The Sundance Kid

Leaving Sundance, Wyoming –
It’s where the Kid got his name
There’s a definite sense of
Heading home now
Of being called back
Returning

Exit 205 to Beulah –
Also a town in mid-Wales
Another reminder
A chat head pops up on my phone
How many tables needed for the Green Fayre in November?
I fire the information straight back

Welcome to South Dakota –
The Black Hills hang heavy to the north
A massive white teepee greets me
Gold Wings electroglide next to me
No sign of Rocky Racoon
Just roadkill skunks

Rest area tourist information –
I pick up my complimentary state map
The woman advises me which way to go
But when I get there I’m not looking at the scenery
I’m looking out for rocks on the road
Dislodged by last night’s rain

Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway –
I’m stuck behind two Polaris buggies
Filled with spades and maintenance gear
Thirty five miles per hour
A selection of waterfalls
No passing zones

Reminds me of Snowdonia –
Those twisty narrow roads
Claustrophobic
Cold
Wet
Even in summer

I grab a Clif Bar –
Sierra trail mix
Peanuts
Chocolate
Raisins to be cheerful
Part 3

I laugh at my own joke –
Laugh at the bikers putting on their waterproofs
Hairybikerstrictlycomebakeoffcountryfile
Feels like I’m driving through the back end of the tourist season
Lead-Deadwood High School
Welcome back students!

The autumn lull –
Fall’s faltering
A time to change the stock on shelves
Snow globes, gloves and winter gifts
Skiers and snowboarders are coming
A different crowd altogether

I drift into Deadwood –
The stagecoach departed years ago
Just gun shops galore
Mock wild west saloons
Whip cracking away
I’d like to stay a while but

I turn right for Mount Rushmore –
The road feels like it could be slippy
Greasy truckers
Boondocks fifties town is deserted
Stuck behind a pair of careful Corvettes
Forty five miles per hour

Experimental Forest Road –
I’d stop to take photographs but
The rain is washing us away
Feels like the land is purging itself of visitors
Turning its back on the summer
I connect up my iPod

Bobby Dylan sings –
Where have you been?
What did you see?
What did you hear?
Who did you meet?
And what’ll you do now?

Mt Rushmore –
Waste of time
Obscured by clouds
I put away my camera
The Sundance Kid is on the run
Returning home

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The Strimmer

He liked to start bottom left
in the graveyard where

Underneath Lies Interred
The Body of Bridget the widdow of the late
Richard Howell of ffynnon velen
Who died on the 14th March 1763
In the 76th year of her age.

His high speed plastic wires
Scythed through the buttercups and daisies
Sent ladybird legs flying and bees knees
Dislocating with decapitated heads.

THIS Plain stone is here erected
in memory of Phebe Phillips
the affectionate and beloved wife of James Phillips
of Blaentrafle of this parish
She died Aug 22, 1820. Aged 48 years.

In his haste to lay the wildness to waste
He never noticed the mouse tail detach
Or the painted lady lose her wings
Or even the woodlouse lose its house

Forgotten for a twelve month year.

There were two caved in tombs
Where creatures fled and hid
To hold paws over ears as the grim din approached
The shadow of the man darkening the sky
As he moved on up the bank.

IN LOVING MEMORY OF Rees
BELOVED HUSBAND OF MARY DARBY
WHO MET WITH A FATAL ACCIDENT
AT EMPIRE COLLIERY CWMCWRACH
FEB 18, 1949, AGED 43 YEARS
AT REST

He paused to wipe the summer sweat
With a handkerchief from his brow
The two stroke engine idled waiting
Whilst a robin fed on bits and bobs of shredded snacks.

Henry Bodyromb OF THE SMITHS ARMS
THY WILL BE DONE
Also Henry, son of the above
Aged 2 months

With a self-satisfied smile he had to admit
That it was beginning to look a whole lot neater
This patch of land that the living neglected
And parishioners remembered to forget.

“Affliction sore long time I bore
Physicians were in vain
Till God was ples’d my life to ease
And freed me from my pain”

With the dried grasses now levelled
And the gravestones splattered
The sun hung over his head.

But there under foot
Barely six feet down
The dead muttered complaints
Of deathly disapproval.

 

I was reminded of this poem – written in April 2017 – after reading ‘Slabs’
by my poetry friend DJB:
https://djbeaney.wordpress.com/2018/08/20/blog-ten-a-poem-slabs/

The Postcard Poet

I recently started a little side project using my travel and hiking photos. You can find them on Facebook and Twitter and occasionally here. Links below. Hope you like:

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Twitter: @ThePostcardPoet

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/postcardpoet/

InstaPoem – a silent contemplative walk through a Welsh village landscape.

