Monday, 11 July 2016

Bait the Lines

Poems by
Jim Young
Text copyright © 2016 Jim Young
All Rights Reserved

Dedicated to Sue


Jingles open the bottle-bottomed door,
into a hotchpotch of sedate waiting.
A bric-à-brac of long-loved possessions,
orphaned, labelled with prices.
Crying dry tears for owners gone. Sad.
Priced for charity, how sad.
Crockery, cutlery, books and beads.
Bizarre, cute, functional, beautiful.
What says the aesthete?
Bargains for use or decoration,
pleading with a dogs-home wide-eyed guilt.

I browse from time to time.
I buy an occasional piece.
I chat with the ladies who give
their time, from time to time.
Nothing changes as the items change.
No dust, surreal, as the visitors 
come and go, come and go.
New old clothes embody nobody no more.
Jingles the door from time to time.

But one day, as I dreamed in the door,
there on the wall numbed backward by its enormity,
was a clipper in full sail, high on a full-framed sea. 
A painting brushed in amateur oils ablaze.
Clouds in a blue sky on an energetic sea,
in sails billowing, raked back, the bows ahoy.
It held me by the throat, cat clawed dead.
The wind beating in the sails of my heart
missing beat after beat gulping at the wind.
It had sailed home again across the sea, 
across the sea to me, as it was meant to be. 

Back Passage

Step off the map, characterless Dickens.
Slowly, step after step into what?
Time? A mutant underworld outside the airlock?
Where is what is underfoot so muted?
Stomping from stone trough to Tarmac
layered, eroded down to constellation cobbles.
Scattered, the detritus spills out of yards and doors.
Kicked cans backchat and tossed bottles crunch.
Take care the bottomless oil refracted pools!
Fetid cardboard pales the grass hopes,
bramble snakes gesture on to kraken fangs.
On and on the lanes bifurcate the urban mind-
map lost in choice of brick and back.
The alley cat know,s striding the doors and walls.
We? We stall bemused, confused.
The unhinged, flaking, caking back doors 
proudly defy their relegated denigration.
Highfalutin, storied, quasi-mansions wrinkle noses
and cold shoulder the excommunicated hoi polloi.
Downbeat in lanes they dare to contest
in graffiti daubed in vibrant colours or 
black and white screeching pain that
demands a recursive flagellation - so there!
Bugger you!
But there's a beauty in the graphic lines 
and text of angst laid bare.
Beauty hidden in the spilled paint or daubed walls
that the Tate Modern would overprice.
Look, each door is different, each weed at home,
every cat an alley prowl from here to here.
They, more than any, see the staccato bravado of
the quasi-people whose thoughts of grandeur 
lay defecated on the back lane foundations 
of their service doors and car park whoosh aways.
Glimpsed through back doors cluedo culprits
lay the blame for what they do. 
Garage doors jammed packed with God knows what.
We swagger along the lanes of stone, and brick
and plaster peeling. Of door posts in a geometric
multi-directional confusion - QED?
Breath caught on the fetid urinal leech in corners 
where a crumpled newspaper dare not be turned,
we emerge anoxic, breathless into a pedestrian murmur.
Did the time warp snap on that post traumatic walk
along the back passage of the regal boudoir buildings?
Step back and stroll and re-commune with the outlines
that adumbrate the camouflaged people.
Agree to disagree with the incongruity of the annuity 
of business conducted up there behind grand windows,
while down here the cat is pissing.
Shit and broken glass.
Kick the death rattle can.


Seasoned wood

Harvest of the storm.
Pounced upon, retrieved, owned.
Wood on the tideline mine.
Long pieces, short pieces,
thick pieces, thin pieces.
Summered in my hands, cut
and carried. Woodsheded.

The reason, in this season?
In this summer sea?
I see winter, I see cold.
Saw to Lamb's Well bay to cut
and bag the flotsam free.
Strew over the storm pebbles,
hundreds and thousands.
Warm to hand and heart. All mine.

Some sun bleached boned,
some soaking wet.
Some with sap, all sea salted heavy.
Green seaweed drying on the
windfall branches, the man-handled planks.
Collect them all, cut them quick.
Winter is closer than we think.

Carried to the woodshed, finally safe.
The hunter-gatherer has prepared for winter.
For the snow footsteps will melt at the hearth
of this summer harvest from the sea.
Safe in the embrace of the woodshed
time to savour the light behind the eyes.
Cobweb dust caressing the wood-down days.

All shapes and sizes stacked to the roof,
way up to the skylights peeping.
All colours and aromas nostril
the saw-sap drying wrinkling days.
From distant forests’ long journeys to the sea,
or ship deck jetsam across the waves to me.
Welcome, welcome.

