Poems 15

The Way of the We.R.7

 

Now Billy had a happy way

Of preaching to his flock each day

Touching on some pious lay

          Exhuding from his head:

Once when on a Sunday run,

          We named him, at set of sun

The Reverend Berry – just for fun

          He looked at us and said:-

 

“Dear beloved brethren,

          The text today will be;

A bird that in the arms doth rest,

           Is worth two in the tree:

So next time that you catch a bird

          Just take her to a leafy place

Remember well that, anyway

          You can always let her fly away

If you don’t like –  her face!”

 

Joe, he wooed a lovely maid

          Every evening in the shade

Meaning, I am much afraid

          To hide his curly head….

But when he proposed one night

Did it by electric light

Marion, who’d retained her sight

          Just looked at him and said:-

 

“Oh,  Mr  Johnstone

          It isn’t any good;

I wouldn’t like to marry you

          So I won’t pretend I should;

I know that you have curly hair

I know you can set the pace –

I haven’t a doubt that you must be

The properest possible match for me

          But I don’t like –  your ways!”

 

Tom, he wooed another maid –

          Used to sing and serenade

Neath her window oft he brayed

          While she lay abed

Then the question once he popped

On his bony knees he dropped

And when his yodelling he had stopped

          She glanced at him and said:-

 

“Oh Mr Idle

          I like you very well:

How I’d love to marry you

          I can never tell

Life for me in future years

Won’t be quite the same;

For to wed is my desire

And you’re the boy I most admire –

          But I don’t like your name!”

 

Yet another maiden bright

          Was wooed by Fred from morn till night;

He found in her his sole delight –

          Completely lost his head

And though it seemed of no avail

For oft his heart would in him fail

Atl last he told to her the tail

          At which she blushed  and said :-

 

“Oh Mr Marsh

          You have a winning way:

And though I hate to hurt you dear

I feel that I must say –

You know I love your cuddling

At the corner of the street:

But when sitting on your knees

          I feel as though I’m going to freeze –

For I cannot stand – cold feet!”

 

Once I rode for miles and miles,

Captured by a Welsh girl’s wiles

Basking in her sunny smiles

          Downhill did I tread:

Then one night when lights were low

With faltering heart and accents slow

I asked her if she – well you know…

          And this is what she said:-

 

“Oh Mr Chadwick

          I’m very fond of you

And it is with delight I hear

          That you love me too:

Every time you leave me dear,

          I want you more and more –

So we will build a little nest

And live our lives as we think best

          But tell me! Do you snore?”      

                                                            PS It is said that I snore  1926

 

                   

Poems 14

 

                              Memories        (fictitious)

 

I often let my fancy roam,

          And carry me once more

To those clear scenes so far from home

          Sweet Cambria’s mountain lore

Often by the firelight gleam

          When the day is done

I’ll sit for hours at once and dream

          Of hours that have gone

 

In memory now I’m climbing

          The Glyders rugged peak

Or, wandering on Eryri,

          Some wonder-view I seek:

I hear the breezes singing

          A welcome o’er Cwm Glas

Then as the day is fading west

          I trace some homeward pass.

 

How happy was the morning –

How happy were we three

When with our rope and rucksacks

          We clambered o’er the scree

That tussle on old Trifan

          I never can forget –

The fight by crevice, ledge and bluff

          The sternest rock I’ve met!

 

And now, friend Tom you’ve left us

          To climb some further height

We did not know that sublime day

          The horror of that night

When three go out a-climbing

          Yet only two return

How deep the dregs of sorrow then

          Are drunk from friendship’s urn!

 

And Fred, the mountains claimed you

          Old Lliwedd wond at last:

We three who oft together

          Unloaded dice had cast

We three were dauntless cragsmen

          How many a fight we’ve won!

But now….. I sit at whiles and think…

          ‘Now I’m the only one’!

