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Star of Pembrokeshire Poetry Anthology

Explore your Relationship with Pembrokeshire

 

"Mae gan y ddaear swigod, fel y mae'r dŵr, ac mae'r rhain ohonynt"
"The earth hath bubbles, as the water has, and these are of them"
Shakespeare, Macbeth

 

Love Pembrokeshire?
Anthology of Poems with a Pembrokeshire theme published online free of charge by Tenby Publishers.
Copyright remains with Author to whom any enquires should be made (via imbedded email link).

(Publisher's note: This anthology contains hyperlinks to facilitate navigation betweeen the index and poems)

 

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Before the Millennium by Sion Pysgod

Tenby by Avis Nixon

Springtime Yellow by Avis Nixon

Brother Thomas in Tenby by Avis Nixon

Box Wood by Avis Nixon

Whitsunday Worship on Pencaer 1998 by Jan Kinrade

When the Prarie meets Preseli by Beverly Moore

Colours by Pat Shannon

Summer Gale by Pat Shannon

Seasons by Pat Shannon

Rhiannon by Gareth Davies

For the Giver of Night by Gareth Davies

Follow Me by Gareth Davies

Pembrokeshire by Eleanor Parsons

Pembrokeshire Coastal Path by Eleanor Parsons

Old Man Giltar by Stuart Adams

A day on Tenby's South Beach by Stuart Adams

Atlantic Gust by Stuart Adams

The turn of the pedal by Stuart Adams

A Moment of Summer by Richard Owen Powell

 

 

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Before the Millennium

by

Sion Pysgod

(The story behind why some of Tenby's streets, within the Town Walls, have in recent times been well and truly cobbled)

In the fifteenth century

Dick Whittington went to London

Because he believed that

The streets were paved with gold

 

In the twentieth century

The powers that be believed

That people would come to Tenby

If the streets were paved with cobbles

 

Now how did they know

That cobbles would have this potent power

Oh what inspiration made this alchemy possible

That manufactured rectangular cobbles

Would have the power of fool's gold

Over the mind of the ubiquitous tourist

 

Well I know the answer

Because I seen it in the Tenby Observer

They hired a firm of City of London experts

Who in exchange for a load of public money

Told them that people come to Pembrokeshire

Because they like the environment

 

So armed with their knowledge

The powers that be started to learn

And made up a story

That they would create

An enhanced environment

Better than anything that nature

Or our ancestors could do

It would be perfection for it would be

Of the mind of the powers that be

 

In the nineteenth century

Our ancestors enhanced our environment

By building the Royal Victoria Pier

 

In the twentieth century

We demolished it and created

The virtual world of the powers that be.

 

 

 

Tenby

by

Avis Nixon

(Tenby-born Avis Nixon, author of A Tenby Lifeboat Family, is the sixth daughter of Tenby Lifeboatman the late Alfred Cottam who was Mechanic of the Tenby Lifeboat from 1933 to 1948 and in 1938 awarded the RNLI's Bronze Medal for his part in Tenby Lifeboat's legendary rescue of the crew of the SS Fermanagh.)

Tenby my Tenby

Jewel in Welsh crown

Your beauty has brought you

Great renown

 

Even in wartime

Your loveliness shone bright

Bringing to your townsfolk

Peace and respite

 

Many towns more prosperous

Couldn't hold a light

To your wondrous splendour

On a summer night

 

As a child my playgroud

Was your golden sand

Oblivious to poverty

My surroundings were so grand

 

Although fate was to take me

On journeys far and wide

Nowhere could replace the part

That you hold in my heart.

 

 

 

Springtime Yellow

by

Avis Nixon

(Tenby is famous for its very own daffodil - the daffodil being the national flower of Wales which blooms in the spring - naturally it is commonly known as the Tenby Daffodil)

Yellow are my Springtime days

Yellow in so many ways

Yellow my sweet Primrose head

As it peeps from its green bed

Yellow the Welsh Daffodil

Blooming o'er the vale and hill

 

Yellow sunshine filters through

Glistens on the morning dew

Little Aconites appear

Welcoming a New Year

Gorse so golden guards the wood

Snapdragon nod their yellow hood

 

Changing seasons

Cold or mellow

None I love as

Springtime yellow.

