Poems 12

              Walter – A True Story

We rode thoughout the night

          From eve till morn’s grey light

And all the while a tempest howled before us

          But we never gave an inch

          Not from our journey flinch

And we never felt the weariness come o’er us.

 

All through that long long night

Just tucked in behind the fight,

Was a youth whose Christian name is known as Walter

          Tenaciously he clung

          And to our back wheels hung

And ne’er an inch all night did Walter falter.

 

          We tried to shake him off

          But Walter was too tough

And from his self-appointed place he would not budge

          When the going got too hard

          And we thought he’d walk a yard

He’d get off too and just behind us trudge.

 

But when later in the day

The wind behind us lay

Walter got in front and disappeared

          And blinding all the while

          He gained mile after mile

And not until at supper re-appeared.

 

So we thought we would celebrate

In honour of our mate

And make to him a decent presentation

          So we said a little speech

          (Though we kept him out of reach)

Whilst we placed him on an hero’s elevation.

 

With a medal on his breast

And a proudly swelling chest

We took his photo, mounted on his bike,

          With the trophy in his hand

          The effect was simply grand

For a right good champion’s posture he did strike.

 

So at some future date

When his year’s are getting late

And his feet too weak to try and push a pedal

          He will tell his son’s the story

          Of how he gained such glory

And framed upon the wall will be his medal.

Whitsun 1926

 

 

The Call

 A great red sun is setting

          Across the azure sea;

A wealth of shade and colour

Into the western lea:

A voice calls o’er the waters

          Bidding me to free

My soul from work-day fetters

          To sail the restless sea.

 

 The road winds o’er the mountains

          Across the peaceful plains;

It strides across the moorlands

          Before it’s goal attains:

I hear the road a-calling –

          I see those leafy lanes

I cannot help but answer

          Ere the long day wanes.

 

A silver thread is winding,

          Through deeply hidden dales

I see the sparkling waters

          A coursing down the vales;

The music of the dancing flood –

          A song that never fails

To draw me to the riverside –

          To hear the river’s tales.

 

Across the open moorland

          (Yon ridge that cleaves the sky)

The whispering breeze is calling –

          I hear the moor fowl cry:

That bed of moss and heather,

          Where content I may lie

Besides the rippling moorland burn

          That dances lightly by.

 

Beyond yon tree-clad valley

          The towering mountains rise;

A tumbled, mighty, rocky mass

          Uprearing to the skies:

Amongst those peaks is freedom

          Away from man’s device

About those crags and precipice

          I’ll find a paradise.

 

The sun is over the forest,

          A scene of sylvan peace

It forms a leafy pattern

          A-slanting through the trees

The shady roof waves gently

          Stirred by the summer breeze

‘Tis there I’d love to wander

          Wherever I may please.

 

The restless sea is breaking

          In wavelets o’er the shore

The Southern breeze is calling

          Across the lonely moor

The shady, coloured woodlands

          The river’s gentle roar

But most of all I hear the road –

          The ever open door.                             1922

 

Poems 11

 

                             Gwen

With praise that is ringing, some people keep singing,    

          That putting the whole world together

No land can compare to the loveliness rare

          Of a Scottish lass born ‘mid the heather.

 

And others are telling in language compelling

          That wherever their wanderings have been

They’ve ne’er had the pleasure to find such a treasure

          As blue-eyed Kathleen Mavoureen. 

 

Then some folks are saying that odds they are laying,    

          If you want you can search the world o’er

You’ll not find a beginner there’s only one winner

          The lassie from old England’s shore.

 

I’m beginning to doubt it, though I didn’t want to shout it

          But I’ve just heard a whisper today

That one of the’We Seven’ has landed in heaven

          And it’s only a day’s ride away!

 

Whilst he was touring, a lassie alluring,

          The essence of ‘Sweet Seventeen’

His vision enraptured, his heart she encaptured

          A dear little Welsh Gwendoline.

 

We gave him assistance, we taught him persistence

          For though slow he was awfully keen;

And so by insistence he broke all resistance

          And now she’s his sweet Gwendoline.

 

                              A Valentine      (Sequel to Gwen)

 

Dear Gwen I pen this note to you       

          I ain’t much good at verse

But still it’s time I wrote to you,

          For better, or for worse.

 

Although so many miles from you

          So many miles away;

I can’t forget those smiles from you

          Last New Year’s Day.

 

I can’t forget that talk with you,

          In the village street –

Although I know that walk with you

          Was short and sweet.

 

Dear Gwen, I pen this ode to you

          Until again we meet

And when those miles I’ve rode to you

          Don’t run up’t street!  

                                                                      February 1927

 

Charlie’s Poems 10

Let me like a Feather Fall  (Adapted for Joseph)

 

Yes, let me like a feather fall

          If tumble then, I must;

Not I desire the vulgar sprawl

          To rudely kiss the dust

No, I’ll recline as gracefully

          As if t’were by a spell

And they that stay and see shall say

          “He like a feather fell”.

