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Gareth L Evans

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Popular Poetry (Travel)
  1.  Sanibel Retreat
  2.  IT begins...

Deep Into the Heart of Wales
by Gareth L Evans
Sunday, July 20, 2003

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Recent poems by Gareth L Evans
•  Si Hay un Dios le Pido Esto (If there is a God I ask him this)
•  Life is a Mountain
           >> View all 3

**PLEASE NOTE: If after reading the poems you wish to purchase a bound copy complete with 32 colour photographs, maps and a route summary (payment just covers printing cost - non-profit), then please email me at All copy rights remain my own.**

In the summer of 2003, Gareth Evans walked the length of Wales from Cardiff to Holyhead, taking 28days to cover over 500km and 18000m of ascent. Twenty-eight poems were inspired by the journey. Some are humorous, some are philosphical, some are descriptive and all are the product of quiet, solitary observation. Join Gareth as he probes "deep into the heart of Wales."

1. The Caerphilly Cows

The Caerphilly Cows want to share my pasta
They creep up slowly and then fasta and fasta
The Caerphilly Cows must be sick of their cud
They’re hatching a plan but I don’t think they should
The Caerphilly Cows look vicious and mean
Fat hungry beasts for my food they are keen
The Caerphilly Cows have round drooping udders
The stare that they give is making me shudder
The Caerphilly Cows think I’m a fool
At the smell of my tea they’re beginning to drool
The Caerphilly Cows try to circle about
They’re far too close now and I want to get out
The Caerphilly Cows think they’re doing just fine
But I’ve been walking all day and the food is mine
The Caerphilly Cows are giving me hell
“That’s it! Enough!” I leap up and yell
The Caerphilly Cows turn in dismay
Black, pink and white running away

2. People I Once Knew

I came back to my tent for some peace and quiet
As I lie down and close my eyes all is silent
But slowly my senses lose their usual numbness
And the silence is alive with sound
I eavesdrop into the gossip of the birds
Their voices relay from tree to tree
Staccato squawks, pauses, whistles, riffs and trills
The deep throaty call of the crow
There is a rustle nearby, probably a sheep
Down in the valley is the low rumble of heavy machinery
A fly is trapped somewhere below the outer part of the tent
The sheep bleats and is answered by the crow
A gun is fired in some far off place, then another
A car passes down the lane, the machinery still whirs
The fly has a problem getting free, buzzing, hitting itself on the canvas
The sheep is close now, I can hear it chewing, now swallowing even
I sneeze twice, now I can hear lots of sheep
All the time there is the hum of the electricity cables
A grasshopper clicks, the fly keeps buzzing
I breathe, my pen scribbles, my watch bleeps, I sniff
The things I cannot hear create a silent cacophony
And people I once knew keep talking to me, I can hear them now

3. Dopey Dafydd

“There’s a tractor just round the corner, I can hear it
OK, there’s a low-flying aircraft somewhere, I can hear it
OK, they’re blasting in the quarry across the valley, I can hear it
Wow, sounds like they’ve had an accident in the quarry
Perhaps there’s a rescue helicopter on its way too
My goodness, sounds like the quarry is falling down
Maybe there’s a quarry in the next valley too
Strobe lighting, must be to attract the rescue helicopter
Blimey, maybe all the valleys are having a quarry-blasting competition
Maybe it’s a national holiday and all the villages have fireworks
A bit silly to have fireworks in this rain I reckon
Flipping heck, I think Bin Laden is attacking Glamorgan
No way, that’s incredible, a synchronised invisi…………..”
[Just then, Dopey Dafydd was struck by a bolt of lightning]

4. A Park in Merthyr Tydfil

An elderly couple walk side by side
They’re like chalk and cheese
Oversized women, one in a bright pink top
Power-walking, trying to lose weight
Men with weather-beaten faces sit by the lake
Discussing the weather and trying to catch fish
Children dart around and shoot down slides
Excited cries on the whirling roundabout
Some sit in silence up on the hill
Each has their own park bench to themselves
Older kids race each other on bikes
Girls chatting away and eating their sweets
Some kids discuss the weather and try to catch fish
Mimicking the older men on the other side of the lake
I wonder how old the men were when they first decided to sit there
On the other side of the lake