 

 

 

  

 

Brother Thomas in Tenby

by

Avis Nixon

 (Brother Thomas was the Steward of the monastery on Caldey Island and a well-known local character of yesteryear. He died in 1967 and to his memory a public garden, off Crackwell Street and overlooking Tenby Harbour, was donated to Tenby by Tenby Rotary Club and the Friends of Tenby in 1968. Caldey Island is a favourite day trip for tourists with boats making regular sailings from Tenby Harbour)

 Brother Thomas walked the streets

Leather sandals on bare feet

Brother Thomas sailed to town

Wearing his long brown gown

 

On his arm he had a sack

To carry all his produce back

In his pocket he'd no money

For morrow's meat, he paid honey

 

Gentle giant with a smile

Only stayed a little while

Only spoke to but a few

But loved us all, as we knew

 

After bartering he would sail

Back to Caldey with the mail

Spokesman for the monastery

Long gone, but not forgotten.

 

 

 

Box Wood

by

Avis Nixon

(Box Wood is situated on the north-western boundary of Tenby with the railway line skirting its northern side. Here the poet, who was born and lived in Broadwell Hayes, as a child would frequently play with her five sisters and brother together with their friends. In late spring and early summer, around May time, the woodlands of Pembrokeshire are carpeted with Bluebells)

In Box Wood I stood

Amid a carpet blue

Of tiny Bluebells sparkling

In the morning dew

 

The gracious woodland trees

Bowed down to greet

Nature's wonder at their feet

 

The Butterflies and Bees

Danced from 'bell to 'bell

And took their fill

From their pollen wells

 

As privileged are we

To see such wonder free

To ease our care and toil

On this our homeland soil.

   

 

 

Whitsunday Worship on Pencaer 1998

by

Jan Kinrade

("We come every year - twice if possible to this wonderful area. The poem was written from the heart and expresses in a small way my love for Pembrokeshire." Pencaer is a peninsula on the north Pembrokeshire coast, to the north-west of Fishguard, probably best known to tourists for the Strumble Head Lighthouse Station)

Far far away upon the eye

Lie headlands indigo against the sky.

 

Ten thousand stars escape the night

And laze on lap of azure sea

To start and dazzle sight

Grown bleary with the dreary grey

Of motorway and day on weary day of city life.

 

Wavelengths' whispering wash upon the rocks

Tune in with skylarks' circling song

And low amid the murmuring mead

Soft summer's measure strums the air along.

 

Bluebell and buttery gorse, white campion and sea pink

Blur with subtle beauty time's hard edge;

While noon set sun releases from this spicy stir

And rose-strewn wind-bowed hedge

A scent so sweet it heightens senses

Swirled beyond the reach of word or world.

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

When the Prairie meets Preseli

by

Beverly Moore

(About three years ago I discovered (through a redirected e-mail) that I had a 'transatlantic twin.' We both work for the same Company and share the same name, 'Bev Moore.' James Beverley Moore lives in your Neyland, I live in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We have become very close friends and subsequently I have been to Wales twice for a visit in the past year [1999] and hope to return soon. In addition to sharing names we both love writing and poetry. Before I ever met J Bev personally I sent this little ballad to him and thought I'd share it with you. At any rate, I made it to the mountains of Preseli and, in fact, was in Tenby in January. I love your Pembrokeshire and its people. I hope to return soon)

 

If I should send myself to you,

I'd wear a gown of prairie-sky blue,

And I'd bring along a tale or two,

And whatever would you do sir?

Whatever would you do?

 

Oh, I'd be waiting in the mist,

To welcome you with one sweet kiss,

I'd hear your tales, 'cause you'd insist!

And where would we go from there girl?

Where would we go from there?

