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"Neu gorwedd i lawr yn noeth yn Rhagfyr eira drwy feddwl ar wres gwych yr haf?"
"Or wallow naked in December snow by thinking on fantastic summer's heat?"
Shakespeare, Richard II


Love Wales?
Anthology of Poems with a Welsh 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)





Men of Harlech by Richard Raymond III

Rorke's Drift by Richard Raymond III

... Men Of The Tattered Battalion by Richard Raymond III

The Spirit of Glyndwyr by Richard Raymond III

The Meadow by Colin Morris

Y Ddôl gan Colin Morris

A Summer Sigh by Anna-Marie Docherty

Coastal Worship by Anna-Marie Docherty

Severn Sea by Benjamin Norris

... And Saint David by Richard Raymond III



Men of Harlech


Richard Raymond III

e-mail: Richard Raymond III

(Though I have, alas, no discernable Welsh heritage (being of distant English and French Huguenot descent), yet I have some relations - nephew and niece -living near Swansea, and have begun to conceive a great admiration for the history and people of Cymru. After listening to several stirring renditions of "Men of Harlech" on the internet, am submitting my own original lyrics. I am perfectly aware of many other versions, both in English and Welsh, but I affirm that enclosed lyrics are my own, date of composition 1965 and probably inspired by 1964 film "Zulu", which featured a company of the 24th Foot "South Wales Borderers" singing defiantly in the faces of thousands of spear-waving Zulus at Rorke's Drift.)

Men of Harlech, wake from slumber
Foes surround thee past all number
Doubts abound, and cares encumber
Rouse thee to the fight!

Men of Harlech, bold as giants
Strong in faith and self-reliance
Let your banners wave defiance
From the castle-height!

Fight, and never falter!
Strike, for home and altar!
For Cymru's name, nor yield to shame
Of wearing Norman halter!

Men of Harlech, gaunt and gory
While Valour lives, so lives your story
Let it ring in endless glory
Freedom, God and Right!



Rorke's Drift

An Incident of the Zulu War, 1879


Richard Raymond III

e-mail: Richard Raymond III

(In 1979 [centennial of battle] while at summer training with the 116th Infantry Brigade, Virginia Army National Guard, I had the honour of meeting Major David Jones, commanding a company of the Royal Regiment of Wales, with whom we were conducting joint training exercises at Fort Pickett, Va. I sent him a copy of "Rorke's Drift", which he kindly offered to include in a future issue of the Regiment's newsletter. )

Natal: The South African coastland
So prosperous, peaceful and green
The Boer and Briton have tamed it
A bountiful, beautiful scene
Where no living man can remember
Those distant colonial years
When England made war on the Zulu
That Day of the Washing of Spears

The land of the Zulus was fruitful
Their pastures were fertile and fair
Full reason for envy by Boers
Whose acres seemed brittle and bare
Excuse for an English encroachment
Unheeding of customs or rights
Enough to engender invasion
By coveys of covetous whites

The pudgy Queen-Empress had spoken
And continents quaked at her word
"Impede our imperial progress?
Deny our demands? How absurd!"
And columns of Redcoats went marching
Bright bayonets under the sky
Their orders were simple and savage:
The blacks shall surrender or die

[Receipt for a frightful disaster:
One governor, headstrong and sly;
One general, dull but ambitious
Great schemes for advancement thereby;
Two reinforced rifle battalions
Whose opinion of natives was slight;
And twenty-five thousand fierce Zulus
All whetting their spears for the fight!]

Well-feared was the tall Matabele
Of conquering warrior-race
Astounding in speed and endurance
In pantherlike power and grace;
Courageous and cunning in battle
Dead-loyal to kraal and to king
All man, from his horn-hardened footsole
To the topknot he wound in a ring

The king, from his kraal at Ulundi
Sent warriors forth in a flood
"Go, slaughter these whites," he commanded
"Your spears shall be washed in their blood"
And close under Isandhlwana
Where a high, rocky hillock uprose
His disciplined, terrible tribesmen
Made ready to welcome their foes

A ford on the Buffalo River
Whose waters ran yellow and swift
Was marked for a bridge and an outpost
The mission and ranch at Rorke's Drift
For bridging, one section of sappers
Three rifle platoons for a guard
A total of less than a hundred
Commanded by Bromhead and Chard

