Poems 20

                              By Llyn Idwal

 We came to Llyn Idwal – to lonely Llyn Idwal,

When twilight to darkness was stealthily creeping

Watched the slow shadows step down to Llyn Idwal

Watched till it seemed that all nature was sleeping.

 

With shadows the mountains were peopled – with shadows

The tall cliffs were muffled: the silence prevailing

Seemed speech more eloquent than day’s sunny shadows

Seemed words that our hearts –that our souls were inhaling.

 

We sat by the waters – sat close to the waters,

Rippling, dim-sighted, in dark wavelets playing

Sat by the shore and gazed over the waters

And wondered what waters and mountains were saying.            Easter Sunday night 1926

 

                          Just You and Me

 

There’s me and you, Fred, just we two

          There’s just we two remaining

While one by one they’ve slowly gone

          Some future state attaining.

 

In many ways those bygone days

          Will strike their symphony

So long we’ve known them as our own

          Our jocund little company.

We’ll drink our fill of memory still,

          Those golden days behind us

But you and me, we still are free….

          And free for long they’ll find us.

 

There’s me and you, Fred, just we two –

          We’ve braved some squally weather

And wind and rain we’ll brave again –

          Just you and me together.                                       January 1930

 

 

It Couldn’t be Done….!

 

All of us thought that it couldn’t be done –

Our bachelor clan was united;

Our vows had us solidly welded as one –

Our union couldn’t be slighted

But with the first shock, our Pillar of Rock –

Our pillar shook till it shattered

When Bill came along and sounded the gong

As he told us – and asked if it mattered.

 

The way of a woman (what little I know)

Is, as soon as she can, to be married

And sad to relate, at the first hammer blow

Our ideals in ruins lay buried

“Love and Leave” was Jack’s text, but Jack was the next

He fell and he raised no objection

Then, just as we feared, Hindley Fred disappeared –

He went without pause for reflection.

 

The way of a woman (what little I know)

Is, as soon as she can, to be married:

And the number which left us continued to grow

Till at last only three of us tarried

Now Tom, Fred and me, we swore did we three –

We swore that we’d never be divided

We swore – but what use, we were chasing the goose

A woman it was who decided!                                            June 1929

 

Poems 19

                       Constancy

 

I’ve tried my best to celebrate

          The We.R.7 clan

In differing time, and varying rhyme

          You’ve met them, every man.

 

Some have gone, and some remain,

          (How long I cannot tell),

And some are new, and not a few

          Just came…and went…and fell!

 

‘Twas mostly by the ‘weaker sex’

          They met their Waterloo –

Those who have gone, yet not a one,

          Will hold this stanza true.

 

Yet true it is, and every line

          Of those I’ve wrote before:

They boast no wit, but still they hit

          In tender spots, and sore!

 

In constancy, the We.R.7,

          Are like a tidal river –

They ebb and flow, and come and go

          Yet I go on for ever.                          2 May 1929

 

Today’s the Day

 

Of bygone days we dream our dreams

          And clothe them in a rosy hue

Until the past with richness gleams

          That never can be true.

 

We oft forget the darker hours

          And add our sunshine to the scene

We strew our way with pretty flowers

          That never could have been.

 

Why can’t we be as others are?

          Our fireside critics oft exclaim

Maybe this life without it’d dare

          Wouldn’t seem the same.

 

We take our chances on the road

          We face the the worst with cheerful smile

We never question, but the load

          Has always seemed worthwhile.

 

Lets dream our dreams of days gone by

          Lets deck with flowers our future way

But –  see how quick the moments fly –

          The best is here – today!

                                                                                          Winter 1928

 

 

Poems 18

                      Ride a Bike

 If you’d brighter days be stealing – Ride a Bike

For that ‘grand and glorious feeling’ –  Ride a Bike

          When you’re feeling kind of weary

          And the days seem drab and dreary

There’s one way out that’s cheery – Ride a Bike

 

If you’d know the thrill of racing – Ride a Bike

The fleeting miles displacing – Ride a Bike

          You’ll declare that nothing ever

          Can your new found pastime sever

And you’ll pity those who never – Ride a Bike

 

If at holidays you’re touring – Ride a Bike

If you’d make each day alluring – Ride a Bike

          There’s the Open Road before you

          There’s the blue sky always o’er you

Why the more you’re out, the more you – Ride a Bike

 

If companions you’d be meeting – Ride a Bike

For you they have a greeting – Ride a Bike

          If all these joys you’d win to –

          If you’re troubles you’d cut in two

You only need begin to – Ride a Bike!

 

                          A Tale of Two Cyclists       (Which summarises the story ‘Whacked’)

Two cyclists of our local clan

          Now claim your kind attention

Each thought he was a superman –

          Their names I will not mention

          (They took me in their confidence

          Believing that I had the sense

          To hold my tongue, and I’d do wrong

Their names to even mention).

 

A tandem once they both bestrode

          (‘Twas wild and wintry weather)

And just like supermen they rode –

          So well they ‘nicked’ together;

And with the speed of Hercules

          Aided by a goodly breeze

          They crossed the vales, of Northeast Wales

So well they ‘nicked’ together.