Welcome, welcome, on long dark winter nights
re-burning hotter the summer suns.
Clinking up the black stove pipe,
radiating deep warm happy days.
It will never go out, if we go out
to quick shed the bundles in.
Fireside racks piled high. Aye.

Doors open airily as eyes close on the flames.
Nutcracker figures dancing the Song of Songs.
Dream makers waltzing, the manic tango flares,
Spins the red dress paso doble’s flaming wheels.
Wicked winks the wicked pyre.
Rest back you the summer harvest days
and winter logs’ long sleepy nights.

Walking the tideline day after day,
finding, cutting, piling away.
Seasons in the sea-wood seasoning.
See son? See the cat knows,
asleep in front of the stove, spread-eagled
dreaming, steaming on a deep wood sea.

Langland Lifeguards

Resolute in yellow and red
Canutes the lifeguard.
Eyes high to the sea,
shore to point,
Toddlers splash,
boisterous boys the girls,
as the serious swimmers go.
Watching, watching.

Walkie talkie - walkie talkie - over.

Walking the tideline, or
atop their high seat,
strapped to buoyancy lifelines
iridescent yellow.
Boards ready, steady.
Watching, waiting.
Nod to the regulars,
enjoy your swim.
Dry day, wet day,
rough day, calm day,
watching, watching.

Walkie talkie - walkie talkie - over.

Midsummer heat raises the sea.
The budgerigar kids swarm,
it's warm! It's warm!
The lifeguards' hawk-eyes combine
to scour between the flags.
For when the sneaky rip current
slips its smile,
death is not a cartoon.
On guard the lifeguards
watching, watching.

Walkie talkie - walkie talkie - over.

All responsible, alone together,
weaving the sun warm days.
Or clenching the rain to the tide,
as we venture in for our daily swim.
We know they are there
as we ride the swell, bite the breaker.
We know we are safe,
watching, watching, watching.

But then they are gone
at the summer's end, and
a cold dread has to be faced down.
No more first aid,
or inshore lifeboats,
or helicopter rescues.
Just me and the sea in a deadly dance.
The old, cold, grey towering sea
and me.
Roll on summer and the lifeguards return.

They still train of course.
When the kite surfers ride the horizon
and the winter swimmers look to Langland,
the lifeguards are straining sinews in the sea.
They board it out to bright coloured buoys,
the boys and girls are training,
to pluck us from the sea.
Come next summer they will be here.
We need them,
we plead them return.
Swallows for our summer make.

Splashie dashie - splashie  dashie – under.

Sisters howl to the pulsating walls,
Arms sky-wide clap hands pleading,
White fingers entwine pain with pain. For
Little Leslie has run away to sea!

Pinafores sodden with tears screw tight 
To red-eyed horizon's non-farewell.
A boy! He's only a boy!
Why?  Why?    Why?
Those seven seas of why?

Mmm grunts his brother,
Over his paper, over his dinner's
HP of empire saucily says,
Gone to his head see?

Ship's head rides down the sea,
Ploughs the howling waves, 
Spits back the wailing tears.
Down the sisters drown into
Each other's enfolding arms,
As the long days of waiting begin.
Their spice of life gone away
To sea, a cabin boy.
To be an able seaman.

Small fingers on the window ledge,
His tip toe chin levers him up to 
Cold nose the misty bottom panes.
Eyes transfixed.
Pecking past the railway lines steel lines
The dockyard derricks are natter knitting 
A balaclava for the sea.
Flashes of mercurial water,
Funnels colouring dock to dock,
The ships of cargo weave the wharf,
Of this brief encounter. 

It is murmuring to the boy, but
He cannot quite decipher the signal sound,
As the Sirens of the sea snap back his eye.
The pilot tugs swing around the visage of
Land to sea, where you must go, for then
The whole wide world will open up to thee.
Falls back the boy to blink away
The flash from the horizon,
Where he has never been.

The three wooden crocodiles freeze.
The ivory elephants pause trunk to tail.
Iridescent butterfly wings halt powdery sad 
Under the cracked glass of a tray.
Oriental thought home from the sea, where
Seamen sailed to lands and people far away.
The ukulele splices the main brace 
Of the boy's tether to the land.
Face back hard to the window 
His entrails entreat the pilot.
Wait for me! Wait for me!

The salt is in his veins,
Enthralled the more his uncles' tales
Of jolly Jack Tar and Singapore.
For he knew what they did not,
But suspected from the glint,
In the eye of the boy who felt,
The fall of rivers to the sea.
The sailor salt has woven its spell.
Way past the docks the sea ebbs,
And back against the hillside the boy intones,
I have made my choice,
It is the sea for me.

