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Tag Archives Beaumaris

THE PIER, BEAUMARIS

Low water now and the motley of crabbers

is crammed towards the end of the pier,

leaving space for a merry metaphor

of our times, Uncle Tacko’s Flea Circus,

with its innuendo and innocence,

its knowingness and charm, its vaudeville

of outrageous unnuanced half-truths,

its charivari of anachronisms.

 

The Bulkeley Hotel on the front (once

a private mansion of many rooms)

and the stone terrace of late Georgian

town houses in this holiday resort

speak of its erstwhile strategic value.

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REGATTA, MENAI STRAITS

On the coast road across the straits the blue flash

of an ambulance appears, then disappears

behind a stand of trees and a barn.

 

The mainland late morning is so pellucid

one might almost count the dry stones in the walls

that mark the fields, climb past the sparse woods

and delineate the cropped moorlands

from the mountain tops. A cannon thud

starts the regatta of red sailed dinghies.

They scud and tack on the silvery straits,

their spinnakers burgeoning vainly.

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ACROSS THE WATERS

Walking – toward the town – down Henlys Lane,

its low, lichen covered dry stone walls

adorned with bird’s-foot trefoil, its borders

with cow parsley and, where run-off

gathers from Baron’s Hill, red campion,

we note ahead, amongst the cattle,

the usual, large flock of herring gulls,

facing south in the low-lying marshy field.

All as we have come to know and like.

But, today, we hear an explosion – loud

enough but too workaday to be thunder.

We stop and look beyond the library,

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HYMN

At the top of Henlys Lane where it bends
to Llanfaes is an oak tree and a bench
with a view across pastoral fields
to the castle and, beyond the water,
Snowdonia. On this autumn’s first day –
here as warm and sunny as summer
but with a softer, fading light – we sit and talk
of our frequent, fifty year pilgrimage
to this coast and its sublime vistas.

Suddenly, we see what appears to be
smoke drifting up Moel Wnion’s mauve walls.
Binoculars and a setting sun reveal
a mountainous vein,

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REMEMBERING…

…watching the circus – breath taken, mouth
open – in the red and orange striped
big top on the Green with Miss Monica
from Budapest high on the silk ropes
then walking on the pier like any mortal…

and losing your splendid red and blue kepi
to a mild westerly on the steep steps
that zigzag down South Stack cliffs, seeing it
whisked just out of reach over the wall
and lodged in a crevice where only gulls go…

and cruising up the Straits to Puffin Island,
seeing the seals,

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CASTLE PLAYGROUND, BEAUMARIS

I think of those we love the most, recall

their playing here four decades apart –

as she and I sit at a picnic table

to finish her ice cream then rehearse

our vaudeville act. ‘I say, I say, I say,’

she declares, with barely a lisp or

hesitation, ‘my dog has no nose!’

‘Your dog has no nose! How does he smell?’ I ask.

‘Terrible!’ she says, and runs to the swings.

 

She can swing herself now,

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THE EDGE OF HISTORY

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. 

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SAFELY THROUGH THE DARK

At twilight from the hills across the Straits, a sudden

drift of smoke – then a fire’s deep orange eye blinked.

We talked of cruising the Nile; of moon rise and sun set,

of the narrow compass of the earth’s curve;

the river pilots’ open armed, hand-on-heart salaams;

and the stars rushing through the night.

 

Later and sleepless in the early hours,

I kept watch at the bedroom window.

The hotel sign lit a faded Union flag,

threadbare at its outer edges.

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HERONS IN THEIR HABITATS, LOVERS IN THEIR LIVES

'The Heron Hunt', Eugene Fromentin 1820-1876

i

A heron – self-motivated, self-contained, aloof – stands,

between a potted phormium and a wooden Buddha,

on the roof of a houseboat on the Prinsengracht in Amsterdam,

two metres or so from passing cyclists on the embankment

and the nervous tourists queuing for Anne Frank’s house.

ii

A heron – undisturbed, unconnected, elsewhere – perches securely

on a fallen oak beside a Cheshire pond near the motorway,

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CHUZPAH

A nor’ easterly blew – over Dutchman Bank –

on the front at Beaumaris, so we had

our chips, fish and mushy peas in the Vectra,

watching the ebb tide slowly, slowly expose

the furrowed gold of the Lavan Sands

and the cormorants and oyster catchers

skim the waves, when, suddenly, a herring gull,

that voracious omnivore, that frequenter

of rubbish tips and landfills – the colours

of its plumage pristine, as if painted –

landed on our bonnet and,

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