 

We'd first climb down from Preseli,

To walk along the stormy sea,

And I'd ask why you gazed at me?

And then what would you say, sir?

What would you ever say?

 

I'd smile at you in your blue gown,

And say, I'm happy I have found,

A caring soul who loves me sound,

And ask you is that true, girl?

Tell me is that true?

 

And I'd tell you what you longed to hear,

Our love is strong, though we're not near,

But there's all kinds of love I fear,

And where would you take me then, sir?

Where would you take me then?

 

I'd take you back to Preseli,

And lay you down on a fine Bluestone,

What better place might there be,

To claim you for my very own?

 

 

Colours

by

Pat Shannon

("I live in Shropshire and my husband and I have been visiting Pembrokeshire for many years walking the coast path, and have a great love for the county. I have several prints and paintings by the Pembrokeshire artist Simon Swinfield, and his paintings, which really capture the atmosphere of Pembrokeshire, have had an influence on my writing, particularly the poem "Colours" which follows." The entire length of the Pembrokeshire coastline can be walked via a long distance footpath which is maintained by the Pembrokeshire Coast National park.)

A land of blues:

The blue-green of the distant deeps

Meeting a cornflower sky;

A woodland tide of bluebells;

Cropped turf studded with the pale blue squill;

Translucent wavelets smoothing Marloes sands.

 

A land of whites:

The startling white of the gannet's wings

Piercing foam-crested waves;

The creamy fur of autumn seal pups;

Pungent garlic in the damp Gwaun valley;

A froth of meadowsweet along the streams.

 

A land of pinks:

The girlie-pink, frilled heads of thrift;

Pale pouting lips of orchids;

Campion and ragged robin;

Carmine foxgloves in the lush spring verges;

October sunsets' garish lipstick sheen.

 

A land of greys:

Mottled grey, gleaming seals

Mimicking their rocky haulouts;

Cold metallic seas

Pounding grey shingle beaches;

The blurring vapours of the creeping fog.

 

A land of yellows:

Cliff-top banks of saffron gorse

Framing the tawny sands;

Pale lemon stars of primroses;

Flagrant yellow iris fronting the reed beds;

The golden light that strokes the afternoon.

 

A land of purples:

The honey-scented, profligate heather;

Purple brush-head thistles;

Foel Drygarn's distant violet smudge;

Tumbled purple sandstone pebbles;

The evening lilac-wash of summer skies.

 

 

 

Summer Gale

by

Pat Shannon

("This poem was written in July of this year [2001] when we walked around Saint Ann's Head in the teeth of a gale and watched four tugs trying to tow a cargo ship into the safety of the Milford Haven Waterway." The Milford Haven Waterway is home to oil refineries and the fishing port of Milford Haven itself with its fish market, so besides the numerous tourist craft of yachts and leisure craft, there are to be observed off the Pembrokeshire coast fishing vessels and oil tankers of all shapes and sizes, from supertankers filled with Arabian crude to small coasters delivering to your locality the petrol you daily use in your car. Also to be observed on the Milford Haven Waterway is the large white Irish ferry with its terminal at Pembroke Dock, there is also an Irish ferry service at Fishguard in the north of the county.)

Wind and wave rule the coast

And living things bend in obeisance.

Wheat and barley flow across the fields

In hissing tides.

Grounded bees

Crawl between the prostrate grass blades

Or hug the globes of clover

In a desperate embrace.

Stunted trees,

Sculpted in a grotesque topiary

Endure the brunt of the wind.

Emerging from the hedge bank's lee

We lean against a wall of air

To watch the wary sheepdog tugs

Harry their helpless charge into the haven.

As the gale thrums its triumph in the cables

Only the birds challenge its reign.

Gannets carve the wave troughs

With black-tipped, knifeblade wings.

Fulmar, gull and raven

Ride the arbitrary squalls defiantly,

Pitting fragile bone and feather

Against the gale's authority.

 

 

 

Seasons

by

Pat Shannon

(Although most people visit Pembrokeshire in the summer months, short-breaks and weekends throughout the year are also popular.)

