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)


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.