 

Yes from the saddle I’ll descend

          And on the road recline

So gently that a smiling friend

          May claim it all sublime

But the saddle I shall try to keep

          For to part like that’s a sell;

Yet they shall say, if we part that way

          “He like a feather fell”.

 

Yes the vile cropper I despise

          The gentle I admire

And all are free to criticise

          The spill that I desire;

And when I tumble give this song

          And true that song shall tell

How through that space and with what grace

          “He like a feather fell”.  

 

 

                              Camping – Two Aspects!

 

Camp no 1

Dusk o’er the camp was creeping –

          The camp of the ‘Seven are We’

And the countryside was sleeping

          In sweet tranquillity;

And the evening breeze just stirred the trees

A sweetly scented summer breeze

          And the fire glowed fitfully.

 

A haze o’er the hills was lying,

          A peace had settled round

And the pinewood embers dying

          Glowed softly on the ground

Oh, the calm of night and the fading light,

The wonderful calm of a summer night

          Serenity profound!

 

Camp no 2

Rain o’er the camp was falling –

          The camp of the ‘Seven are We’

And a voice was dolefully calling

          “Oh for a pot of tea”

A bad campsite and a cold wet night

A puddly, clammy, bad camp night

          And weary campers three

 

The primus won’t keep going

          And the butter will not spread

And a nor’east gale was blowing

(“Oh for a nice warm bed”)

The wind blew in through the fabric thin

And when the wind blew in the rain came in,

          “Ere morning we’ll be dead”                  After Easter 1927

 

Charlie’s Poems 9

                       Relics of Joe

 

A philosopher true was Joseph

          (You all know ‘Blackberry Joe’

Who gourmandised in Nant-y-Ffrith

 

          On the fruit that laid him low)

I’ve made a rhyme for Joseph,

          About his pipe and bike –

I only wish that he were here

Twiddling ‘em round on his little gear –

          I’ve not yet met his like!

 

A Chater-lea had Joseph

          What service it has seen!

The rear stays bent, the frame is kinked

          It long since lost it’s sheen;

And only one could ride it

          And make it travel fast

For speed, he had a growing thirst

He always reached the tea-place first

          He never was the last!

 

A curious way had Joseph

          When out upon his steed

He had a knack of falling off

          When travelling off at speed

He’d argue with a milk float

          And through the air would soar –

His happiest time, he used to say

Was on a certain frost-bound day

          When oft he graced the floor.

 

And on the death of Joseph

          He made a last request –

That we should put his Chater-lea

          With him to rest

‘Twould help him on his journey

          Towards his heavenly home

But probably he’ll blind along

And at the fork roads he’ll go wrong

          And into Hades roam.

 

And another thing had Joseph

          He could not do without –

When once he got his pipe alight

          He’d put us all to rout:

He’d sit down in the tea place

          And puff away serene

Until a kind of foggy gloom

In layers floated around the room

          And turned us sick and green.

 

A clarion call had Joseph

          That all his clubmates knew

Of other things he troubled not

          What’er the wind that blew:

“Gimme my bike, and gimme my pipe

          And gimme a blackberry tree

Gimme a place where I can feed

And out upon my lightsome steed

          How happy I will be!

 

“I care not how the rain comes down

          I care not how it blows

For when I am on my Chater-lea

          What matter if it snows?

I’ll get my good pipe going

          And content will I roam

Puffing slabs of bluish haze

Until I get you in a maze

          And send you gasping home”

 

We asked him what he was smoking

          Whatever was the dope?

Some said that it was corduroy

          And others swore it was rope

The air could be quite solid –

          It would not even bend

We could find nothing to compare

It made the vilest Woodbines there

          Seem like some Eastern blend.

 

So if by some miscarriage,

          When the heaven’s gate he tries

The guardian angel bars his way

          Refusing Paradise

And Satan then refuses

          To let him in as well

He’ll light his pipe and puff away

And stay there until Judgement Day

          In his own private Hell!

October 1926

 

Charlie’s Poems 8

                       A Limerick

 

There was a young cyclist named Joe

Was a glutton for blackberries you know;

          When he got on the scent

          To those bushes he went –

He’d show ‘em the way they should go!

 

Now this here young cyclist named Joe

Inside him the berries could stow

          Till you’d fear at first

          That he’d jolly soon burst

If he didn’t cease making them flow!

 

But a marvellous fellow was Joe

He always knew where they would grow

          And before you got there

          The bush was picked bare

And most of another, I trow.

 

But disaster was coming on Joe

His breath came laboriously slow:

          He packed himself tight –

          He ‘clocked out’ that night

And we buried him near where they grow.

 

So take heed all ye who would go

To try the same game as poor Joe

          In the fruit there’s a grub

          If it gets in your tub

You’ll hand in your checks and join Joe!

September 1925