By the hillside of Isandhlwana
Ten miles up the trail from the ford
The British set up their encampment
Unvigilant, careless and bored;
The sun set on ruin and slaughter
One horrified shout of surprise
And the Redcoat battalion lay shattered
With "the blood running into their eyes" (1)

A handful of shaken survivors
Fled back down the road to the west
Four thousand victorious Zulus
Behind them relentlessly pressed
Their plumes and their assegais crimsoned (2)
A foaming black torrent was poured
Upstream, to where Chard and his Welshmen
Lay braced for the shock, at the ford

With boxes and overturned wagons
They fashioned a thin barricade
A thin line of rifles within it
Faced horrible odds, undismayed
Swept in the cold assegais, gleaming
Blazed outward the volleys of lead
Each flash of the fatal Martinis
Cut windows of wounded and dead!

Ah, that was a fight to remember
Close-quarter, and neither to yield:
The white, with his breech-loading rifle
The black, with his buffalo shield
Then Chard, hand-to-hand at the breastwork
With foes closing round in a ring
Roared out a command to his Redcoats
"Show now ye are Welshmen ... and sing!"

The tall Colour-Sergeant began it
Deep-chested, defiant and clear
While voice after voice swelled the chorus
Till all of the Zulus might hear
Magnificent old "Men of Harlech"
And into the heavens it rang
Strange counterpoint over the conflict
But ah! how the Borderers sang!

At spearpoint the farmhouse was taken
It flamed in a furious light
As on came the Zulus, by hundreds
Attacking far into the night
While snipers with captured Martinis
Fired down from a neighboring hill
And plume-waving warriors shouted
A thirst to be in at the kill!

But dawn, flaming over the hilltop
Found the Borderers still on their feet
Their bayonet-hedge still unbroken
The Zulus began their retreat
One company, eighty-odd rifles
Outfacing four thousand or more
So stoutly-sustained an engagement
Has rarely been equaled in war

Twelve Redcoats, and five hundred Zulus (3)
A quite disproportionate loss
For Bromhead and Chard, and nine soldiers
It meant a Victoria Cross;
For hearts stricken deep in disaster
It meant an immediate lift:
The slaughter at Isandhlwana
Set off by the stand at Rorke's Drift!

Victoria's Empire is vanished
No vestige remains of the kraal
The bones of both Briton and Zulu
Are dust, on the plains of Natal
Their deed, be it ever remembered
Such valour as seldom is seen:
The Zulu, defending his homeland
The Redcoat, obeying his Queen!


Author's Notes:
Written 15th October 1975
(1) Masefield, "A Consecration"
(2) Assegai ... the broad-bladed, short-hafted stabbing spear of the Zulu fighting man
(3) Actual casualties at Rorke's Drift are reckoned as British, 17 killed, 11 wounded; Zulus (estimated) 500 killed, and a large but uncounted number of their wounded mercilessly despatched by vengeful British troops, after Chelmsford's column returned. This relatively minor engagement resulted in the greatest number of awards of the Victoria Cross to a single regiment, for one battle. After regrouping and receiving heavy reinforcements, several months later Chelmsford managed with his Gatling guns and lancers to destroy Cetshwayo's army at Ulundi, and capture of the king effectively ended the war. As a technical point, the regiment was not renamed "South Wales Borderers" until two years after. And Isandhlwana retains its evil name, as the worst defeat of modern troops by native warriors, the entire 600-strong 1st Battalion, along with more than a thousand South African militia and supporting elements, were utterly wiped out.





... Men Of The Tattered Battalion (1)


Richard Raymond III

e-mail: Richard Raymond III

"A remarkable people, the Zulus. They defeat our generals, they convert our bishops and they settle the fate of a great European dynasty" ... Disraeli

[Harken to me
These whom I celebrate
In altogether uncompelling rhyme
Were not, by any stretch, considered great
Nay, much too much the creatures of their time
Some dogged their lives with drink, or lust, or crime
What ordinary fellows they had been
But for superb obedience to their Queen!]