Wind-whipped waves

Stinging sand

Wind-flung clouds

Flower-strewn land.

 

Sun-baked path

Sun-bleached sky

Sun-dried grass

Sun-dazed eye.

 

Clinging mist

Shrouded light

Dripping rock

Baffled sight.

 

Storm-tossed gulls

Thrashed trees

Scouring gales

Crashing seas.

 

 

 

Rhiannon

by

Gareth Davies

(I was born and raised in Pembrokeshire, living and working in St.Davids. My father is a carpenter and boatbuilder and so I grew up around the sea and the rugged coastline between St.Davids Head and St. Brides bay. My first jobs included crewing for the local boatmen, lobster fishing and being a tourist guide, introducing passengers to the local islands, birdlife and coastline)

She's fire in the afterglow

Rising on the spray

Buried in the undertow

And woven in the waves

 

She's wind, which echoes old and low

Rippling out across the bay

She follows where the voices go

Of whispered words and yesterdays

 

In language only water knows

She lullaby's the deep

A softly singing sadness falls

For ancient sorrows there asleep

 

But something stirs the black below

Something moves and slowly wakes

Rhiannon rises as she goes

Mountains tremble at her gates

 

She travels in a cloak of foam

Water whitens in her wake

And bare beneath her flowing gown

Granite glistens

Oceans break

 

For the Giver of Night

by

Gareth Davies

(I now live in Cheshire, where I manage day services for older people and also enjoy performing poetry working mainly in Manchester, Cheshire and the North-West)

For the giver of night

For the weaver of shadows

And sundown threaded with fire

For the bringer of dreams

He who draws down the dusk

And rolls the stars out

He who courts only the moon

And the moon rises ...

Or she sleeps

 

She has the night and the day

And a following of oceans

And every eye that saw her

Still he calls her

With clusters of diamonds on velvet

Tree mists, and the silence of stars

 

And here

In the company of secrets

And fools

And seekers of forever

And in the company of this fool

He dances

 

Follow Me

by

Gareth Davies

(My website, www.sunbard.com (Poetry Seen and Heard) is a multimedia presentation using images with the written and spoken word, sound effects and music. I have always been inspired by the coastline and the history and the people of Pembrokeshire and have sought to convey the magic and the beauty of the places I know through poetry and photography)

Follow me down to my secret garden

On summer night journeys travel with me

Lie with me here and forget about morning

Dreaming awake

We'll walk to the shi

 

This body blessed by the breathing of stars

By the wind against bareness of skin

I want you with me to watch the beginning

Hearing the water

Calling us in

(Poet's note: Shi is an Irish word (sometimes rendered Sidhe) which loosely means the other-world or place of eternal youth. In the Irish myths (many compiled and retold by James Stephens, Irish Fairy Tales 1924) it was sometimes a place and sometimes a state of being. It has many similarities to the Welsh concept of Annwn, which may have been more appropriate to Pembrokeshire. In fact the Old Welsh referred to Pembrokeshire as Annwn (the other-world) as it was at one time so wild and difficult to negotiate except by sea)

 

Pembrokeshire

by

Eleanor Parsons

(I have just read the book A Tenby Lifeboat Family by Avis Nixon and I found it very interesting due to the fact my uncle and his sons are mentioned in it. My uncle was Thomas Richards and four of his sons were also Tenby lifeboatmen. At the back of the book it says if anyone would like to write a poem with Pembrokeshire in mind so I wrote one. My name was Eleanor Bunt and I was from Pembroke Dock.)

The wild birds fly around in flocks
Because they are so free
And later settle on the rocks
While you watch quietly
While you're sitting on the sand
The sun is high up in the sky
The sea is oh so blue
The coastline of Pembrokeshire
Its beauty will remain
Everyone who visits
Will come back again.