5. Y Tri Ceffylau Gwynion y Garn Ddu

The three white horses of the black hill
Glistening like snow
Listening I know
For the fall of a walker’s foot
Eaten by black midges
Here on these broad ridges
The sun glinting off their coats
The three white horses of the black hill
Tall and elegant
Strong and magnificent
Such beauties to behold
Leg muscles twitch
Tails swish
Powerful, majestic and bold
But when they are gone what will there be?
Just the black hill and a mountain of fleas?
But what’s this?
There’s something I’ve missed
Down there on the ground
A brown foal is found
The pride of the three white horses
One day he too knows
His coat will be snow
With a shining purity
Symbolic of all nature’s forces

6. The Many Hands of the Brecons

Vast green fingers
Weathered and ancient
Wrinkled by streams
Moulded by glaciers
Speckled white by sheep
Scarred by paths
Stained by clouds
Washed by the rain
Dried by the wind
Glorious green fingers
Trembling not as they reach
Deep into the Heart of Wales
Dark knuckles like beacons
Watching over the land
And soft round fingertips
Caressing the valleys

7. The Awakening of Cymru

A giant lies beneath a thick white quilt
Softly sleeping, hidden from the starlit night
Then slowly, silently, as the sun sends forth its first threads of light
Dark shapes emerge like ghostly silhouettes
The many heads of the land peer out above the creamy white blankets
Their shoulders still draped in watery silk
Quietly the sheets drift and slide away like shadows
Fresh light spilling down through the broken mist
And surely, slowly, slowly, Cymru awakens

8. The Legend of Llyn-y-fan Fach

Picture the scene as we turn back the clock
A young lonely farmer is herding his flock
Llyn-y-fan Fach is shimmering blue
The scarp of the Brecons is beautiful too
Inspired by the splendour of the fairytale lake
The hard-working lad he stops for a break
And from the deep waters a maiden pops out
The prettiest in the world without a doubt
The farmer is smitten and asks her to wed
But the lovely young lady is not impressed with his bread
So he returns the next day with a freshly baked loaf
She likes the taste and so takes the oath
But she can only agree to be his wife
If he agrees to a promise and keeps it for life
If he strikes her three times thus committing three sins
She’ll divorce him at once and return to the llyn
The farmer agrees, being a reasonable fellow
By nature he was very peaceful and mellow
So they married at once down in the chapel
And out of the lake came goats, sheep and cattle
Their life together was prosperous and happy
And the young farmer learnt how to change a nappy
Three sons was the sum of children they had
Strong and noble, just like their dad
Then out in the fields one fine summer’s day
The young farmer tapped his wife’s shoulder in play
Oh deary me, what terrible bad luck
He knew right away that the first blow had been struck
But the couple carried on just like before
Until a similar thing did happen once more
He been caught out twice fair and square
The young man knew that he had to take care
But one day his wife laughed in a really odd way
He shook her quite hard to see if she was OK
“I’m sorry my dear” with a sad smile she said
“Looks like our marriage is officially dead”
So the immortal maiden returned to the lake
Leaving a trail of despair in her wake
The man was distraught and so were the brothers
Their father’s mistake had cost them their mother
To the lake everyday the boys would come
Hoping to catch a small glimpse of their mum
Years went by with no luck until
She came to tell them they should cure the ill
Despite the end of their parents’ alliance
She gave them the gift of medical science
Then alas the poor lady left with a sigh
And the lads returned to their farm in Myddfai
With their mother’s present they became pretty slick
Soon mastering the art of healing the sick
They earned themselves a fine reputation
The best medical men in the entire nation
They developed a catalogue of knowledge sublime
Handing it down time after time
Now the lady of the lake continues to hide
Of her sons’ achievements glowing with pride
Take what you will from this peculiar story
But the legend lives on in all its glory
Llyn-y-fan Fach is still shimmering blue
And the scarp of the Brecons is still beautiful too

9. Cymru, Gymru, Chymru or Nghymru?

Telyn, delyn, thelyn or nhelyn
Harp, harp, harp or harp
Nhelyn, delyn, thelyn or telyn
To speak the Welsh language you have to be sharp
Delyn, telyn, nhelyn or thelyn
All meaning harp but all different words
Thelyn, nhelyn, telyn or delyn
To many this seems fairly absurd
A funny example of many Welsh vices?
A language with an identity crisis?
No, it’s a plot devised over time
To increase the number of words that can rhyme
By mutating letters they triple the score
Strange endings for plurals create even more
They love the old tongue and are not scared to show it
That’s why the Welsh are a nation of poets

10.Jonah had it Lucky

“Why?” I ask myself
A very good question
Why why why am I here?
In a tent
In the rain
On a hill
By a lake
In a bog
In the most remote part of Wales?
The loneliest man in all the land
If it carries on raining maybe I’ll sink
In the tent so that I have an air-pocket to breathe
So that I won’t notice until I wake up
And then it’ll be too late
Jonah had it lucky being eaten by a whale
Being eaten by Wales has to be worse
The midges eat me too
I hope it stops raining soon