Now in the last years of Victoria
(The world had never witnessed such a reign)
Britons were drowsy with euphoria
Envied by once-great, now-anemic Spain
The French and Germans gnashed their teeth in vain
Pink swathes marked Britain's Empire on the map ...
And Africa produced a Zulu trap

Certain ambitious statesmen and their dupes ...
Mush-headed generals, bishops of straw ...
Laid out their plans, rubbed hands, sent in the troops
To do their bidding ... Mockery of law
They gave the Zulu king one day to draw
His twenty thousand spearmen back behind
A border only white men had defined

The gentlemen in Capetown would compel
A nation of proud warriors to submit
On pain of conquest ... Thus the war befell
Two regiments were sent to serve a writ
Which bothered Cetewayo not a bit
Since Shaka's day, the mighty Zulu throne
Could muster many regiments of its own

Off marched the Redcoats, never looking back
Until they reached Isandhlwana's peak
Set up their camp beside the narrow track ...
Little they knew, that just across the creek
The enemy they came so far to seek
Lay waiting, and by morrow-noon would set
The assegai against the bayonet (2)

The fighting Zulu was a fearsome foe ...
Antelope-swift, and muscled like the pard
Master of blades which he could thrust or throw
Disciplined, loyal, even his feet were hard
Against such warriors, a careless guard
Could trick an army into tragedy ...
Too rash, too confident it proved to be

Lord Chelmsford split his little force ... with half
He wandered round the countryside, the rest
In open camp, sat like the fatted calf
Dabulamanzi, half a mile northwest (3)
Threw two great columns round the rocky crest
Their war-chant blotted out the British cheers ...
That was the day the Zulus washed their spears

The Twenty-fourth of Foot ... Welsh Borderers
Had won much proud distinction in the past
Tough soldiers ... never thugs nor murderers ...
They carried out their orders to the last
Under a blacked-out sun's weird overcast
Faced odds of twenty foemen to their one
Fought to the final bullet, man and gun

A few, not Redcoats, managed to break free
Ran headlong with the Zulus in pursuit toward Rorke's Drift
Where Bromhead's company had built a breastwork
Fugitives on foot stood little chance
Still less to stand and shoot ...
One hapless soldier, out of strength and breath
Sat on a stone, and waited for his death

Bromhead and Chard commanded ninety men
Four thousand Zulus, flushed with victory
Surrounded them like cattle in a pen
With enemies as far as they could see
The Redcoats fought with grim ferocity
All day, all night ... and by the smoky dawn
Had held their ground, the assegais were gone

The British camp was carpeted with slain
Old Chelmsford murmured, "Mercy, what a sight!
O bother! I must start a new campaign
Who would have thought these blackamoors could fight?"
Uncomprehending and unchastened, quite
Persuaded that no blame attached to him
His slaughtered troops lay slashed in every limb

[Prince Louis, the French Empress' only son
Joined with the British for a Zulu-hunt
Was ambushed, died, the last Napoleon
Unhorsed, abandoned, in a futile stunt
("Had he his wounds before?" "Aye, on the front!")
The officer who left the boy to this
Was broken, on a charge of cowardice]

Incredibly, the blockhead kept command
The Queen provided yet more guns and men
(Which showed, perhaps, that campaigns poorly-planned
Worse-handled, may win battles, now and then)
The tattered Twenty-fourth came back again
To break the impis and avenge their dead (4)
Mowed down their enemy with sheets of lead

Ulundi's battle settled the affair
With Gatlings and Martinis, in a day
The impis melted on the British square
The lancers charged, with many a score to pay
Their officers cried "Yoicks!" and "Gone away!"
Bullets made hash of shields of hardened hide
In smoke and blood, the Zulu Empire died

They captured Cetewayo and he was made
To wear fine dress-suit from Savile Row
His spear was knapped in sunder, haft and blade
And he was shipped to London, there to show
The fate of rebels (mustn't fight, you know)
The Romans put their captives in a cage ...
Britons were of a less barbaric age

[What did it mean? A hundred years have passed
And no assuring answer comes to mind
What's left of empire is no longer vast
We yet behold the follies of mankind
With generals as dense, statesmen as blind
As any in that day ... and there is still
A monument, beneath that fateful hill]


Author's Notes:
Written 24th May 1990
(1) Masefield, "A Consecration"
(2) Assegai = the broad-bladed Zulu battle spear
(3) Dabulamanzi = the Zulu field commander
(4) Impi = the Zulu regiment, a thousand trained warriors
(5) The monument commemorates the gallant stand of the 1st Battalion, 24th Foot, which was utterly wiped out. It remains one of the worst defeats of modern troops at the hands of native warriors. And at the former site of Ulundi, once Cetewayo's chief kraal (village) there is another, in tribute to the Zulu warriors who died in defense of their king and his empire.



