Lost Voices

the Valley Welsh

and the Cockney Welsh

rarely mingle, except for holidays,

when they descend on our house

and turn me out from my bed

‘never mind, cheer up, ducks, ‘

says me Nan, sprinkling violets onto cotton,

tossing fresh laundered sheets in the air

 

the men have arguments around the table,

how they love to raise their voices,

though they all agree

if truth be told

 

”edoocation for edoocations sake”

they lecture me

‘come by here’

and ‘mind now’

storm in a teacup

‘look you boyo’

‘see now,’ telling tales of Tom-the-Milk

and Willie-One-Hair

 

me Da’s Mam puts her pinny on

but settles in an armchair

pouring luke warm tea,

‘no sugar mind,’ she says

her face is always serious

 

and now, here come the Cornish

like a blast of sea air

from a far horizon

they travel ‘up country’

unwillingly,

late as usual,

laid back

smiling,

all the way from God’s Own Country

”hello me ‘ansome, orlroight?

some weather we’m havin’,

i’d love a nice cuppa tae”

 

and then the laughter starts

and the voices gather

around the piano

to sing in harmony,

the Welsh with a lean to the minor key,

 while my father tickles the ivories,

‘there’s lovely’,

until the early hours

when me Pop says to me,

disappointingly,

with an eye on the clock,

”Time for bed me ol’ cock”

 

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