11. Red Kite

Silently soaring on fingered wings
Twisting and turning and using the breeze
Gliding above us he sees many things
Side-slipping, diving and dipping with ease
His beady eyes pick out his prey
Above the ridge he starts to hover
Making minor adjustments for the wind on his way
He swoops on his victim without any bother
The vale of Cwmystwyth is far down below
Splendidly glowing in the late evening sun
The red kite spins and puts on a show
He really knows how to have some fun
He’s the red kite, the colour of Wales
The path of his flight writes a song in the skies
The Welsh Dragon’s tongue is in the fork of his tail
Power and beauty clash as he flies

12. Out Here

Out here
I’m a tiny speck on a map
Only God knows where I am
I can speak my troubles
And tell my passions
Unveil my hopes and admit my fears
And the wind carries them away
To those who need to hear them
And maybe they shall hear them
In their dreams

13. The Aberystwyth Angel

The Celtic Angel of the West stands guard
Hovering over the ancient ruins
The stiff occidental wind in his face
The Welsh sea wall tonight splashed red by the sun
An oscillating mass of blood
Like the blood of ghosts
Of men who gave their lives for freedom
The stone angel sees and remembers all
A guardian of peace watching over Wales
Policing the flags of the nations
That line the seafront on union
And the red turns to orange fades to black
Like our memories of war and destruction
We must not forget

14. The Common Celtic Vulture (aka: The Seagull)

No food litters the Aber seafront
The gulls are stocky and fat
Like Gaelic vultures in grey and white
They strut along the prom with beady eyes
Searching for the edible shrapnel of tourists
Fish, chips, breadcrumbs, old pizza crust, children’s sweets
Chocolate, ice-cream, crisps, the odd sausage
It’s a wonder those beasts can still fly
Intimidating, defiant squawks
Designed to make you rush your food
Hovering dangerously above
Threatening aerial bombardment
Ready to pounce at any moment
Selfish, greedy, dishonest, unforgiving
They never share their takings
A solitary scrap prompts a skirmish
Survival of the fittest or maybe the fattest
The bigger ones always win the fight
The pigeons struggle to compete
Against the fascist, chip-eating seagulls
On the Celtic fringe of Europe

15. The Martians are Coming

Across the lush green valley
High above the acres of pine
Set against the blue and grey Welsh sky
An army of machines stands tall
Thin slender bodies of shining steel
Arms that whirl and slice the air
Mighty white metallic sentinels
Watching over our every movement
Slowly appearing on all horizons
Deathly silent slaves to power
Ugly huge grotesque invaders
Destroying our pleasant Cambrian hills
Menacingly perched on their monopod legs
Staining the beauty of rural Wales
Doing their work where they don’t belong
The Wind Farm Martians are here

16. Wet Feet

My acquisition of extensive views
Comes at the cost of terrible news
Making my way to the top of the hill
My walking boots with water did fill
As I balanced on stones to cross the river
The rock underneath me started to quiver
Punishing me for trying to be flash
I landed at once with a great big SPLASH
As I curse the existence of wobbly rocks
The wet stuff starts saturating my socks
My feet are going “slip slap slop”
As I plod my way on up to the top
To keep myself happy I sing a song
My feet are really going to pong
At the summit I see quite a lot
I can feel my feet starting to rot
At the end of the day I start to come down
My poor little feet are beginning to drown
And the lesson behind this cute little ditty
Is that having wet feet is really……….bad.

17. The Woolly Mind of the Sheep

Yum, this patch of grass is tasty
I could stand here and eat this all day
Damn, the other guys are heading off
Hey! “Ba-aa. Ba-aa.” Oh well, mustn’t be independent
Where’s my lamb? “Ba-aa. Ba-aa”
Ahh, here she comes. Good
Mmm, this grass is not bad at all
I could stand here and eat this all day
Must stay in the group
All the others look really stupid with those patches painted on them
Glad I haven’t got one
I can’t remember bleating in the last twenty seconds
Better do my duty, “Ba-aa.” There we go
This fence is quite useful for scratching my back
This grass is tasty
I could stand here and eat this all day
What’s that noise? Doesn’t sound like a sheep
What?! A human! “Ba-aa. Ba-aa. Ba-aa”
Aaagggghhhhh!! Panic! “Ba-aa. Ba-aa.” Run!
This is the worst, scariest, most harrowing moment of my entire life!
OK, we’re outside the eighty-metre safety-zone now
That was a close one! “Ba-aa”
This grass is tasty