The Spirit of Glyndwyr


Richard Raymond III

e-mail: Richard Raymond III

The Spirit of such heroes came
Before the Island had a name
When bison roamed the heathered hills
And skin-clad men made flint-tipped kills ...
Owain Glyndwr was yet to be
But men conceived of Liberty

Ten thousand years rolled slowly by
While Welshmen kept their spirits high
Despite the Normans' castles and forts
And raids which almost ranked as sports ...
Though conquerors would soon arrive
Their enterprises did not thrive

"Ned Longshanks" held the English throne
And swore to take Wales for his own
Yet Glyndwr's Spirits soon arose
To master all of Cymru's foes
The "Men of Harlech", staunch and strong
Proclaimed defiance with a song

Far down the corridors of Time
When long-forgotten is this rhyme
That Spirit, never-failing, breathed
A flame of Liberty, bequeathed
To every Cymric man and maid ...
Fierce and unfading, unafraid!

Written 14th June 2009



The Meadow


Colin Morris

e-mail: Colin Morris

(I would say my writing could be classed as melancholic with a keen hand for realistic observation. I attempt to break through mists of confusion and look at life as it is without misconceptions. My initial writings took place in my garden this summer. I submit my first to you in both Welsh [Y Ddôl ] and English. My grandparents were both from Wales, they both left their mother country to take up work in London after the First World War . My grandmother died after child birth in England and it is within this poem that I attempt to represent my grandfathers love for her and the family they had.)

From those valleys and hills not so far away they came, two sweet lovers, entwined and sowed from birth, through common soil

Our spirit remains deep routed in thee, we must go for now, to return some day, maybe

Rays of hope glisten ahead, for we are as one, solid as rock

The meadow we plant brings great joy, the daisies and buttercups keep us amused

The fragile tranquillity of life over looked, hits hardest when you are weak. Tears are not enough to grasp your fading memory, like dandelion seeds, one breath and you are gone, not there, forever

Why, why O lord, O mother earth, O sky above, you do take my one and only love

O god where is my strength, I need you more than ever, why O why such punishment from thee

Time ticks by and by, my flowers have drifted from the meadow, to find horizons of their own

In my mind I re-trace my steps, I grasp your hand my dear Anne, for I wish to lay down one final time and embrace you in my arms, to feel the earth on our backs

Peace at last, for we have given, a gift as precious as your sweet breath, to our loved ones above, may you always remember us and where hence we came

We were sown not so far away, amongst the green hills and mist of a golden land, in spirit we return, to lay our heads with such sweet memories of our home sown meadow.

Written Summer 2009



Y Ddôl


Colin Morris

e-mail: Colin Morris

O’r dyffrynnoedd a’r bryniau cyfagos hynny y daethant, dau gariad wedi’u gwau ynghyd a’u hau o’u genedigaeth yn yr un pridd

Erys ein hysbryd wedi’i wreiddio’n ddwfn ynot ti, ond rhaid mynd am y tro, gan efallai ddychwelyd rhyw dro

Mae pelydrau gobaith yn tywynnu o’n blaenau, yr ydym fel un, mor gadarn â’r graig

Mae’r ddôl a blannwn yn dwyn llawenydd mawr, gyda llygaid y dydd a blodau ymenyn yn ein diddanu

Wrth edrych dros lonyddwch brau ein bywyd, mae’r ergyd fwyaf pan fyddi di’n wan. ’Dyw dagrau ddim yn ddigon i ddal gafael ar gof ohonot sy’n cilio, fel hadau dant y llew; un anadliad a dyna ti wedi mynd am byth

