This morning Poet-in-Residence took himself for a walk on a hill in summer-like weather. This poem, basically unrevised, is almost straight from the poet's notebook, but serves to give an idea of what Poet-in-Residence gets up to as the weather improves.
Spring on Oak Hill
Between the bomb craters
the grass is flat to the ground and grey
and bursting through
between the grassy straws are furry cowbells
like fluffy mice they are -
most hairy to the touch. Nearby are
scrubby oak trees with pale brown leaves
and tiny spiders throwing lines
and rosehip tangles and old black berries.
Loamy molehills fill a corner of a field
- the moles have been busy building hills
for beetles to trundle up and down - and then suddenly
there on the wooded bank in winter's wreckage
of wood and fencepost
the violets. I stoop to inhale their perfume.
And then I hear the rustling
of the zephyr in the crabby oaks
- that tiny stream of sound like the wings
of a thousand butterflies. It comes and goes
in its intensity.
There's now a ruined shed with its roof caved-in
and the door gone. I look inside at shadows
on a limestone wall and on the floor
inspect a broken window. All around the unseen
birds twitter and gargle with throaty
chirping and warbling - syncopation in trees
and somewhere hidden in the grass.
The pale earth path leads through a tangle
- only the dog rose in leaf,
through more bomb craters
with mossy stones
and sleeping lizards waiting for
There's the courting ritual of the great-tit to witness -
hopping from tree to tree with his follow-me song, and
constantly glancing over his shoulder, but he needn't
worry; she tails him quietly - at a suitable distance.
On the top of the hill there's a man
stripped to the waist
flying a colourful kite for a girl. And a woman
with a voice like a squeaky wheel. I crunch
a snail's abandoned shell underfoot as I come to the top,
to the smashed concrete of an old battery and the spent
fireworks of the New Year celebrations.
c)- Gwilym Williams 2008
P-i-R has decided to work on this rough draft in public as it were. The first thing is that it must now cool its heels for a couple of weeks so that it can be revisited with new eyes.