The South China Sea!
The Indian Ocean!
The trade winds!
Cape Horn!
The high seas!
From Arctic to Antarctic,
The storm petrel thoughts 
Will deny him rest, until he too,
Has sailed the seven seas.

Nursed on a precipice,
Just that far from the shore.
She can rock you gently,
Shawled warm.
Lay you down gently,
Back on the sand of land.
But an aquamarine malevolence 
Salts dark the arteries
Pulsating deep,
The unseen reef,
Tethers down.
Talk to her respectfully,
Bow low,
Ask her permission 
To be there under the sky,
Upon her sequined bodice,
Where heartbeats entwine.

In Winter

Ebb tide
Chase her,
East wind in your hair.
Flow tide
Run from her,
On spume feet. 

The waves pile up,
Granite steps in the high sea.
The sky is too heavy,
Welds the horizon
Grey to grey.
Foam, upon foam, upon foam.
Daisy petal seagulls stumble
Down the wind.
Enter if you dare!
We dare.
But only so far.
Numbed to the bone,
Skin dyed to death.
Just one more ...
One more wave to peril
Crashes, tumbles. Grrr!
Brrr. Sh-sh-shoulders shiver.
Losing control.
Out. Out now!

Shivering smiles the swimmer.
Stands tall, 
Spins to face to the sea.
Chest out, chin high,
The anchor flails.
Needles reign in 
The rain that reins.
He pulls away.
Heart beats a thank you,
For the barbed-wire sea
Of this winter's day.
We'll meet again soon.
So dry your salty tears
My cariad.


And the sea looks inviting.
The day is warm, the sky is blue.
The cold winter swims are palling.
Into the sea again.
Cold_errrr than it looks.
March winds scudder  
The clouds reflect.
Deeper, deeper. Under!

Winter under Spring.
No warning.
April showers.
May blossom.
What does the sea know of these?
As the water warms - slowly.

Head under now but
The swims are brisk.
Out of the sea
The winds cheerfully
Berate the Winter - be gone!
A summer sun is out 
With pleasure.
Walk amongst the flowers of 
The Spring in my step.
Summer is waving, by
The sea, the sea, the sea.

Winter runs down as
Spring surges up.
Mistress sea caresses my
Salty tears of joy.
The boy is back.

Sea the crocodile of winter snaps,
Spring pulls back.
Summer charges in.

Chatter the beach people as
The sand migrates 
Over the winter rocks.
Now is the time,
The real time,
Coy, the maypole spins the bay.
Tomorrow is going to be
Another lovely day.


And the children claim the sea.
Roaring gay abandon.
Kiddies shriek, 
The waves electrocute!
Bedazzled colour toweled heat
Beats the bodies to the sea,
Cool in pool where fish and crabs 
Populate the storybook long days.

Dams and spades and castles 
Hand in sand and glory,
A toddler's new found power
Stamps them to the ground,
And around and around the boat
They dig, as the sea holds back.
They don't believe,
But they will not leave,
Their stance against the sea, that
Advances no holds barred, to
Trammel them on their island fortress
Obliterating the fortifications.
Washed away, reclaimed.

Disappointment stands with
Ruddy neck and legs, and cheeks all
Red and fed with chips and lollies,
Protesting - not time for bed!

The sea heaves a sigh,
The sky cools to cobalt,
The heat wavers, decides to stay,
In the bay,
In moonlight floating.
Hushed amethyst.
Don't move a muscle in
This moment 
Of this one day,
In this year.
Of your life.

The water’s edge
Disappears into the sand.
The sun trips over the horizon,
The moon swoons.
Eyes close.
Ahhhhhh inhales as a
Slumbering down


The schools are back but
The lads linger the evening
On the rock, they shock jump
Demanding the girls' eyes.
The girls splash, so can we!
Sliding down from high summer
They only see a summer sea.

But the lifeguards have migrated
With the birds of the sun.
How far on the tightrope of
This facade of summer
Will our longing suspend the fall?

Tides push in, stirring the sand,
No more crystal clear flashing fish
Or splashing battles.
The tides are stronger
Pushing over summer.
Unable to stand,
Summer falls.

Autumn lies gently in the rain,
Stirs the mists,
Raises the warning 
Of storming the citadel of summer.
Tearing down the north wind
Pushing the late swimmers into
The warm sea.
That knows the time of year,
And will take its time to cool
The ardour.

Then as Autumn swirls the cloak 
On leaving centre stage
The flood tide floodlights
The white surf high sea.
Cooling all comers.
Warning all comers.
Too cold, too cold!
They fall away one by one,
To leave the sea to me.

Will I survive?

The nucleus to my electron cloud,
Langland spins around
Our hut impertinent to the sea,
Balanced, poised at the edge of land.