Paham O Dduw, O Fam Ddaear, O Nefoedd uwchben, pam mynd â’r un a’r unig gariad oddi arnaf

O Dduw, ble mae fy nerth, rwyf dy angen yn fwy nag erioed. Pam rhoi’r fath gosb i mi

Hed amser fesul awr, crwydrodd fy mlodau o’r ddôl i geisio’u gorwelion eu hunain

Yn fy meddwl, rwy’n crwydro’n ôl, yn cydio’n dy law, fy annwyl Anne, rwyf am orwedd un tro olaf i’th gofleidio a theimlo’r pridd ar ein cefnau

Hedd o’r diwedd, rhoesom rodd mor werthfawr â’th anadl hyfryd i’r rhai a garwn uchod; boed i chi ein cofio am byth, a’r man lle daethom

Cawsom ein hau gerllaw, ymysg y bryniau gwyrdd a’r niwl yng ngwlad yr hud; mewn ysbryd y dychwelwn, i roi ein pennau i lawr yn llawn atgofion melys am y ddôl a heuwyd gennym.

Ysgrifennwyd yn ystod Haf 2009



A Summer Sigh


Anna-Marie Docherty

e-mail: Anna-Marie Docherty

(I was inspired to write this poem after a visit to Broad Haven and in particular Little Haven during their promote the area week [June 2010]. It was walking around the artworks exhibition, the gallery and shops, together with beaches and campsites that made me want take this further, especially seeing how driftwoods, shells and other materials from the area were being used to bring in a living for the local folk.)

The lush of the land lies as velvet moss green carpet
The river rushing its morning wash
Rumbling as it spins twisting and turning its tidal path
Over the chance carried stones to the sea
Where the coastal sands of time are met
Meeting waves pulled by undercurrents
Finding rocks, kale, seaweed and moss covered
Just as the hair of cherubs' faces foamed
Then gently adorned with shell and mollusc jewels
And salty sea air crusts crystal formations alongside
In come the tides bringing with them oceanic treasures
Driftwoods, wreckage, salvage
That have crashed and bashed the cliffs along the way
To finally rest ashore and be renewed
To become beachcombers' delights
Trinkets, gifts or items for the home.



Coastal Worship


Anna-Marie Docherty

e-mail: Anna-Marie Docherty

(We live in Pembrokeshire, the beautiful corner of Wales bordered by mountains and coastline, this poem portraying my thoughts of the deep blue sea that surrounds us. I have a degenerative spinal condition and in the past two years have been driven to write poetry with a passion. You can find me, aka Anaisnais, on these links: Link1 Link2 Link3 Please feel free to come say hi and leave a helpful constructive comment. I'll get back to you as health/time allows, thank you.)

Thunder, whoosh, rip, curl, tumble, waves come in
Kissing, caressing the beach with mastered touch
Dredging the depths of unseen ocean's floor
Thunder, whoosh, rip, curl, tumble, waves comes in

Foam, crash, swell, smacks ship ‘gainst rocks and harbour's wall
Gulls overhead swoop and dive to snatch their feed
Thunder, whoosh, rip, curl, tumble, waves come in
Kissing, caressing the beach with mastered touch.



Severn Sea


Benjamin Norris

e-mail: Benjamin Norris

(Severn Sea is a thematic, short collection based around the route of the River Severn, and my own journey along this ancient border. I grew up in North Wales, and moved south to Bristol as a young man, before moving to Berlin, Budapest, Transylvania, and back again. Severn Sea is my attempt to retrace that original journey along the great river, from source to mouth, through a series of poems which trace not only the remarkable landscape and changing features of this ancient border between ancient nations, moving downriver towards the sea, but also the personal memories that this vast stretch of water carries with it – memories of growth, of change, of loss, love, and rebirth. In 2013, I walked and caught trains in order to travel along almost the entire length of the River Severn, armed only with a notebook and a flask of tea. This collection of 30 poems is the record of this journey, as well as a moving record of my coming to terms with my roots, and a past which is forever lost between the valleys, hidden beneath bridges and buried deep in estuary mud. My poetry regularly appears in literary journals and magazines on both sides of the Atlantic. I have been twice nominated for the Pushcart prize 2014, and am a regular performer on the live poetry circuit in both England and Wales. My poetry blog is now in its fifth year, and has a regular readership of over a thousand. Severn Sea is my second collection and is a poetic route down through Wales, along the Welsh border and eventually along the Pembrokeshire coastline and into the sea (although, obviously, the journey is not just a geographical one). The following is a sample of six or so poems from what I feel could be a unique collection which could resonate with a wide range of individuals and communities living along the banks of many of the great and small Welsh rivers, and watching their shorelines being daily lapped by the waves.)


