can’t judge and lay blame.
Forgive me for not taking interest
in your story and how it began;
let’s finish this chapter together,
I’ll help you however I can.
It may be only a letter,
or just a word in the right place.
A sentence, constructed to help you
with friendship: a blessing and grace.
I pray that the ending is happy,
creative, fulfilling and true.
I pray that your story will make us
take time to serve others like you.
(c) 2017 Graham Oakes
Inspired by Sylvan Mason’s FB post