To be Welsh in Swansea is to know each stop
on the Mumbles Railway: the Slip, the Rec,
Singleton Park, Blackpill, West Cross, Oystermouth,
the Mumbles Pier. It’s to remember where single
lines turn double by Green’s ice‑cream stall.
It’s to know where the trams fall silent, like dinosaurs,
and wait without grunting for one to pass the other.
As you wait you can hear the winter roar of the rugby
crowd or St. Helen’s summer “click” of ball on bat.
Today the tide is out and the nets are golden with starfish
as if a night sky stretched across day’s horizon.
Mudflats rule the bay beyond the sand, and banana boats
ride the distant waves, waiting for the tide to turn.
When it does, the Mumbles Railway has been sold
to a Texas millionaire and the brown and yellow busses
no longer run to Bishopston, Langland, Caswell,
Pyle Corner, Pennard, Three Cliffs, Ilston, Rhossili:
sweet names of sea and sand where my father fished
for salmon bass, his thin line cast defiantly at a rising sea
that would smash the walls of the sandcastles I built to last
forever, unaware that time’s rising tide would breach
their defenses, leaving them in ruins on the summer
beaches where I dreamed my buoyant boyhood away.
Commentary: The Mumbles Pier from Limeslade. This is the first water color painted by my father’s brother, my godfather after whom I received my second name. He took up painting after he retired and became a quite accomplished amateur water colorist. He gave me four of his water colors, I particularly wanted this, his first, and the later ones are excellent, especially the award-winning paintings, of which I have one.
5 thoughts on “Swansea”
This is among your very best, to my taste. Cheers, Chuck
On Thu., Jun. 20, 2019, 2:00 a.m. rogermoorepoet, wrote:
> rogermoorepoet posted: ” Swansea To be Welsh in Swansea is to know each > stop on the Mumbles Railway: the Slip, the Rec, Singleton Park, Blackpill, > West Cross, Oystermouth, the Mumbles Pier. It’s to remember where single > lines turn double by Green’s ice‑cream stall. It’s to kn” >
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Thank you once again. It’s a golden oldie from On Being Welsh in a land ruled by the English. I love those old Welsh poems and I love going back to them. Best wishes.
I wondered where or when you had aquired the paiting. Now I know!
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It was in Cwmrhyddiceirw, when I went to visit F & M. He gave me four paintings and I have framed them all. There’s one of the Mumbles Pier with a tanker and two that won competitions in the Evening Post. He was a very talented artist and craftsman. I learned a lot from him, but he’ll never know it now.
You got his first name, I got his second name. He still lives on!