Again, the sea bed splits – there

gushes forth all kinds of noise;

a gaggle of gases, bubbling up, the deaf

groaning of huge stones, turned twice and

dragging a voyage to warmer climes -

the weeds all tangle, flung oysters snap

for now the depths are shifting and

bubbles line up like a staff, vertical and reaching

out to join all unknown skies, risen by all unseen hands -

the cycle must continue, so

silts are kicked, new sands are tossed,

all race toward the surface where

oil-slicked skeins are sucked up fast

in most unseasonal sunlight. Vapour's made

like ghostly dreams; long mists and vast

clouds rise from waves, from nowhere, yet

they roll eastwards from the ocean's clatter.

They soon meet others, blind fog lifts,

sea-spray ascends – together they're coughed

on foreign winds, tides of ages, scattered like milk

over those fabled mountain ranges. Steady, slow

sentinels, fattened on Cambrian dancing airs

they wait for new conditions, for the land

to welcome which is theirs' – when all is right

they let loose their cargo, nets are sliced,

rain falls hard on ancient soils.

Hammering mud where drop meets drop;

streams are carved from trickle, torrent -

much is lost to reeds, the grasses, some

tumbles off the sodden slopes.

More dives in stone, through cracks in earth

on layers of grim, volcanic rock

where once this land collided, there, the

permeation stops. A pause, then:

Up, and up, and up! – pressure demands

with prehistoric forces

we trench our way to daylight, come

crashing out, now foaming, white,

smoothing down the pulsing wall -

a continuous birth, a waterfall, a river starts

unending trails: back and back, and back to home.


We grow beside brooks, and remember each spring

how it seeped through the flooring -

bringing such thoughts, dampening dust -

the air will change, even now, as we lie

all bound in to our notional seasons,

melting hilltops, reasons to leave.

Clamber through bracken, catch sight of

woodsmoke, the tricks of trees, language held

in breathing bowls. Hammering, and

a child's laughter cuts old years.

Inside, those clocks do things you wouldn't believe -

bringing such thoughts, dampening dust -

up here, the snows have already begun,

falling with the precision of needles.

The Rails

Doors drag themselves, and we're thrust through,
reeling from signs that flicker and switch
with shutter-speed trips, cutting this way and back.
We take pains avoiding inky gazes -

the rural, the fattened, locked into their wrists,
caught up in the stars, the columns of tales -
families, lost wives, the barking, the sad
the girls who've murder cut into their hands.

The morning’s still flashing, in typical ways -
attempting to prove that changes can come
from this tepid wash of old Welsh skies, these
towns pulled from marshlands, the days have drained

such wonders! They built with all intentions -
riveted, nailed, knocked up by top hats,

industrious line upon line, now held for ever

in ghost-faced postcards praised at small stations.

The banks break my sight, and somebody tuts

at the sun slashing through the unmoving blinds.

A shot of blue, a stretch of silt is caught before

the settlements sprint towards us.

Oxbow Lake

Your hair changed with the seasons, falling

straight with the scent of ammonia and

the tangles teased each morning in your

pointless set of rituals. Those days

it happened to be red, but never mind -

Spring was on its way.

Back then, we'd walk along this stretch

of muds, and silts, and flats, and where

we'd see the traces left by birds -

freckling the estuary. We'd try our best

to not worry one another -

gloved hands held tight the morning

It was days after the operation -

I traced the stitches where I’d kissed,

and began to beg to be let in. You

barely twitched the sheets aside, and

tried hardest not to move your head

or look towards the water.


We bore holes in us, as if attrition comes naturally.