 

A hundred miles they passed ere noon

          The wind was strong behind them

And though they’d have to face it soon

‘Twas useless to remind them,

          Not till they’d sighted Snowdon’s peak

          Did they their mid-day luncheon seek

          And while they fed, with pride they said –

“Our pals – how we’ll remind them!”

 

At last they started homewards bent

          The icy gale before them

From slow to slower still they went

          As quick the winds outwore them

With bodies chilled, and frozen feet

And faces cut with stinging sleet,

          They tottered on, few miles they’d gone

Ere dark had fallen o’er them.

 

Oft beaten still, and always slow –

          This was exasperation!

With yet o’er seventy miles to go

          They reached a railway station

(Dear reader let me draw a veil

          On how they joined the iron trail –

The truth is plain, the railway train,

Did save the situation.

 

Pride goes before a fall, you know,

          If you out judge the distance;

And winds that first behind you blow

          May soon give stern resistance

So let this tale a lesson be

          When breezes speed you merrily

Each mile you tack, seems two more back

          And cyclists spurn assistance.

 

The above poem deals with a true story played out by Charlie and his tandem owning friend Jack on a December trip to North Wales.  The story is related elsewhere under the title ‘Whacked’  (Page 164 in Volume Four of Charlie’s memoirs).

 

Poems 17

 

                      A Sequel to the Lament  (of last week)

 

It was writ in December (I think you’ll remember)

          A lament o’er those of our pals that have passed;

How I would remind them that though now behind them

She’d jolly soon teach them which one will be last

(Which one will be last they are learning it fast!)

 

Since that publication my own situation

          Has constantly forced me to be on my guard:

Hear feminine grumblings – ominous mumblings –

          Wait till I get to that doggerel bard….

          (On the doggerel bard it is going to be hard!)

 

Now ladies please reason, don’t say this is treason,

          A cynic of woman I’m not, as you think:

Don’t cry with ferocity that this wild monstrosity

          This doggerel bard – this splasher of ink

          In his inspired ink he will very soon sink!

 

I would never to Withnell go dashing pell mell

          Though sorry I feel for my poor comrade’s plight

I’m on something better – I’ve just got a letter

          And I’m heading for Wigan tonight

          (There’s somebody waiting at Wigan tonight!)

 

 

                              Historical decay of the We.R.7

 

Of We.R.7 quite a few

          Have joined the matrimonial section

Now who’d have thought this lively crew

          Could e’er have made this ill selection?

 

Bill Berry was the first to leave,

          (He got it hard did Bill Berry)

Not till the last could we believe

          That this complaint did Billy carry.

 

He said it was his spinal cord

          That somehow had got overladen –

Who would have took him at his word

          When in the case had come – a maiden?

 

Then Jack was next – a chap who swore

          His hate for girls, and none could doubt him

He said he’d flirt with girls no more

          (Until he found them round about him)

 

Poor Jack, he tried his best you know – 

          (He didn’t really understand ‘em)

But sure enough we saw him go –

          He’s going still – upon a tandem!

 

Then soon the end of Fred was nigh:

          One Sunday deep in Wales went skippen’

The Sunday after – hear the cry –

          “God help me lads, for I am slippen!”

 

Abram Fred, sometimes he’s out

          And sometimes you find him missing

While J.C.T. is oft in doubt –

          I fancy J.C.T.’s gone kissing!

 

‘Tis whispered Tom is slippen too –

          He has in Wales located heaven

Let me give a tip to you –

          It strikes me I’m the We.R.7

 

Poems 16

                    The Crossing   (With apologies to William Wordsworth)

 

I wondered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills

With cape wrapped round me like a shroud

          I left the streets and setts and mills

And faced the wind and hills of Wales

To where the Irish Mail boat sails

 

Continuous as the stars that shine

          And twinkle on the Milky Way

The waves, in giant, restless line

          Broke heavily along the bay.

I went aboard with many a quail –

-“Twas going to be a fearsome sail!

 

The waves beneath us danced, but they

          Were easily outclassed by we

And many a man who first was gay

          In anguish gazed across the sea

Or feebly to the rail he clings,

And mutters strange, uncanny things.

 

And oft when in my bunk I lay

          In vacant or in pensive mood

I cared not were I washed away –

          And if I were left in solitude

Oh how I wished I’d stayed instead

  • In some landlubbers homely bed!

 

When dawn broke cold and dull and grey

          With light slow-gaining all the while

At last we calm and silent lay –

We’d reached the Emerald Isle

Now though my heart would fain forget

My mind o’er that night lingers yet

‘Twas  sure the roughest night I’d met

                                                                                July 1927

 

A Lament        (With apologies to Longfellow)

 

Lives of cyclists all remind us

          Though now on ‘singles’ you will find

Eventually She rides behind us

          Will She always ride behind?

 

When I scan my cycling brothers

          As they at the meet appear

Though I now find many others

          Some there are no longer here.

 

Happy faces I remember,

          Always out, whatever the ride

New Year’s Day till bleak December

          Morning’s dawn till eventide

 

Now they’re lost, and gone forever

          Gone and no more to retrace

Leaving spaces we can never

          In the hearts of us replace.

 

I wish them well – but would remind them

          Ere the marriage knot they bind

That, though now She rides behind them

          She won’t always ride behind!           (This poem appeared in the Bolton DA

CTC Supplement in December 1928)