 

Oh then how I desponded

          I neither feared nor cared;

I climbed the stoutest rock alone

          That no one else had dared

But still uncalled for fortune

          Kept watch and ward of me

And now I fear that life must hold

          Some other destiny.                           1925

 

The above poem seems to have been written, with sadness, with Charlie somehow trying to imagine what life would be like if his bosom friends  Tom and Fred expired on the mountains as in the note below, obviously some real life drama that put Charlie into thinking mode.  Charlie always fancied himself as a climber from a young age.  The following note, which seems to have had a real life background, must have left its mark!

Charlie’s Note:   They were three of the best known cragsmen on British mountains, and could always be found together at Easter and New Year time at such famed climbing houses as Wastdale Head in Lakeland, Pen-y-Gwryd or Ogwen Cottage in Snowdonia, whilst for summer climbing they invariably chose the difficult crags on Skye or the Grampians in Scotland.

Their peculiarity was their (one might say personal) attachment to Wales, and it was in Wales where ‘Tom’ met his untimely end in that  ‘death trap’, Twll Ddu, which they were climbing, not for the first time.  The other two continued their activitities until ‘Fred’, on a lonesome climb (a rare thing) slipped on the 1000ft face of Lliwedd above Llyn Llydaw, and was immediately killed.     ‘Frank’, the remaining member of the ill-fated trio, overburdened with grief, seemed to be tempting fate by climbing almost impossible rocks alone, and to the amazement of his friends came out of impossible positions unscathed, until at last, three years after ‘Fred’, the expected happened on the ‘Parson’s Nose’ on Snowden.     

 

 

 

Poems 13

 

                              On Your Chater            (tune Clementine)

 

On your Chater, of my Joseph

          When your’re skidding to and fro

Don’t you think your foolish Joseph

          Turning out in all this snow?

When the flakes are falling gently,

          With your nose a ruddy glow

Thomas I would like to ask you

          Why you ride in all this snow?

 

It is raining, oh my Joseph

          It is raining dismally,

Don’t you think you’re silly Joseph?

          Silly you, and silly me

Oh, its drizzling, Tommy darling

          Shall we blind it home to tea?

It were best that we should fly, dear

          Best for you, and best for me!

 

 

                        An October Run

 

I started in the morning when the dew was on the grass

And the eastern sky was tinted like a dome of burnished brass

A sweet October morning, when red and gold and brown

Was scattered o’er the countryside and on the rolling down

 

The road was still and quiet, and the world was quiet too,

The miles slid fast behind just as they are apt to do;

I came to quaint old Chester, a city fair to see,

And there I met my comrade who waited by the Dee.

 

We sped along to Hawarden, and Mold was soon behind

On mountain tracks we wandered – just to see what we could find

And climbed blunt Moel Famau, a hard but pleasant task

For give the fields and hills around – that is all we ask

 

The view there from the summit was spread o’er land and sea

From Snowden’s graceful peak it stretched – right to the silver Dee

Plinlimmon, Cader Idris, and Wrekin Shropshire way,

And far beneath – a patchwork quilt – the Vale of Clwyd lay

 

A fierce descent by the old Bwlch, down into Clwyd’s Vale

A lingering lane hard by the hills that hedge the this fertile dale

An uphill climb of beauty rare – who would not this proclaim

That Nant-y-Garth, exquisite, brief, is more than just a name?

 

The Crown Hotel, Llandegla way, a hospitable place –

A wash and lunch, a pleasant chat, then other paths to trace

Through that sweet glen, the Nant-y-Ffrith: Of all the ravines fair

In Cambria’s land there’s very few that can with this compare

 

 And so by rock and pleasant wood and Autumn-tinted moor

We reached the Park of Eaton Hall, a real beauty store;

And then by shady winding lanes again to Deva came –

Another place that one can say is more than ‘just a name’

 

A homeward ride at eventide, with sunset o’er the hills

With sky of deepening, darkening blue, all dressed in fleecy frills

And last the towns of Lancashire, then I can truly say,

Before we part: Once more friend Tom, we’ve had a glorious day.         1927

 

 

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