 

Pembrokeshire Coastal Path

by

Eleanor Parsons

(The long-distance Pembrokeshire Coastal Path runs the entire length of the Pembrokeshire coastline and is 186 miles long. Some spend a couple of weeks walking its entire length, others take it a section at a time over a period of years, many just stick to their favourite bits. As referenced in Eleanor's poem the summer of 2005 was notable for the large pods of literally thousands of dolphins which appeared off the coastline. A popular location for observing porpoises, sharks and whales being on the coastal path at Strumble Head. The coastal path is maintained by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park authority and at the last count there were 255 stiles!)

There is only one thing
This verse can explain
It's the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path
After the rain!
So many gates, so many stiles
You can walk or stroll
Mile after mile ...
The air is pure
The grass is green
The sea is calm
It's like a dream!
Even the dolphins in 2005
Have come up the coast
From thousands of miles ...
Whether it's sunshine
Or whether it's rain
The Pembrokeshire Coastal Path
Will remain the same!

 

Old Man Giltar

by

Stuart Adams

(From Tenby's seafront Esplanade we see a panorama: to the west Giltar Point, veering around to the south first Saint Margaret's Island then the much larger and inhabited Caldey Island, then eastwards on the horizon the Gower Peninsula then back to Tenby and Saint Catherine's Island and Castle Hill. The poem reflects the astonishment of locals at Tenby's ever-changing face yet some things, such as the panorama from the Esplanade, are timeless.)

Out there on the outcrop
With rugged moss covered face
He sits on timeless watch
Undisturbed by life's hectic pace

As the sun climbs above a distant friend
Who he'd always longed to play
But only his shadow dare grace to do
Much later in the eve of day

Through time this old man stands witness
Of all that he's seen come and go
Lives made as lives waste
As Caldey watches on

With rugged rock of Catherine standing proud
Looking over Castle Beach's golden sand
Those two together
Guards of their proud land

Old man Giltar
Stand with me and tell your tale
As the wind and sea constantly break on you
In awe you stand never to fail

Through the fires of flaming June
Come the yellowing of your mane
As the deathly cutting cold of December
You cling to whatever remains

Please old man Giltar
Tell me your secret of time
And share with me what only you know
And let me hide it in rhyme

Every day the old man looks on
watching, listening ... as time rolls by

 

A Day on Tenbyís South Beach

by

Stuart Adams

(Tenby's South beach stretches for a golden mile from Castle Hill to the east and Giltar Point to the west. Facing southwards and with the convenience of the clifftop Rectory car-park it is especially beloved by the 'bucket and spade brigade'. Seagulls are a special audiovisual feature of Tenby and if the town were to adopt an avian symbol they would be it. Though in a King Canute style gesture Tenby Town Council requests tourists not to feed them! The poet wrote this poem whilst enjoying the beach scenery with his family.)

Ha, aren't we fickle
As the sun sweeps our isle
Head in rows of traffic
Along the M4 in a pile

The boot filled with towels
Tents, bucket and spade
Hoping for a tanned body
For all to be displayed

From far and wide they travel
To Tenbyís South Beach they head
So back to back they worship
The sun upon sun-bed

Like sardines in a can
Squeezed to the very last place
They come with determination
And stake-out their place

Into the sea some venture
Some castles they will build
With salt water filled buckets
Moats are filled

Now time is creeping past the noon
Burnt to a crisp they self admire
As a well done roasted pig
Upon a spit rotating on the fire

Itís four o'clock so roll up the towels
And windbreakers put away in a huff
Catch an early start before the traffic
But will it be early enough?

