From the holiday cottage near the top
of Allt Goch Bach – Little Red Hill – west
and south is ancient woodland of ash, oak,
beech and holly. North, down the steep incline,
is Beaumaris – with its redundant castle,
gaol and quays, its narrow streets and low,
thick walled houses. East are the Menai Straits,
the A55 and the Carnedd range.
Some say the ‘red’ was the blood of the last
of the Druids – or the Royalists. Now
the hill is covered with spacious ‘80s
bespoke bungalows for wealthy pensioners.
From here, there is a landscape of invasion:
Roman, Saxon, Viking, Plantagenet
(Norse, of course, by any other name) –
and, last, the so-called ‘English’ (residents
and tourists), accidental imperialists.
Inland, Welsh thrives. Here, it is seldom heard.
On Sundays, stray notes and chords from the town’s
brass band drift up – Italian opera,
a Methodist hymn. I cherish this place:
the hill; the town; the changing beauty,
shapes and colours of the tidal straits
and treeless mountains; the sense of being
always on the edge of history.
Where I live, over the mountains, far away,
is now a disunited kingdom – violent,
corrupt, gangrenous with injustice and greed.