Water does what water does, slowly builds more layers

while time comes on and throws us under inch-

thick crusts of residue. Slapped on fast, this way and

that, varnish up our weakest points so we can’t see

despite being flush against the panes – we stay

sitting, smoking slowly, refining the crudeness

of our gestures until we pump ourselves outside

even then, nothing can remind you of the time

when our selves glinted, shiny new:

hips crackle and spit, and something silver corrugates lips

with not quite words slagged out in heaps.

The surface widens, this much is clear, yet

great, wet wheels turn and count the days in single strands.

Reduced to a specimen, a set of samples:

hours kept stock in chimney stacks, broken bones

piled up kisses, the taste of iron.

My memories clamber under skies,

fuming full of terracotta and the days before:

when our mouths moved, and music came.

Half Way Down

Half way down, the curves grow wider,

centuries scored their vast meanders.

Unmanned boats are cradled lazily from

market town to floodlands.

Mornings are caught as they flicker through reeds -

I ascertain who comes or goes

by reading the peaks in these dim, varied shows

of slanting, rhythmic, white-wet lights.

Bristol Channel

Our footsteps follow wakes. Consider,

each pace through even the kindest streets

has been proceeded by those ships, who

pushed hard, and whipped through kindly straits

with the airs of continental drift. A hold

of the same packed-in humanity we all hold -

stained with salt, slapped up, cut out -

chains upon their ankle-bones

bruising, generations deep. Still,

we are taught to understand these ills, and

laws leer at historical fault

lines cut in foreign stone.

Boats look different, now:

the kindest streets hold plaques

dedicated to our sea-change. Liberation names

bridges, bank to bank, then to now. Slavery sank,

only to shadow a different face: cheeks

stained with salt, slapped up, cut from

mountain towns. Now, Eastern girls get caught, hooked up

on ships, beneath bridges that look more welcome

now shackles are more subtle.


This light-dusted town, pocked with memories,

drags these feet between old blocks. Patina shifts, and the

soils of years harden, I am swerved -

westward and that way, past new wives,

shivering children, bottle-green voices,

those who sell and those locked in

to hands scratching deep, having grappled at mornings -

the bakers have left, the workers are hid. Somewhere

the sun does its thing, defying the wash

of British temptations, of time spent downwards,

avoiding the days. A path appears - surprising

one who spent time abroad – yet it holds the usual

glittering discs, and tightly packed wraps

of chemical compounds all set for the night,

boxes for boxes, and watery tea

infused with the times of the river.

For the river heads south, this much is true,

and I'd been away for years at a time,

so I look down to the banks, and I spy the stones

making a meandering way to the mouth.

Horizons shimmer, water slices

this city in two, so I step on

bridging between slow erosion, and shops -

Fate cuts no hands, but my legs are compelled

to step down a street that my tendons had lost. I'm struck

at a window, piled high with desires -

softly forced rocks, all strung up on silver,

jaspers and jets, vivid value in earth,

selected for those who compelled to pass on

slices of India, mined out by a man

whose coalface was lamplit, maybe decades ago.

My eye follows wands tipped sweetly with orbs

knocked out of amber, suspending old lives.

It passes through pages, tinted expressions

exclaiming small magics, ways to heal, odes to fix

heartbreak, the shingles, the lamest complaints -

it rest on the store-girl, she's caved in receipts, and

struts on the side of a pretty collection

of bangles and phone lines, old records, deceptions

reserved for those who know their base. A loose

piece of info catches my breeze, and movement

makes movement, we both bend to the floor.

She knows all the deals, and chips me away,

shows me a stone that will change my days.

Time is eaten, and weeks petrify

in bed-shapes, hollows, ashtrays carbon-date poses.

We identify awhile as one.

Yet day after day, something stops mouths

all swollen and sore - I look at her stones, and

can't stop myself mocking;

Energy, auras, cosmic detritus, green eyes

and faith makes me harden, and shift;

such attrition occurs, and mouths become cruel.

Erosion erodes, we're carried in rivers

downstream, downstream, toward the sea -

Now, elsewhere, I notice the beaded masses

polished and plucked, and laden with rocks.

New wives, shivering children,

bottle-green voices

gather at windows, gazing to wish

at millennia structured in glittering cuts -

a slice of India, something to pass

to lovers who live on dry land.