Row upon row of identically different,
Huts in Buckingham green,
Percentaged in bye-lawed white.
Conformity treated with indifference.

But always the sea.
In the sea, out of the sea.
Welcome cuppa tea.
Refuge from the storm.

Or sits the afternoon,
In the wood warm sun.
Patches of a patchwork quilt,
Part of the scenery.

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!

Buckets and spades
And bodyboards and nets.
Jolly Roger the children cutlass
The day pool treasure.

Tablecloth sarnis.
Sit and sit. Inhale.
The towels hanging,
Betrothed to the sea.
Best man pebbles in two
Noah's Ark. In the mirror
The Atlantic rolls away.
The horizon rushes in.

My beach hut is my secret door
To a secret world at
The edge of daring.
But do drop in for a cuppa

The mad wood whittler of Rotherslade Road
Has painted her shed red door - white!
Terminally pallid dead eye,
Retinal artery bled to death.
No longer a landmark for our steps
Our milestone to the shore?

I pleaded sanity consider
Neptune's crab red blood,
Not the bloodless Excalibur.
Not the milk of the land of
Cow herds, white walls, dairy floor.
But blazing sunsets bleeding the bay
To roar in the homeward door.

Blood tears fall before
This cadaver's pulseless morgue.
It need not be this way I say!
Red paint again the door.
Knife the valley's wooded side
With a marker for the King.
We will stride abreast the ardour
Swimmers to the sea.
As rule Britannia burns heraldic,
In yonder red, red door.

So please don't say
No. No more red.
Permit this mad whittler
To whittle your argument down,
And red door and turning
We'll admire your Trafalgar.
My madam, armada, amour.

Look! Don't look at me like that.
Head to one side, eyes wide.
You usually blink away.
You must be narked.
Doh! You silly cat,
It's not my fault,
I didn't do it!
Did I?
It was the vet.
I just took you there.
Look, I'm as sorry as you.
Oh don't look at me like that.
The tooth had to come out - right?

Look, come back here! 
Come back now!
Listen, I'm talking to you.
Oh God! Don't sulk away
And turn your back on me.
Miaow. Tail in the air.
Don't strut away and
Sulk, slink, sulk.

The vet said you were a friendly cat,
Talking to them all day.
You were purring later
When she checked you over
And sent you on your way.
But now you are home
Is this what you think of me?

Well go and sit in the greenhouse
And see if the tomatoes care.
I'll put your box away 
And have a nice cup of tea.


Ah! Ha!

So now you're back.
Rubbing for your dinner.
You've made your point,
Well there you are.
Eat up.
We'll say no more.

Enjoyed that? 
Washing over your ears.
Are we friends again?
Yes, she blinks.
Yes, she thinks.
Nice to be back home.

Night, night.
Sleep tight.
My life-long friend.
My ...

Ricky Ticky Tabbi Woo

West pier floating on a dark, dark night.
Pirate baccy teeth bite the rust flaking rail,
Guarding us, on ancient planks, from the mariner's
Deep black well. Glow worms wriggle.
Jim-Lad black patch slips aye the moon.
Peg-legged fishing rods bob, bob, bob.

The unseen horizon haunts seaward
Heaving our shoulders, shivering the spell.
Hands cold to the rail we droop our eyes
On the river in spate of ourselves.
The electric eels dash back and forth
Between the dockyard lights and their rebounding.

At the edge of light, velvet darkness.
At the edge of land, a silky sea.
At the edge of fear, panic in the womb,
As the waters break, no blazing light,
But a dark slow beckoning from yon tomb.
The end of the pier show.

Doleful, as dark men work the docks we hear
A clanking chain, moans in the night.
The rod end dances in the stars, A bite!
No, the rod is teasing the milky way.
Eyes hard to the tip of the rod,
Hark the pegged bite bell divines. 

Misty inland, silent between the hills,
Lies our homeward beds. Empty beds,
And empty fish bags stay our feet
Stamping cold on the frosty wood.
Shadow rats in the corners of night
Brandish their impudence.

The vacuum of this secret night
Draws our breath heavenward.
Cold hands bait the silence as
The black sea snaps its fingers,
Beckoning us down to the bowels
Astride the pier's slimy boulders.

Down the rickety ladder,
From deceased joiner’s hands,
Weathering, weathering.
Closer periscope the sea, beg
Reward my rectitude madam,
Let the fishes bite. Please.

The lugworm has gone, along with
The coffee flavoured sandwiches that
Bloody recipe bizarre had garnished.
We peel ourselves away from the night.
With plum-bob lead feet, we turn,
To plod depleted home.

But …

Deep in the shoals of night
A memory has taken the bait.