I gallop like a horse
an odd sight I will admit
but the winter sun has warmed my spiritsPicMonkey Collage1past teasel heads and the old gate post
blue sky light
red dogwood stems all of a tangle
PicMonkey Collage2the winter garden rests
five tall poplars wear ivy leggings
green arrows point me south by southeast
PicMonkey Collage3to copper islands mapped out in lichens
where fungi sprouts from torn silage bail holesPicMonkey Collage4I come across a sheep stuck in wire fencing
released and thankful it contemplates me
but an empty belly needs fillingPicMonkey Collage5by the road some broken pink rubble
and graffiti in a bus shelter
taking care on the steep descent to the village below
PicMonkey Collage6
there is an upturned table in a front garden which makes for a sorry sight
as is this home wind power system
but the guardian at the door sits proud and alert
PicMonkey Collage7
some other words catch in my mane like drops of dew
Doombar and Pint
Grit and Salt
Sunday and Carvery
PicMonkey Collage8
the crossing by the school not in use
I wave to Santa waiting patiently down an alley
run my finger over carved inscriptions on tarred poles
PicMonkey Collage9
a familiar shadow greets me on the memorial
as my imaginary horse gallops off down the old railway tracks
frightened I think of the coming water jump
PicMonkey Collage10
and on to this field for budding heroes
or a blackbird cautiously walking the line
rolling without steam
PicMonkey Collage11
the people of the world communicate their anger and frustration
with love it seems
on public surfaces
PicMonkey Collage12
I hear the silent crack of a branch breaking in a storm
water flowing under an arch of trees
I open the gate here -> but the directions are just a joke
PicMonkey Collage13
here the dead miners sleep under coal black headstones
their old terrace houses have coal bunkers and outside toilets
my illusions momentarily shattered for no reason
PicMonkey Collage14
tractor tracks cross my narrow path
what I would give to unpadlock these blue doors and rummage inside
a red gate beckons its owner
PicMonkey Collage15
no more will the bell toll for the village
expanding red foam fungus escapes from a builder’s yard mess
carry me across the crumbling river bridge before we both break with age
PicMonkey Collage16
peep as we go through verdigris rust holes
down railway line supports
and on festive peeling paint colours
PicMonkey Collage17
galloping now the last stretch
a pleasant view some might think
like this starling in high wire silhouette
I come home to a sheepish welcome party

 

On Reaching Oxwich Bay: A Collaboration of Thoughts

This world is not worthy of me.
No, that’s not right,
that’s not what I had meant to say.
But you must have thought it?
…to have said it?
Yes.

I was wondering if people see things the way I do.
Those rock outcrops for example,
the way they break through the varied hues
of leafy greens.
You keep lifting your sunglasses from your eyes.
Why? Do you not trust the colours?

I was just checking that’s all.
The smell of gorse is overwhelming don’t you think?
Coconut and warm butter?
Sweet dessert wine perhaps?
I feel a need to stretch out on the warm sand.
The beach is too long, too beige.

You can’t be bothered, is that what you’re saying?
To get to the end?
Where the hotel interrupts the natural world
with the clatter of stainless cutlery
and the overfed whelps of day-trip visitors?
You could put it that way I guess.

The tide will wash away our footsteps.
Remember the burial chamber and lime kilns?
The stone ruins of Pennard Castle on the hill?
You wondered if Dylan Thomas had written about them.
I wondered did I see things in the same way.
As Thomas?

In a way.
It’s difficult to say.
Look, the cattle have followed us down The Pill.
It comes from the Welsh word ‘pwl’
meaning an inlet, harbour, or pool
like a creek or tidal inlet off a river or channel.

Very bucolic. A pastoral poem no less.
You know I should’ve said
I’m not worthy of this world.
A slip of the tongue?
My footsteps don’t fit with the past.
They will never add anything more.

Is that good or bad?
I don’t know. How am I supposed to know?
My words cannot compare to that stonechat’s song.
His voice and beauty overwhelms me,
throws me out to sea and drowns me.
Another passer-by will take my place in time.

Image result for stonechat

(After a weekend walk on South Gower, Wales between Southgate and Oxwich:
Collaboration of Thoughts is a conversation between myself and my inner voice
whilst following in the imagined footsteps of Dylan Thomas and all those who may
have passed that way before me and will pass in the future. Sunday was also International Dylan Thomas Day – the anniversary of the date when Under Milk
Wood was first read on stage at 92Y The Poetry Center, New York in 1953)

Notes from an Archaeological Dig

I remember it well
Humid heat after summer gales
The sweat that trickled and made us smell
Sea holly scratches, orchids, mare’s tails

August 1985…

The wind had cut through
Sallied across Kenfig Dunes
Exhuming on its way, as it flew
Forgotten bones now loosely strewn

With ancient, pursued lives

Bared knuckles, broken
Sand dusted toes, shattered
Exposed, cleaved skulls of men
Tibias, fibulas, mixed and scattered

Unknown children, hard worked wives

And in and out and interwoven
Seaweed ribbons, rib caged bars
Scuttle zones for lost crustaceans
Vertebrae for lookouts, sunny vistas

Where once a village may have thrived

We measured, sieved, elucidated
Wondered what landscape they had seen
What changes wreaked since long departed
Steel works, motorway, cars and vaccines

Like them, we’re still striving, in ways, to survive

Yes, I remember it well
Two uni students obsessing over old bones
Studying bodies, sharing warm white Zinfandel
Exploring the past and new-found erogenous zones

It’s all recorded in my own archive

Image result for kenfig dunes

(Sea Holly care of http://www.plantlife.org.uk/uk/our-work/conservation-projects/coastal/kenfig-glamorganshire)