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Tag Archives Llandudno

A RIGHT CHARIVARI!

All seemed particularly dystopian

as I walked out one morning down the high street,

towards MacDonald’s and KFC,

Café Nero, Costa and Starbucks,

boarded-up shops and charity shops,

and two young men selling the Big Issue.

Maybe it was the noise: the traffic’s grind,

an elderly busker’s cacophonous chords,

the fire engine howling – outside the KFC!

I approached the forming crowd, and overheard,

from customers smelling of smoke, rumours:

that one of the Kentucky Colonel’s

deep fat fryers had exploded into flame,

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BANK HOLIDAY

The heavy shower drilled on the frosted glass.

We sheltered under one of the high street’s

open arcades with sloping glazed-roofs  –

a Victorian refinement to the resort:

shopping sheltered from seaside weathers.

We were, by chance, in front of Poundland:

one window displayed Pepsi Max, the other

Cadbury’s Highlights, both cut-price sugar.

The Bank Holiday crowd sheltering with us

seemed disproportionately stricken, impaired,

overwhelmingly loud or utterly

silent, with austerity’s complexion.

 

As the rain began to clear a man,

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BILLY GOATS GRUFF

After dark, down the steep lanes of the Great Orme –

a two mile long limestone promontory,

named by Norsemen for a dragon’s head –

past the synagogue and the funicular,

avoiding the temptations of the Pier,

into the lamp-lit, locked-down thoroughfare,

came the Kashmiri billy goats, white as snow,

as clouds, as sea spume. Runaways or outcasts

from a flock imported for their wool,

occasional mascots for the Royal Welsh,

those noisome foragers with their prophets’ beards

and trophy horns capered to the churchyard

and its privet hedges,

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HIGHWATER

The incoming tide brings shoals of mackerel fry.

Herring gulls, perhaps a hundred, more,

young among them in their mottled plumage,

are yelling at the water’s edge, feeding

in frenzy as the small waves scatter.

Far out on the low, narrow, wooden jetty

my small family leans over to marvel

at the fishes before landfall. At my back

is the white crescent of hotels, the town,

the estuary, the mountains, sun setting.

 

They cross the beach, granddaughter running ahead,

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STUDIES IN BLUE: PADDLING POOL, LLANDUDNO

Five men, in orangey yellow overalls,

using long handled rollers are painting

the paddling pool – which is the size of four

tennis courts – that blue which only colour charts

show or astronauts will see.  Beyond

is the limestone headland with rock-roses

amongst the scrub and fulmars nesting.

Far out to sea is a gathering,

stately and serried, of white, wind turbines.

 

I think of David Hockney’s iconic pools,

and of Robert Rauschenberg’s ‘Combines’ –

hybrids of sculpture and paint  –

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LEVITICUS

As we travelled back from a London weekend

in the Quiet Zone on the afternoon express

three very young, head scarved mothers nursed

their newborns and chattered softly all the way.

At Chester they headed for the North Wales train.

 

Not far from the Great Orme Tramway Station,

Church Walks, Llandudno, and near St Georges,

is a three storey detached house whose ground floor

has been a synagogue for a century

and more. Lubavitch rabbis officiate.

Above the shul,

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AT THE END OF THE PIER

Past Songs of Yesteryear, Mystic Morgana,

and other booths – purveying Flags of the World,

Country & Western Memorabilia,

Decorous South Sea Shells, Home Made Welsh Fudge;

past the sustainable hardwood benches

with withered in memoriam bouquets;

over the planking with its measured gaps

through which to view, like a bioscope,

the incoming tide shimmy then shake

the fronds of bronze weeds among the rocks,

slap, strike the elegant, cast iron stanchions;

next to where even the line fishermen

are starting to stow their gear,

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AT THE END OF THE PIER

Past Songs of Yesteryear, Mystic Morgana,

and other booths – purveying Flags of the World,

Country & Western Memorabilia,

Decorous South Sea Shells, Home Made Welsh Fudge;

past the sustainable hardwood benches

with withered in memoriam bouquets;

over the planking with its measured gaps

through which to view, like a bioscope,

the incoming tide shimmy then shake

the fronds of bronze weeds among the rocks,

slap, strike the elegant, cast iron stanchions;

next to where even the line fishermen

are starting to stow their gear,

share