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.
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
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!
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
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
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
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!