The Bore

shrieking boat-wood, tossed by force -

we watch oars rise to
tear a wake; filth and lunacy, panicked cheers

drift past to their dampened end.

Quite suddenly, seconds trail,

soft dusk descends. Boys pat backs

for a year of dirt, churned months and days, a

furrowing of long, fine mists.

To the next town flows

fast black water:

a shattering reminder.


When we're together, I'm trailing in the surf,

my eyes picking away where small waves pull in

and out, following the hollows left by your feet -

always a minute or two behind, trying to find

something half-buried and dragged in to my toes,

a memory to wash off, pocket, and bring back home.

Perhaps I call, my voice fighting with the wind,

but you're eager for the rocks, you've seen something

disappearing up ahead. Away you go, inland, inland.


Every seven seconds, we collide on the sand

we gathered when we drifted here – all old cups and papers,

residue, coasters, things to help quit smoking,

a marriage contract pulling back and forth,

ourselves from ourselves.

We lie, buffeted

by the flotsam of our years.

Outside, summer passes,

and we find with some amazement

that the moon still has a pull. The bath tub’s caked

and gummed with days. The window’s started splitting,

letting in more rain.

Downriver, great tails

dash the seas, and we barely face each other.

Slowly, We Have Let Slip

Slowly we have let slip
through rains and rivulets, hands
which traced old eyes on sands -

thoughts that crossed old seas,
crawling with little Jonahs
warm within great bellies

who, once saved, once coughed back,
gasping beg
to be tossed under

to gulp faith, find home within
some evil-smelling womb -
all pulped pages, numbered days,

krill and that which
brings forth the years
in the rolling shapes of more wet seasons -

still – time dives, time bellows,
it breaches; yet this morning
the waves brought only water.



... And Saint David

For the Royal Welch Fusiliers and U. S. Marines at Peking
20 June - 14 August 1900


Richard Raymond III

e-mail: Richard Raymond III

(Commemorating the traditional bond between the Royal Welch Fusiliers and the U.S. Marines, who fought side by side at the 55-day siege of the Legation Quarter in Peking (now Beijing) during the indigenous anti- western uprising that took place in China between 1899 and 1901 known as the Yihequan Movement or, more commonly in the west, as the Boxer Rebellion ... and so on Saint David’s Day, 1st March, it has long been the custom for the Commandant of U.S. Marine Corps to exchange telegraphic greetings with the Colonel of the Royal Welch Fusiliers (now the 1st Battalion, Royal Welch))

When the “Fists of Righteous Harmony” arose,
And “Boxers” flags went up along the wall,
They took the “foreign devils” for their foes,
Swearing to drive them out or slay them all,
But Fusiliers and doughty Leathernecks
Were ready for the fight, and not deceived,
They dealt the seething Boxers some rude checks,
Then settled down to hold until relieved.

And here’s to you, rugged Welshmen,
In your flaming scarlet coats,
The symbols of your heritage,
Green leeks and feisty goats–
We’ll give you your certificate,
All duly signed and sealed,
And proud to stand beside you
On any battlefield!

The foreign envoys and their families,
Penned helpless and beleaguered in their Quarter,
A handful of outnumbered companies
To shield them from a brutal sack and slaughter,
Depended on eight nations for relief,
An expedition fighting all the way,
A British admiral to serve as chief,
Marines in blue, and Germans in field-gray,

But here’s to you, valiant Welshmen,
With your bayonets so keen,
So deadly with your rifles
And proud as a Marine,
Attacking or defending,
Coming to each other’s aid,
Let the crimson Roll of Heroes
Tell the legend that we made!

And ever since, upon Saint David’s Day,
Our Commandant, maintaining the tradition,
Sends off that ancient watchword on its way,
Greeting your Colonel, heartfelt recognition.
Wise Kipling said it, “Neither East nor West
Divides our honors. Comradeship prevails–”
When danger threatens, surely, send your best,
Your Men of Harlech, sturdy Sons of Wales!

Then here’s to you, warlike Welshmen,
May your banner never fade,
May you wear your Flash and Hackle
For every grand parade,
In whatever future conflict
You are sent to do your part,
The One Who Reigns at Windsor
Will bless your fighting heart!








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