The mists, the mountains, cloud topped giants,
houses hung beneath the roads,
the mysteries of Cader Idris,
the bearded lake, Arthur’s stone,
a throne beside the glassy water
hollowed rock o’er grown with moss,
the leap of silvered salmon in the river,
the sheep, the lanes, the wayside markers
in the wall of wild flowers blooming,
by granite seat of ancient Bards,
where people gathered
hearing story roll from lips and memory.
All these things we saw together,
wandering in the wilderness of Wales
with my father, as a child.
The village streets where women gossiped,
the cobblestones and chimney pots
enchanted drifts of wood-smoked air
the clanging chime of book shop bell
as my father lead me to a gloomy room
walled with shelves.
Reaching up above my head
he handed me Dylan Thomas
a poet he had never read.
In bed that night a door swung open
with all the chimes of stream and meadow
louder than the bookshop bell
ringing out in word and image
words delicious in my mouth
the sounds, the shapes, the sensual pleasures
wrapped in beauty, thoughts profound,
laughter, love, the lowing cattle
driven home at eventide.
The orchards and the apple trees,
the night above that shines with stars.
The chapel choirs sang out across the valleys
voices raised in harmony and hymn,
the moaning echoes of the wind in grass
the sighing singing of the sea,
short lives lived
parading slowly to the grave.