18. 666 The Trigpoint of the Beast (about a 666m high trigpoint)

666 The Trigpoint of the Beast
Misery and pain are bound to be released
On the way I get blisters on my feet
Peanuts are all I’ve got to eat
The slopes are evil and I’m getting out of breath
In the pine forests my legs get scratched to death
Something stings me and I get covered in lumps
I sweat and bleed as my heart speeds up its thumps
The Dyfi winds like a sinister snake below
My pack is heavy and I’ve got so far to go
Bardsey Island looks tiny out at sea
A holy outcast from this hell surrounding me
My chest still pounds as I struggle to the top
My back is sore with my lungs about to pop
But when I’m there I can see for miles and miles
The wind dies down and the Beast begins to smile
I look around and look around again
Pembrokeshire, Cadiar Idris and the Lleyn
Misery and pain have granted me a prize
The sweep of Wales a feast for human eyes
After all the Beast has brought good news
666 The Trigpoint of the Views

19. The Giant’s Potty

Cadair Idris means The Giant’s Chair
Towering up high in the air
Its vertiginous crags are steep and splendid
But I think the name should be amended
Most of the time it’s wet and grotty
It should have been called The Giant’s Potty
Behind a curtain of mist so no-one can see
The Giant sits down and has a pee
It rains so much it gets me thinking
I wonder what the Giant’s been drinking
He sometimes pees for weeks on end
The dampness drives me round the bend
Regularly I get soaked right through
The Giant loves to use the loo
But it’s no wonder he is so keen
It’s the most majestic potty I’ve ever seen

20. Bushwhacking

It’s the art of whacking bushes
So you can clear a track
Through heather, bogs and rushes
And never looking back
It’s first-class mountaineering
I give the ferns a kick
My legs are ripped and bleeding
My weapon is a stick
Through mist then rain then sun
Making progress like a snail
It’s masochistic fun
I’m determined not to fail
I’m whacking up and down
On flat ground and on steep
I should’ve been a clown
And I wish I’d used a jeep
For a proper path I pray
My limbs begin to ache
I’d hate to lose the way
And I wish I’d packed some cake
The wilds hardly make a sound
And beauty isn’t lacking
Just one movement on the ground
One lonesome man still whacking

21. Watch out for Cauliflowers!

In the mountains east of Harlech
There lives a mythical creature
More cunning than a Dalek
With just one distinctive feature
I doubt you’ve ever seen one
They come out only in bad weather
One blink and it’ll be gone
Back down amongst the heather
Rhinogs is what they’re known by
After which the hills are named
Fast and strong but shy
They never will be tamed
Figures looming in the fog
Filling you with fear
Maybe you’ve just seen a Rhinog
You can tell by its cauliflower ears
But don’t worry, they won’t eat you
They don’t need to eat a thing
Absorbing all they have to
From the energy of the wind
So when you’re out in the mist and rain
In the mountains east of Harlech
And you see those cauliflower shapes again
It’s a Rhinog not a Dalek!

22. Welsh Weather

Clotted swelling swathes of mist
Grey opaque dense and fearful
Slanted cascading streaks of rain
Chill surging lashing and damp
Weighted screaming torrents of wind
Mighty galloping biting and ferocious
Then someone somewhere flicks a switch
Unhampered gleaming oceans of sky
Blue lucid shimmering and vast
Passionate burning rays of sun
Fiery searing glowing and intense
Hushed inspiring measures of peace
Graceful enriching reviving and smooth
Then someone somewhere flicks back the switch
Then the switch gets jammed for a while!

23. The Beddgelert Tragedy

At the foot of Cymru’s most splendid mountains
Among the trees of the lush green forest
At the junction of rippling ebbing rivers
The grave of a dog named Gelert is found
The tragic tale of Gelert’s death
Is a central part of Welsh folklore
A tale of faith, bravery and anger
With a lesson within its telling
Gelert’s owner had a baby boy
So young, so sweet, so tender
To guard his beautiful bundle of joy
The man entrusted his faithful Gelert
Often he’d return from herding his sheep
To find his treasure safe and sound
Until one fateful day, to his horror
The baby’s cot was empty
In a panic the man searched high and low
“Gelert! Gelert!” he cried
And Gelert very soon appeared before him
His fangs dripping with scarlet blood
At once the master drew his sword
And slayed his dog for the dreadful deed
Betrayed and bitter he withdrew the blade
And heard the laugh of a baby boy
Lying there behind the bloody mutt
Was a small bundle of tatty rags
The child was left without a scratch
Smiling and giggling and pointing
And following the stains of blood to their source
Another corpse was found in the house
The body of an enormous wolf there was
Lying slaughtered on the ground
The man was distraught at what he had done
How could he have doubted Gelert?
Things are not always what they seem
And swift conclusions are sometimes fatal

