HARLECH CASTLE

stones speak in lost tongues
to sheep grazing by the wall
clouds gather laughing

voices of dead kings
echo off cloud shrouded hills
she whispers in dreams

a November wind
cuts deeply across the keep
distant hills crying

slash of claymore
glinting in the morning sun
bird with wings unfolded

moss encrusted stones
remember long past ages
sun smiles knowingly

distant bay waters
stare lovingly at the stones
winter wind grasps me

echoes of the pipes
reverberate in mourning
village awakens

a lone sailboat
floats aimlessly in the bay
dead kings laugh aloud

winter wind whispers
fingers touching ancient stones
laughter of a gull

her smile reaches out
across the expansive sea
King Edward approves

sheep dot the hillside
in the great castle’s shadow
slowly munching grass

ever fragile moss
dances on November winds
remembering once

CASTLE HARLECH

High on the battlements
of Castle Harlech
the winter wind cuts through me
like scythes slashing the grasses
in the meadows that roll out
toward the distant, mute hills.
The plaintive cry of bowmen
whose bones are dust taken
deep into the Welsh soil
are whispers lost in the wing sweep
of the circling starlings.
I turn to the moss crusted stones
and beg them to tell
of all they have seen
but they sit silent, defiant.
It is only the occasional
bleat of the sheep, grazing
in the ill sheltered keep
that sounds in answer.
Ask us, they say, we have
many tales to tell
but the screech of the lone gull
begs them be silent.
In the dining room of the Plas Café
stealing warmth from the coal fire
I am the sentinel, ever watchful
over the sleeping sea.

LLANYSTUMDWY

The small church is tucked
alongside the narrow road,
its moss encrusted stones
bathed in the November sun.

The headstones in the churchyard
lean askew, sagging under
the weight of time.

The weeds sprout up
answering to a silent call.
We are here, they seem to say,
to reclaim our own,
and we shall do it
in our own time,
in our own way.

The sounds
of the rushing waters
of the bloated Dwyfor river
blanket those whose memories
fade from the stone monoliths.

The yew, trunk overgrown
with ivy, stands a sentinel
between those gone and the sheep
grazing the soccer field.
The church is silent, stolid
existing in that middle world
between indifference and ruin.

Back in the house, the cat
curls in the overstuffed chair
preening her paws and haunches.

FALLING IN LOVE, WALES

I

I fell deeply in love with her, I
standing in a small jewelers shop
in Bangor Wales on a November morning.
In truth, cradling a small silver
Celtic cross in my hands
I knew then that I,
taken that plunge
within moments of our meeting
and recognition was all that remained.
II

We poets stood around the kitchen
slicing vegetables and words,
laughing at everything and nothing
and occasionally peering out
the small back window
across the yard onto the now
no longer distant sea.
III

In the sofa in the library
I wrote words that seemed
almost alien to my hand,
pulled by her smile, now
3,300 miles distant, under
the watchful eye
of the large orange tabby
whose gentle claw edited
my hyperbole.
IV

We wrote haiku
walking the ramparts
of Castell Cricieth
on a dank chill morning,
staring down jealously
at the tea house
in the village below.
V

Lumsden drove out
from London to do a reading,
opted to stay on
a day, laughing as we,
in turn, drew the knives
across the whetsone
prepared the food for

the impatient, smiling cook
and the wine flowed
into the evening meal.
VI

Down by the Afon Dwyfer,
at the end of the path
to his old house,
Sir David listened
from beneath his headstone
and had no arguments
to dissuade me.

VII

On the train back
to Manchester I searched
for the words to tell her
how I felt.
Picking up the phone
words failed me
but she heard my heart
through the silence.

 

BUDDHA IN WALES

Sitting cross legged

I dance between mindfulness

and Samadhi,

slipping the unmarked boundary

until engulfed by the void.

Buddha crawls into my lap

an utter stillness until

she touches my cheek

with sand paper tongue

and kneads my chest

with rhythmic paws.

I run my fingers

down her spine.

We purr, wedded

in perfect enlightenment.