Poems 30

Letter to a friend and wife in Oslo who wrote to us in rhyme.


The Reply


Our Dear Friends

With great delight I start to write

(How better could I pass a night)

And take my pen in cosy den

Fast shut from Winter’s shivering ken

My sole desire beside the fire

Close by me all I might require.


My laggard mind has words to find

And in the spell of ink to bind

Then sealed and true, across the blue

I send my captured thoughts to you

Soviq – Sigurd – what magic heard

What dreams of Norsemen in the word

What visions limm of Vikings grim.


What ancient tales of romance brim

What childhood thrill is with us still

What mighty feats of warlike skill

They held in thrall the Celt, the Gaul

They were the scourges of them all

And long ago the Viking prow

Filled all the coasts with fear and woe.


Now what remains but just the names

To fit our pictures into frames

A memory stored in Fell and Fiord

And Thwaite and Solviq and Sigurd!

You have the skill you have the will

You have the Viking spirit still

Your ships still rove by creek or cove

The sea is still your greatest love


How happy we who feel to be still

Part of that great family

And one dark year a message clear

(flashed round your land)


Although so far away you are

Our deepest thoughts we still can share

And should you be in our country

Then what a merry company!


The Winters Tale would never stale

Nor burden us the icy gale

Perhaps within an English Inn

Our understandings could begin.

A lighter vein would be our strain

And perfect accord our refrain

While English ale could scarcely fail

To send us stumbling down the scale

Then home we’d wend with wavering trend

Discussing how to make amend

To wives who wait in furious state

Our very hearts to devastate

How much more wise to harmonise

Beneath those wives’ approving eyes

And when we’ve nursed our precious thirst

To quench with coffee at the worst –

How happy then in sober den

To be acclaimed quite perfect men.


That could not be, for such as we

are weaker far than wives could be.

So now I may close down my lay,

And write you in the normal way

The strain is hard to be a bard

Solviq, good-day, Good day,Siqurd               Margaret and Charles.   March 1955


Poems 29

                                        I Know!

 Now creeps the autumn of my years

Concedes a lavering of the gears

And pace that once I’d reckon slow

          I Know  –  I Know

          And yet I can’t let go!


There’s still the magic of the Springs

And still the spirit blithely sings

What then if mileage works out low?

          I Know  –  I Know

          But I cannot let it go!


I learn to watch with picture clear

The changing seasons of the year

I mark the timeless ebb and flow

          I Know  –  I Know

          And will not let it go!


The little things I used to miss

Now hold my undiluted bliss

With time enough to watch things grow

          I Know  –  I Know

          And this I can’t let go!


And be the seasons white or green

Or all the variants in between

With rain or sun, or freeze or blow

          I Know  –  I Know

          I never shall let go!                              July 1954


Poems 28


 A snack bar in Glynceiriog

          And tar o’er Wrynose Pass

A five bob thrill down Gaping Ghyll

          What have we next, alas!


I saw a car on Hard Kott

          Heard radio in Cwm Glas

The army drills on the Cheviot Hills

          What follows next, alas!


A lime-works spreads in Edale

          And powders white the grass

There’s an oily reach all round our beach

Where creeps it next, alas!


They’re damming up Glen Affric

          Glen Ericht and Strath Glass

Festoons of wire to rouse our ire

          Where goes it next, alas!


They’ll pollute all our rivers

          They’ll tarmac every Pass

They’ll put hotels on all our fells

          And all we say’s, alas!


With new lakes all around Snowden

          And chara-bancs en masse

Our rights to prove, we’ve just one more –

          To emigrate – alas!

During a weekend in the Berwyns  Oct 1952


                     The End

 There isn’t a possible doubt

          A fact I needn’t commend

A truth nobody can flout –

          A beginning must have an end.


No matter the name of a thing

          No matter the form, my friend

What pleasure our efforts may bring

Is what we must judge in the end.


It began, this work of a few

          All points of view to blend

But lack of assistance from You

          Has precipitated The End.         Jan.1953 – for the final issue

of the Chester D.A. Magazine ‘Awheel’.


Poems 27

Re – Union


Now “We.R,7”, once again

I claim your kind attention,

And suit your mood unto my strain

Another meet I’ll mention.


Another day to set apart,

          Another time of meeting

Another rendezvous to start

          Another annual greeting.


Another afternoon of talk

          Another tale unravel

Of how we ride, or how we walk

          Another year of travel.


We know not if we’ll meet again

          Or if we’ll all be present;

So let’s each other greet again

          An make that greeting pleasant!


Another more, another less,

          Another, yet another

And none of us next year can guess

          If there will be no other!                       Autumn 1950


The  Gossip


And now this winter’s eve we sit

  • And shiver by the embers low

And wonder why I do not quit

          Except, except I’ve nowhere else to go.


While e’en next door an elder lady sits

          Guarding the stairs, the stairs that lead to bed

While we, to pass, puzzle our poor wits

For fear of all, of all she’s not yet said.


Friday’s rain in rapid torrents poured

          Yet not, yet not so rapid as the lady’s tale

Released as from some miser’s ample hoard

          Descending on our shoulders, on our shoulders frail.


Tomorrow well may weather fiends conspire

          To bar the path, the path that leads away

Yet with what joy we’ll face what will transpire

          To where there’s nothing more to say!          Much Wenlock Easter 1951