Charlie’s Poems 7

The Ghost of Nant-y-Ffrith

 

Amidst wild Cambria’s mountains

          There is a quiet vale

Where scenes of sylvan splendour

          Can tempt one to regale;

But let all those who enter

          Leave ere twilight falls

Or he may see, despite his scorn

A fearful, hovering spectral form –

          His very heart enthrals.

 

A sounding in the forest

          Where thickest brambles grow

Is heard a heavy breathing

          Laborious and slow;

It chills one’s heart to hear it –

          It makes one tremble so –

To see that face so white and bent

Upon the blackberry bush intent

          In summer or in snow.

 

You’ll see that he is picking

          Blackberries by the score

He heeds not who is watching –

          He searches near the floor;

He eats them all, this ghost does

          For grubs he cares no more;

He’s happy, now, is ghostly Joe

That blackberries he’ll ever stow

          In his ever open door.

 

But watcher, take a warning,

          This shuddering spectre grim

Was once a living human,

Handsome, strong and slim:

His friends showed him the insect

          That shortened so his days

But Joe never took the helping snub

All he said was ‘sensible grub’

And kept on with his craze.

 

To all whose way leads through the glen,     

          I’d warn them not to linger

If they do they’ll surely feel

          That chilly, ghostly finger

Inviting them to taste the fruit

          Grown in this quiet vale:

But don’t do so, or you’ll join Joe

To help him run his gruesome show

          For ever in the dale.

                                                                                September 1925

 

Charlie’s Poems 6

Blackberry Joe                        6 Poems written about Blackberry Joe

 

Beneath a bright September sun

          On a sweet September day

The morning dew was falling

          And all the world seemed gay;

A happy cycling party

          Towards the hills did steer –

We little dream’t the tragedy

          That loomed so near.

 

We stormed blunt Moel Famau

By rough, hard-going ways

With golden gorse and bracken

          The moorlands were ablaze;

The view there from the summit

          Did amply repay

Every dull and listless mile

          We rode that day.

 

After many wild adventures

          On slippery, skiddy grass

We crossed the Vale of Clwyd

          And through the wooded pass

Of Nant-y-Garth did travel

          To moorlands brown and red

(Dear Reader pause, and shed a tear

          For Joe……..He’s dead!)

 

Twas in the Pass of Nant-y-Ffrith,

          That wooded deep cut dale

That bites into the moorlands

          ‘Mid scenes that never stale

There in great profusion

          Grew the ghastly things

That to all thoughtless gluttons

          A sudden demise brings.

 

I falter as I tell you –

          My eyes start growing dim

I stand transfixed in terror

          Of the things that poisoned him

Poor Joe! This was his heaven –

He could not stand and wait

But rushed towards the bushes

          That held the tempting bait.

 

We tried our best to stay him –

          We pleaded hard to Joe

But he was fascinated –

          He would not let them go:

The big black shining berries

          That held the fatal grub

Went down the way they always do

          To fill his copious tub.

 

At length our Joe desisted,

          His face was deathly pale,

He fell into a stupor

In that peaceful vale

His great big baby eyes,

          Were bursting from his head…

He shuddered then lay strangely quiet,

          Poor Joe……He’s dead!

 

One day in sweet September,

          The sun was in the west,

With tear dimmed eyes we slowly laid

Our Joe to rest

And then carved his epitaph

That other ones might know

And take a timely warning

          From Blackberry Joe 

 

Alleged Epitaph on Supposed grave of ‘Blackberry Joe’

 

Reader pause and shed ye teare

Upon ye dust that crumbles here

And as thou readeth think of me

And shun ye blasted blackberry tree

 

          

Charlie’s Poems 5

The Vale of Ffestiniog

 

There’s a town above a river

There’s a vale where pine tree tops quiver

When the winter breezes shiver

                              In the Vale of Maentwrog.

 

See the creamy waters curling

Down the ravine, swiftly swirling

O’er the dripping rocks go hurling

                              To the Vale of Maentwrog.

 

Mountains to the sky ascending,

With the sky in the distance blending,

Steep brown roads from moors descending

                              Winding to Ffestiniog

 

Distant sea in sunset glamour;

Slowly dies the quarries clamour

Ringing pick and noisy hammer

                              Blaenau Ffestiniog

 

Mountain mists come slowly veiling;

In silken folds the day is failing

Twilight hillsides gently pale-ing

                              O’er the Vale of Maentwrog

 

Moonbeams slant across the river

Where the mountains stand for ever

In the Vale where pine tree tops quiver

When the winter breezes shiver

                              In the Vale of Maentwrog.

January 1926

 

Charlie’s Poems 4

                    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.

                                                                                          June 1925

Charlie’s Poems 3

 

An Appreciation

 

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.

                                                                      May 1926

 

 

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.

                                                                                       August 1924