Recollection in my reflection.
A dead image of dad.
Eyes interlocked, unmoving.
Timeless in our time,
Frozen in his time,
My time to stare and stare.

What is he thinking,
About me, through my eye?
Tip of the tongue we hang
Silent across time.

Close my eyes to ask myself
What did we do?
What did we think?
Back then,
When he was at work
And I was at play.
It was home there where 
I stare and stare.
Not here, not there.
Did we talk? Think!

He had a feeling for history,
A care for the past. 
He explained things.
But his past he could not share
Of war where separation stung.
Looking at me pleading softly.

No money then,
Hard work all day and after too.
No fun really.
Some sparky anecdotes and 
A simple view of death.

He was well thought of.
By everyone.
But who was he?
Who was I?
I was a boy.
Was he
An old man?
A young man?
One of the boys?
Away at war
One of the men?
Daddy fodder.

Silently sanguine.
Why does he not speak to me now?
With a voice remembered?
Did we speak? We must have.
What of? Say!
Why am I caught looking at him 
Looking at me 

Was he what dads were made of?
Or did I make him dad?
Or did he call me son
Reciprocating dad?

Eternity in an instant,
Gazing back at me.
Dad days,
Son days,

The end?

The tapestry has been darned,
Dross threadbare gold.
The scene can be seen - just,
But it looks so old and so cold.
A miniature of the masterpiece,
For he has stepped outside.
It is smaller, it is older, 
He is older.
Both have been darned.

Old buildings have gone.
New buildings irritate.
Lanes of memory brambled,
Overgrown, stand waiting.
The gutters spluttering,
Game for a laugh,
Brook no more fun.
The artisans have lost their hands.
Handsome in their talent
They relent.

The transit of Venus.

Shops, cheek to jowl,
No argument,

Pubs forested.
Chapels shrunk.
The child's excursion
End to end,
Took time. 
Now time takes time.
The adult recoils,
The village stares incredulous.
Who is this old man lost?
Who used to cycle - look no hands!
Who used to ... used to ...
No mind now,
Too late.
Too late in the day.

Summer has overgrown Autumn.
Cold will anneal.
As I kneel 
Wrapped in the old tapestry.


The children of Spring are dancing.

The transit of Venus.

                D   A   R   K  
                                D   A   R   K

Dark cold chilblain childhood
Dark ruins
Dark times
Dark slag

-----------------------------  D
Dark street lights
Dark church walls
Dark funerals

A  -----------------------------  A

Dark whispers of
Dark empty purses
Dark jobs
Dark futures

R  -----------------------------  R

Dark rooms
Dark beds
Dark coal
Dark smoke
Dark fire
Dark cobbled tears

K  -----------------------------  K

Dark tunnels
Dark dead
Dark mines
Dark retribution
Dark blood on snow
Dark rough roads
Dark heather

-----------------------------  D

Dark diets after a
Dark war
Dark malt
Dark ink in milk in
Dark stone schools

-----------------------------  A

Dark threads of life
Dark finger nails
Dark squeals
Dark carbon rats
Dark suns
Dark tar roads

-----------------------------  R

Dark thoughts
Dark minds
Dark village
Dark town
Dark country
Dark world

----------------------------  K

Dark black-leaded
Dark hobs of hell
Dark in this dark
Dark patina
Dark Lucifer will
Dark drag you down
Down, down, down

D   A   R   K  
               D   A   R   K  
                               D   A   R   K

Feelings spin feelings,
Falling back forward a
Memory of memories
Rattles the words.
The cacophony of a soliloquy 
Slips into a duet.
Orchestrated, the sluices of the mind
Compress the flow of words.
The lake fills.
The dam poem is born.

Look inside for the words and
They are gone.
Look outside and 
There is nothing there.
Look down at the silent words,
Then spin shiver around, 
There is nothing there!
Wait and the ghostly words 
Cloak the mist astir.
Widens the cockles.
The writer in the writer writes.
The inner tears weep.

At a critical point
The poem takes control.
The words have a life of their own.
They are talking to me now.
The words are the poet.
The poet but a bridge.

Where is it coming from?
Perhaps I'll never know.
But here it is.
So there it is!
For all eternity.
For everyone.
For you.

47 years ago 
I held you in my arms,
Sweet sixteen.
The dance floor dancers receded.
I was wrapped in you and
I knew, you were the one.
Love at first sight.

I met you again
When the snow swirled in the lamplight
And you might not turn up.
But you did, and we swirled
In conversation.

Many conversations that year
When our shadows walked in step.
When our hands clasped dreams
The year of our first embrace.

46 years ago
We mumbled "forever"
In the lane where we always 
Stopped to kiss.
Our arms more ardent,
We held each other tight.
Each with the same thought.