In Rectory car park cars crammed with kit
And children squeezed on top
Dad with impending gloom says
Not till Pont Abraham services will we stop

And as they travel homeward bound
Tide swoops in to wave its goodbyes
And the seagulls fly in for the crumbs
With a "see you next year" cry

 

Atlantic Gust

by

Stuart Adams

(Poet's dedication: Written in love of my adopted homeland - Pembrokeshire)

Atlantic gust tickles wearily on my ageless face
I stand upon Godís chosen acre
He touches the waters with golden fingers
Of all the love of our maker

Someone, anyone, tell me I'm wrong
This beauty fills my eyes with a single tear
This place must be made from angels
Crashing of waves which I so revere

The magnificent unspoilt golden bays
And the secrets of the hidden coves
The timeless tales of Celtic legends
And of whispers of hidden treasure troves

The solitude of the monks upon Caldey isle
To the bustling town of Haverfordwest
The green fields of patchwork cover
This land I love the best

Stood out upon Pembroke's ancient castle
and imagine of times gone by
As a thousand warriors march in siege
Now only tourists I do spy

The Tenby beaches both North and South
Fill when sun comes with July
They make their claim to every square inch
Till September waves them goodbye

Oil tankers fight the waterways
With sailing ships, trawlers and ferries
Where once did great wooden galleons sail
Within them sailors rum merry

Upon the distant horizon embrace
The Refineries towering dark shapes
Out stretched into the estuary
Their metallic-armed jetty drapes

The sun dips over Freshwater West upon the eve
A little magic fills this sight
Nature has the last word of the hour
And day slips into night

So many cast out into the world
To find some other glory
But most return to this sacred place
To finish up their story

 

The turn of the pedal

by

Stuart Adams

(Llys-y-fr‚n reservoir was completed in 1972 and is Pembrokeshire's principal water supply. Centrally situated in the foothills of the Preseli Mountains there would seem to be no danger of it drying up! It has a 100 foot dam and a surface area of some 200 acres. From the tourists' perspective it has been developed as a country park including the ubiquitous visitor centre and around its shoreline features a walk cum cycle track which is the inspiration for this poem. It is also a popular haunt for the angler.)

The step forward toward adulthood
Relentlessly marches on
My hazy memory of a boy
With nappy and dummy have gone

Here he sits with helmet and gloves
As his fears with his brakes are released
He takes upon his biggest challenge so far
Upon his dual wheeled metallic beast

He pushes off with new found confidence
And a wobble just thrown in for good measure
He looks back with a glowing smile
Mixed with achievement, ecstasy and pure pleasure

He picks up speed as he starts to roll
And bounces off all cobble and stone
He sits proud and tall as a king
Seated upon his rolling throne

Mind's concentration fixed
His balance holds firm and true
Careless of the falls before him
With bruises black and blue

A knight of the order charges into battle
On his steed with the wind at his back
A race car driver in sight of chequered flag
Speeding on down that rickety track

My son's little legs pumping the pedals
Handle bars all of a sway
For me and you he has climbed a hill
But for him, Everest was conquered today

He pulls to a sudden but sure halt
Turns with a confident and proud smile
Little does he realise
He's just rode his first mile

On that halcyon day we all
As a family rode our bikes
The seven and a half miles
Round Llys-y-fr‚n reservoir

 

A Moment of Summer

by

Richard Owen Powell

(My relationship to Pembrokeshire is through visiting and staying in the area over a period of years. The poem in question is about finding Summer's Heart Calon Haf in the little lanes around St Davidís, which I visited with friends earlier this year [2010]. I am a Graduate in Archaeology from the University of Wales, Cardiff, now living and working in Swansea. I have had several poems published in anthologies and magazines, and am currently looking for the next question.)

Here, in the little summer fields of Saint Davidís
With the granite eyries in the eye of the sun
As this beautiful girl dances down its line
Along the magic lane the standing stone sentinels
Mark the beat of her pure radiance
We caught by chance, our first glimpse of Calon Haf

That shy maiden that sings so rare, yet to me
Her beauty plays at the edge of my perception
Teasing, mesmerising, fondly playing me
Glimpses of the warm fragile frame of her heart;
As the sunset frees the early hay, she turns and looks
Back, smouldering golden with that virgin scent

This will not last, forever lost in these fields
Captured in an orange glow, the westering light
Forever soft but always able to shine forth
In the mind's eye, hungry for heat, the memory
Churning a fallow groove through lesser thoughts, to find
A glowing beam at the end of Saint Davidís lane.

 

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