Waves crash like the sea.
On Lake Hawea.
Walking is ‘like Norfolk in some ways’ says Alison.
The sea sound and the pines.
The sand dune feeling though without the sand.
Flowers play truant from beds along the path.
California poppies! we barely saw them there
But here they crowd in hot gold clumps
And others, tall spikes of lemon yellow coins
And, of course, the lupins, always lupins
We’re here with Benny Scruffy Bach
The darling of his aunts
Allowed to spend his never-ending holiday all unkempt
His old chairs, worn carpets, unmatched plates and cups
All pass for poetry in this rough scapegrace
Poetic thoughts, too, on the wall
He has a charm, don’t doubt it
Or if you do then read the visitors’ book
Where chunky, unlined comments
Ruffle his hair affectionately.
The waves rush on at Lake Hawea
Odd for water that’s not going anywhere.
You’d think it would sit still and contemplate
These high and broken bookends of the lake
And not rush on to nowhere
You feel it whirls the clouds itself
Like boys who whirl their conkers round and round
In Alt-y-Ryn in autumn game
How time flies off in any hemisphere
It grows on me, the crib
Becomes the prefab up on Ridgeway
Above the far-off channel of the Severn
Where I still find myself a boy
The Southern Cross notwithstanding.
Could I have been as native to the bach
If I’d somehow, you know,
Been more unkempt, more tousled
More outgoing, restless
More inclined to truant
And whirl the conker high
And far, may be, as land beneath the Southern Cross
Here I’ve come together with that other, bolder kid
We sit on the veranda watching
As the waves crash like the sea
On Lake Hawea
(I’ve christened the Deniston road Bach ‘Benny Scruffy Bach’. I grew up in Newport, Gwent or Monmouthshire as it was then known on the Severn estuary. That was in the prefab estate on Ridgeway by Alt-y-Ryn woods.)