24. The Queen of Wales

A huge triangular mass soaring towards the heavens
Strong and resilient, wise and steady
Old and ancient, a friend of time itself
Her sides are laced with jewels of shining white quartz
Steep black walls guarding her splendid slopes
Razor sharp ridges radiate from her broad thick shoulders
Decorating her palace with rusty reds and silvery greys
Crystal blue lakes shimmer serenely at her feet
Clothed in winter in a pure white gown of snow
The lords of her realm surround her like orbiting moons
Y Lliwedd, Crib Goch, Yr Aran her closest nobles
Moel Hebog and Siabod lay out their green carpets before her
Her human subjects swarm like ants upon her crown
Sometimes she is fierce but always fair to those who respect her
Her face may be scarred by human abuse and engineering
But she stands eternally proud and elegant
The immortal sovereign above everything else
Ever-watchful over the land and the people
Wales ripples away beneath her constant gaze
Standing waves in a sea of hills extend in all directions
The Queen of Wales, Yr Wyddfa, Snowdon sees it all

25. The Dragon’s Back

Turned to motionless stone by a great Welsh wizard
His red scaly back turned to a silvery grey
The most powerful dragon that ever lived
Is harnessed by a mysterious, magical spell
His elongated head peers down on the Llanberis lakes
His massive body full of spikes is a fearsome sight
His rock-studded spine slumped high above Ogwen
Gashes line his steep sides like old war wounds shooting down to Idwal
Gullies and arêtes form the webs of his folded wings
A bristly tail drops down suddenly, decorated by spectacular pinnacles
Before flicking up again with one last majestic sweep
To its triple-pronged tip soaring towards the heavens
The roar that once filled the valleys preserved forever
In the howl of the wind and the scream of the jets in Nant Ffrancon
His beauty is held in the eagles that now circle above him
He lives on in the spirit of the people of Wales
Courage and passion are mirrored in their eyes
And his fire still burns in the depths of their hearts

26. Ynys Môn (The Isle of Anglesey)

Undulating green expanse surrounded by sea
Last stronghold of the old Welsh druids
Out of reach of Roman conquest for so long
Môn the Mother of Wales
Its fortress-like cliffs plunge to the north
Lashed by foaming waves streaming in
The magic of Snowdonia seen to the south
Môn the Mother of Wales
Great pylons tower above the fields like queuing robots
Black Hawk jets shuttle across at speed
The bridges ling to Bangor like two huge umbilical chords
Môn the Mother of Wales
Manufactured tourism adding to the beach industry
A dual carriageway and a train track like twin arteries
Môn the Mother of Wales

27. All the Pretty Flowers

All the pretty flowers really brighten up the place
Tormentil in yellow and heather splashed with purple
Irresistible smells enhancing their appeal
Stars and clubs and sponges are found among the mosses
Houses proudly decorated with hanging baskets full of tulips
Outrageously sized sunflowers soaking in the rays
Ongoing messages whispered by the swaying fields of corn
All the pretty flowers injecting pollen into the air
Terrible for hay fever and good for buzzing bees
Itchy eyes, throat and nose can really get you down
Snezzing every minute or so, ATISHOOATISHOOATISHOO
Horrible tiny particles causing a common allergic reaction
Outdoors becomes a fearful place for everyone who suffers
Oozing gunge and mucus, they don’t really have much fun
All the pretty flowers are beautiful yet menacing
Tantalizingly varied everywhere you look
Indigos, pinks and scarlets are painted on the earth
Still pumping out their yellow dust as they sit there innocently
Hiding their secret weapon behind a screen of beauty
Oh for pollenless flowers that do not spoil my day
Oh for pollenless flowers that still look pretty on display

28. The Never-ending Journey

I stand alone at a misty trigpoint
The clouds boil up around me from below
Holyhead Mountain on Holy Island
The end of my pilgrimage, my Holy Grail
I have seen a slender thread running through Wales
A slender thread of geography and a slender thread of time
A beautiful land, the land of my fathers
With an iron ring of magnificent castles
The marks of an occupation that still stirs the blood
Cymru, Cymru, a proud resilient nation
Cymru I will always belong to thee
And I contemplate the end of a journey
But the journey must still go on

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