The future lost from sight,
Just the moment.
Then we got engaged and
The world knew.
But our world was each other.

Too young to plan
We moved forward on wings of love.
Shut everything out until we were together,
Eyes in each other's eyes.
The year when we became one.

45 years ago
We floated in the stratosphere, 
Breathless above the clouds.
The sunshine continuous.
Gliding, soaring, wheeling
Around, no need to perch.
Ballast the vicar church.

Who tried to bring us down to earth.
To set the enormity of our journey.
We did not listen for 
It was another language.
All we hear is each other.

I took you,
You took me.
With my body I thee worship.
But we were already one that day of
The year when we got married

44 years ago
Behind the closed door 
Of our first home, waiting for
Each other together.
Sparse the furnishings.
Spartan the days.
Rich together - always.

Soothing domesticity 
Somehow exciting.
Meals and sitting,
Talking bed.
Burning with love.

Tingling trepidation,
Breathless independence.
Alone together,
Needing no one.
The year we built a home.

43 years ago
And we were in your belly.
Family progression eternal.
How right it all seemed
As we drifted along together.
When morning sickness stopped
And you blossomed.

Love of an intensity 
Of which we had an inkling
When we snatched our courting kisses.
Now laying with us as we dream
Of tomorrow's baby - ours.

Closer the day speeds.
Longing enough for three.
Kicking in your belly.
The year we finally realised.

42 years ago
And you went in
And they took control as
I held your hand as
Our baby was born.

Back home and
You were a mum.
How I loved you both 
In my arms.
Tiny baby.

Huge love affair.
Excitement in another routine.
Leaning against each other tired.
The year Andrew was born.

41 years ago
Nappies sagging the clothes line.
Baby crawling on the grass.
Another on the way.
You were caring for us all
As you always did,
And do to this very day.

Then in you went,
But you were in control.
No sooner there,
Than he was there,
With his mum.

And dad was beaming
At you both.
The ward receded.
Eyes only for each other.
The year when Mike was born.

40 years ago
On the factory floor
Of talcum, pins and poo.
Our team designate sorted
This and that in turn,
Bringing order to the zoo.

One to bed,
Two to bed,
Finishing up us two.
Sit beside me,

Exhaustion shared,
And so to bed,
The four of us, 
Until one wakes.
The year of a family new.

39 years ago 
We stride out at last
To the beach to splash.
The boys on all fours
Bums in the sea.
Mallard, drake
And ducklings.

Sunny love rising.
First steps on our way
Hand in hand again,
Two hearts in a double buggy;
If you knew the trouble we've been!

Smiles kissing smiles through
Weary days in love, with
No time to savour the moment.
Surges the sea in
The year of dawn to dusk.

38 years ago
Mum dad and the boys.
Had we ever been two?
In each other's eyes did
The crystal ball foretell
Of this fullness of time?
Were the boys there?

Well here they are.
A bigger part of us than
We are of each other.
Until they grow we are in them.
They are us.

Love expands,
Love enfolds,
Surrounds us,
Is us, in
The year of us four.

37 years ago
There was no time
To savour storm, the
Tumult of personalities
Who jigged the web,
As they spun cocoons
Of silken thread.

Rattling the cage, and
The pots and pans.
Pandora's spinning
Top spun out in blended colour,
Wobbling as it sang.

Bouncing off each other.
Leaning on each other.
Making each other.
Never without each other.
The year of a busy family.

36 year ago
And off to school and nursery.
A little bit of us left with them.
Our eyes held hands
As you adjusted their coats
And lunch packs of love.
Little shoes unsure.

Routine walks for similar folks,
Mums and dads so proud.
Little boys and
Little pals,
And little left to say.

How was your day? OK.
How did it go today? OK.
Lunch OK? OK.
What's on TV?
The year was OK. OK?

35 years ago
And our love was annealed 
In the hard work of home and
Striving to make ends meet.
We were in harness together.
Family crises, dogs that bark 
As the caravan passes.

Our love over the years had
Ensured that we trusted 
Each other to be there.
Two together stronger 
For our family.

These were the days we clung together.
The days we needed each other more.
We rested in each other's knowing.
Tested, we cared one for the other.
The year we levelled out.

34 years ago
Nice boys growing,
The centre of our world.
We were venturing further afield
To Gower beaches and adventures,
Loving in nature,
Expressing ourselves.

Sharing experiences that
Laid down memories,
Colouring who we were.
Walking back home as one,
Remembering as the day.

Mum and dad we
Drew breath at dusk,
As the music took us
Hand in hand back to
The year we fell in love.

33 years ago
We luxuriated in the boys’ minds.
Shared their thoughts original.
They turned to us again and again,
Bringing themselves to us,
As we held hands and
Spun the web around us all.

