The Best Man (A Fact)
‘Twas whispered around that a wedding was pending,
And rumour puts me as the man next the groom;
All morning I fought with a collar unbending
Then dressed like a lord I went out to my doom.
Arrayed like a king in a mantle of glory,
I joined with a throng that was happy and gay,
And for once the old clothes that were moss-grown and hoary
To which I still clung, in a lumber room lay.
I fretted and fumed in the stiffest of collars,
In agonies name I swore hard at those shoes
And solemnly vowed that for millions of dollars
The name of ‘Best Man’ ne’er again would I use.
I crept into church in a frenzy of terror,
I gave up the ring with a trembling hand
I was fearful of making the tiniest error
For a little mistake would spread far o’er the land
At last the dread act was done with and over,
And off to the cafe our motor-cars sped;
A right bust up was laid – I thought I was in clover
But shyness prevailing I ate nothing instead.
An evening of fun and music and dancing –
But the ‘Best Man’ lay hid in an out of way place
And dreamed of his bike and the byways entrancing
While the dancing and frolics grew faster apace.
I was dressed like a tramp in clothes moss-grown and hoary,
And pedalled along at the back of the day
And yesterday’s fear, with that mantle of glory,
Unwanted and lost, in a lumber room lay.
You may speak of the glories of Scotland
Of lochs and hidden glens
Of isles and sparkling cascades
Beneath the frowning Bens:
You may speak of the beauties of Yorkshie,
Or dream of the Derbyshire Dales;
Or ‘Bless the grey mountains of Donegal’
Or the southern Downland trails.
You may praise all the glories of Lakeland –
Of fell and waterfall;
But give me a Cambrian valley –
The sweetest of them all!
Give me a Cambrian river
Beneath and evening sky,
For there I’d linger for an age
And let the world roll by.
The Best Way
At night when all my work is done
And I am free to roam,
I ride away towards the hills
(For I cannot stay at home)
The hours I have at leisure
Are not so very long;
But through the woods and o’er the moors
Or where the river ceaseless roars
I gladly glide along.
There’s the Sunday too, of freedom
When early I can rise
For on the road at break of day
Is found a paradise:
Sometimes my wheel goes northward
To lands of grouse and heather,
Of chattering streams and upland dells –
I wander o’er the mossy fells
No matter what the weather.
Or southward I may wander
(Let me speak about the south)
In Derbyshire or Cheshire
Where nought e’er seems uncouth,
Amongst those old world hamlets
By some old village green,
Or wandering down those leafy lanes
And o’er the ridge as daylight wanes,
A wealth of bounty seen.
There’s violets in the hedges.
In pretty shades of blue
Primroses deck the forest
With every golden hue
The wild sweet smelling hyacinth
Bells that ring to you
And call you to the woodland glade
To linger in the sun-kissed shade –
These scenes are ever new.
And when as evening closes,
And once again I find
Myself amid the sordid streets –
Those precious scenes behind;
And when the workshop claims me
And fetters round me bind
The moor and mountain, wood and mead,
A little lightsome metal steed
Are called back to mind.
I have mentioned this item in the past, but I discovered over a long period of time that Charlie got the name wrong, in that ‘Jean’, who lived at her parents Bed and Breakfast in Sun Street, Ffestiniog, a predominately Welsh speaking area, was actually called ‘Jenny’. Charlie did not know that, in ‘Welsh’ Jennie sounds like Jean. I did track her down to the house in Sun Street, but she had sadly died some 10 years earlier, the house then (2009) contained relatives and I was told that Jenny was a confirmed flirt all her life, but who died childless.
And another Editors note, I typed up these poems properly, but this wordpress website insists on putting a double line space between individual lines of type and unless someone has a solution for that, this unfortunately is the result.
There’s the pretty girl
And the witty girl
And the girl that bobs her hair;
The girl that’s pert
And the girl that’s a flirt
And the girl with a baby stare.
Now I know a girl who resides in Wales’
The prettiest girl I’ve seen,
Whose beauty of feature, like Cumbria’s dales
Are such as is read of in fairy tales-
And that girl’s name is Jean.
We were three care free cyclists on touring bent,
Three cyclists young and keen;
Who into the Vale of Ffestiniog went,
And found that additional charm was lent
By means of a lassie called Jean!
There’s one of our trio called ‘Blackberry Joe’
A lanky youth, and lean;
Who confided to us in tones so low
Of his love for a lassie that all of us know
And that girl’s name is Jean!
There’s old fashioned Tommy, a bachelor shy
With girl’s he was never seen;
Who whispered to us as he sat by
Of his love for a lass who had caught his eye
And that girl’s name is Jean!
Now I am a chap of rather dull wit,
Wherever girl’s have been;
But one there is who made rather a hit-
And captured my heart something more than a bit
And that girl’s name is Jean!!!
There we sat dreaming youthful dreams –
Our knowledge of love was green;
Vainly plotting and scheming schemes
Through not a bit of intelligence gleams
For the sake of a lassie named Jean!
Companions keen on a cycling tour,
Happy and serene;
And now we’re enemies; though I’m sure
That always a woman was man’s undoer
Pretty girls like Jean!
So follow the moral, cyclists all,
And know by what you’ve seen;
Stand with your backs against the wall,
And fight resolved that you never will fall
When on the scene pops Jean!
New Year Tour 1926
Here are some of Charlie Chadwick’s own poems, not previously published.
I will introduce them gradually over the coming weeks of ‘Norway in 1938’, to break the monotony of wind and rain, but will generally publish on the website on Wednesdays.
There’s Tom and I, and ‘Blackberry Joe’
Cyclists keen are we;
Bachelor boys of the Rolling Wheel
True to the game as tempered steel -
Rollicking Mudlarks Three!
Sailors talk of the rolling deep,
Singing songs of the sea;
But yo-ho-ho for the Open Road
Defy we will what wind e’er blowed
Stamp on ‘em, Mudlarks Three!
There’s a gale on the road today boys,
Floods on the river Dee;
Then gales we’ll face and floods we’ll brave,
What care we if tempests rave?
Into it, Mudlarks Three!
The rain it raineth every day,
We care not a jot for all the rain,
That ever fell on moor or plain
Down to it, Mudlarks Three!
So here’s to the grand old cycling game,
And here’s to the CTC;
And here’s to the wind and rain and snow
And Tom and I and ‘Blackberry Joe’-
Rollicking Mudlarks Three
New Year Tour 1926