Ffald-y-Brenin

Getting lost on the way was part of the fun.
Singing along to Queen at the tops of our lungs,
in the back of Hannah’s car
on that dark country lane at night;
that’s the stuff,
that memories are made of.

Out there, where the chill in the air and the tingle of being alive,
were just a part of the wonder,
the starkness of the cross on that hillside,
framed against the ice-blue winter sky,
united us all.
Hope burst over the hills in a morning blaze of blood and gold,
Liz and I watched, awestruck;
silent companions,
in the presence of His glory.

The cosy comfort of sitting together talking, singing, praying
was deliciously new with each other.
The smell of the sea in January
and the slapping of bare feet on freezing sand,
twinned with the slamming of hands at Irish snap,
and helpless giggles at midnight.

The contemplative quiet of the fireside lent itself
to observing the gentle beauty of rain
on the window-sills.

The joy that flowed in those few days was as
a foretaste of heaven.
The sudden wisdom
of my friends,
gave out a fleeting glimpse –
a sunbeam-illumination –
of Glory Divine.

It is true, of course,
that we are broken clay vessels for His Living Water;
yet to us He so freely gives.

In the Sheepfold of the King,
There was joy, laughter, fun;
Military graces, the prayer cave,
Boys’ banter, girls’ chatter,
Singing, stillness, love – and yet –

A deep awareness in us,
a new song to sing,
Of the One who rescued us from death,
to glorify Him.

Home – A haibun

Bare branches stand still, upright sentinels, not stirred by even the vaguest breath of wind. Hints of winter sunset are already making the clouded horizon dim above the red church that sits at the bottom of my garden.

bright red church
painted to stand out, a sore thumb
with its automated bells

Decorated with last autumn’s leaves, with garden chairs and my little’s sister’s climbing frame, with our flame-licked iron brazier which we light on occasion to toast marshmallows outside, our garden sits, awaiting spring’s kinder breath to bring much-needed change, to bring new life.

I find quiet here,
time for contemplation
in my busy world

I remember a few winters back – quite a few – being out with my dad in the back garden, splitting logs to burn on the fire. Noel had given us the tree that fell down in his back garden, and we were cutting logs for the logpile.
Dad told me to be careful with the axe. Swinging it overhead and bringing it straight down into the wood was a strange kind of fun. But you had to watch it if you didn’t want to cut your own foot off too.

you have to be alert,
always watching and waiting for
where you must go next

We will leave here soon. This military quarter has been a stopping place for us all, no more than that. It will hurt to make a clean break with the past, but we will be attentive, and will keep our own two feet to stand on.

Home is not here. It is what seems the same, yet is ever-changing – where family is.

Three words: I love you
so simple, so resonant
a safety blanket,

an invitation,
speak anything you will here
you are safe with me.

(un)spoiled

I can never get enough of the way the wind blows over the mountain side,
And the flicker and flame of autumn leaves all burnished up to die,
The white-wisp-waves of a curling mist that sweeps in from the sea,
Even ice cold rain that lashes down – that is a delight to me.

To hear the rain on the windowpane while you’re snug and warm indoors,
Lost in an enchanting paper world of love and knights and more,
While you glance up at times to see outside the hills beyond the rain,
Smiling as you think to yourself, it will be spring again.

From lonely mountain crag echoes to me the wild’s call,
From the soul of a fire’s dancing flames and its shadows on the wall,
The roaring sound of an angry sea it beckons me once more,
‘Come taste the sea salt spray again; live as you did before.’

But alas! I walk in foreign lands, among diesel and petrol fumes
My mother tongue lies still in my mouth, useless now to use,
My restless mind is dull and numb; my heart it longs to be
Where the horns and blare of a city’s care can no more impact me.

I miss the sound of the breeze that ruffles the flowers’ pretty heads,
I miss the sound of voices I know, I miss my own soft bed!
But as I stay awhile here I find all that’s familiar to me,
Is a treasure I now clearly see should greatly esteemed be.

When I return from foreign lands where pollution chokes the air;
I’ll walk instead of driving now, and I’ll recycle, I swear!
For the beauty of my native land and all other lands I’ve seen,
All the blue-hued summer skies and the fields of green:

I could not live without it; I would die, and so would you;
When all that’s fresh and beautiful and rainwashed bright and new,
Is dead on the ground and buried in trash in a concrete-iron hell,
While we slowly choke on the befouled air that sounds our own death knell.