We all wove in and out
Of each other's perceptions,
Opinions, priorities,
As we forged our oneness
As a family and as individuals.

Peaches and cream,
Lemon sherbet,
High days, low days,
We were enjoying the feast.
The year we were comfortable.

32 years ago
You were 32.
My sweet 16 now
Twice as sweet.
Andrew was 10.
Mike was 9.
I was 35.

But numbers naught,
We were the Youngs.
Young by name,
Young by nature.
And proud of it.

Who would have thought 
When we kissed and cuddled,
That a generation stood
In thrall.
The year of us all.

31 years ago
31 Pentrechwyth Road.
Nanna and Grandpa and toast
On the fork at the fire.
Butter running 
Through the generations.
Hands holding hands, holding hands.

All could see each other
In each other, unspoken.
Dad of dad, and son's sons.
Tell us about Cairo!
On the back step warm.

We cannonade the pinballs.
We sit fast, slow and listen,
Nan and Gramp are talking 
Of the days.
The years beyond years.

30 years ago
Andrew in comprehensive.
Where has the time gone?
I remember secondary school,
And now he's there.
The family has crossed the Rubicon.
Mike next and then?

The boys are drifting away,
But we feel the acceleration.
The run up to the hill of knowledge.
The leap across.

We are proud of them, 
Of each other.
Our boys,
 "Good boys"
Gramp always said.

29 years ago
Both boys in the big school,
School uniform days.
We feel their homework 
Picking up the homework 
Of our nurture days, those
Nappyness days.

Side by side at the door
Waving down the drive
At satchels full,
Side by side,
They chat away to school. 

mmm we sigh,
Eye to eye,
Hand in hand,
All as planned.
The year it need not be spoken.

28 years ago
The boys were sailing
On worldly words,
Expanding horizons of
We were lost in them
Losing them slowly.

Our love for each other
Added to more than the sum,
For they were proof
Of each of us in the
Family growing.

Our love shivered
Between the family and
Between our hearts.
We were melded in
The year we grew even closer.

27 years ago
The first brow of the hill
Beckons in two years.
First big exams.
There will be brow after brow,
Forever now,
We know.

We are pushing them up,
Although we know it means out.
This is why we are in each other.
Why else?
Stockpile the love of harvest.

For long dark days, for
So they will seem,
On the trajectory in
The year of the glittering prizes.

26 years ago
Hard work every day.
No money.
No holidays away.
Rain walks,
Damp spirits.
Summer talks in whispers.

This is when we lean on each other.
Not always enough.
Doubts don't dent,
We still cling cheek to cheek.
But weary.

Is clearly not clear
Where we are between 
Who we were then
And who we will be.
The year we were not sure.

25 years ago
School day exams,
Beach days, sun, swim.
Off with their mates as
We lie together
Heart beats together apart.

Breathing in and out.
Tide ebb and flow.
Days and nights 
Clapping the moon.

The days we all waltz
In and out of each other.
But we were partners in step.
Thinking in each other's arms.
The year we welded.

24 years ago
We have been subjugated 
To pushing the rope.
Andrew has passed,
Mike half way.
Half empty nest.

One so far away,
Yet close in our thoughts.
One so close,
Yet working away,

Bated breath.
Keep working together as a team.
Anxiety the electric magnet.
Spinning tops again.
The year of the almost.

23 years ago
Mike has excelled
As well.
As we knew he would
But dare not say.
Now both are away.
Empty nest.

Motorway days.
Hi - Goodbye.
Not easy.

Time with each other
Time all together
The year of the colleges.

22 years ago
And the boys have matured,
We can feel their independence,
As we feel our interdependence.
Proud love for what
Each of us has done together.

It was in our eyes
All those years ago.
Unsaid then.
Realised now, we were
Mum and dad kids.

Wedded future
Has flowered, seeded,
Blown away in the warm wind
The years of the harvest.

21 years ago
Twenty one!
My age when we married 
And we owned each other.
When you blossomed 
Pink confetti icing.

I have that image 
In my heart.
Soft, misty veil of
Tears of love.
I fell into you then.

I am in you now
And you in me.
There is only space for love.
It hurts.
The year of nothing else.

20 years ago
The boys have girlfriends and
We meet in them ourselves,
All those years ago unsure.
They are far more sure
Than we were.
We were so young.

Our hearts are honed 
Tears to the stone.
Rock solid soft in love

Hold my hand.
We see, we smile.
We remember 
Embracing then, living
That year again.

19 years ago
And nineteen was your age
When we married.
Younger than the boys today,
As they graduate higher.
You have graduated as a mum,
Supreme in all our lives.

The centre of all our worlds,
Our family and of our marriage.
You are in us all and
Always will be for the betterment
Of the whole family and
Future families.

Our love was ardent,
Was taken for granted.
We were so busy.
Now my love for you is an ache.
In the year Suepreme. 

18 years ago
We had no money,
Never had.
But we were rich.
What more could I want?
You cannot buy the days,
These days.

Salad days.
Halcyon days.
Soft days.
Hard days.
Sad / happy days.

There are no other days.
These were our days.
We made them.
You made them.
In this year you are them.

17 years ago
The boys have PhDs.
Gradually the family has graduated.
They are away in other countries.
We have a longing,
Long for them.

We long for each other, alone
At last? Inevitably.
They belong to their partners.
We know they must have
What we had.

Their first embrace.
Their soft kisses.
Eyes only for each other.
Give me that first kiss again.
The years expanded.

16 years ago
Our second honeymoon,
That we realise has been lifelong.
We cling to each other 
In a shared vision of the boys,
Their partners and 
Their future.

Obviously you will say.
But we knew all along,
But dared not voice,
That this is how it was to be.
We made it.

The boys did it.
The future is theirs and
You are mine at last,
The year I was yours 

15 years ago
Drifts into
14 years ago
What changes now?

13 years ago
Caitlyn was born in Bergen.
Did we see her 
In the boys’ eyes, in our eyes?
Probably not but
Were the boys in our parents’ eyes?

Time to see her beauty,
With no nappy days.
Time to see her ways,
As she loves us all.
Love from all envelops.

It's hard to believe 
That Faeroese and Celtic
Pasts can create such
A beautiful granddaughter.
The year of the grandmother.

12 years ago
We can see our early days.
Were we like that?
We were so much younger.
How did we do it?
But love did it.
Didn't it?

We had enough love for three,
And now we have enough love for seven!
Dolls not cars.
Another dimension.

Picture on the wall.
Parents, us,
Boys, wives, couples,
And now Caitlyn.
The year that saw tomorrow.

11 years ago
Sharing with the other grandparents 
The total joy
That Caitlyn has brought.
Our love is boundless,
For all the families,
And for each other.

Joy in joy,
We are so blessed.
This must be a common emotion.
But we remember those first kisses.
They are ours alone.

They seem so important in recall.
Love can be thin out of mind.
But always there.
The sweet sixteen thread.
To the year before ...

10 years ago
Jude was born in America.
I was at the beach in the sun,
When the call came through.
I drew his name in pebbles in the sand.
In seaweed, and took a photo.
Transatlantic ecstatic.

Grandparents again shared
The enormity of a life created.
We have love enough for eight.
We cannot believe it.
Boy, oh boy!

We melt together again,
Hold each other tight.
Try as we might
Our tears mingle.
The year global.

9 years ago
And Kara was born.
A personality among personalities.
Richness beyond our dreams.
We have come a long way
Since our day.

You retired, and Nanna 
Was around much more.
I was left alone with my thoughts of you.
I am sure you were too busy
To think of me.

But I thought of you
Thinking of me.
A golden thread.
The year of Susie Q

8 years ago
And our beach hut expanded
To take the buckets and spades,
And bats and balls,
And fishing nets.
You do so love the beach and 
The kiddie castles. 

Each shriek a golden grain.
The tide of our life 
In full spate.
In the summer sun I see
You as you were when we were young.

You were innocent,
Breeze in your hair.
That open smile,
That loving embrace.
The year of summer suns.

7 years ago
And I retired.
Time was ours.
Your time to help everyone 
In the family.
Mine to tag along again,
As I did when the boys were small.

It was you always
Who built the home and
Led the caring way.
I was there at the edge,
A support in the storm.

Girdled in love
You spin the days
Of fun and caring, 
Strengthening them.
The year you were a mum again.

6 years ago
Frederick was born.
Last but far from least.
One boy each for each.
Two boys two girls
Flash the rainbow.
Nanna, Nanna come quick!

Yes, come quick to me
My lovely.
Kiss me and spin to see
Them laughing.

My darling one
Your warmth is
Naturally overflowing.
Given to all
The year of you and me - and them.

5 years ago
Looking for roles.
Visits to the boys less often.
Our new house and 
Our walks to the sea.
You and me
And nature.

Preparing for visits.
Waiting for the kids
To share the sea,
And to share you with me.
They are the making of us.

We see their ages
Of our ages.
Of our walk through life.
Of you and me - think back to
The year we said forever.

4 years ago
Routine as set in - a bit.
The sea swims,
The years float by.
Visits coalesce.
But after all these years.


The children chatter
Any weariness away.
Laughter all the way
From dawn to dusk.
The year of sunny smiles.

3, 2, 1 years ago


Kiss me quick xxx

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