A Lesson in History
Through West Wales, Hebridges,
through leagues of old brown land,
men farmed stock, wrinkled eyes
to a blaze of sun and breeze,
soaked up rain, walked hail and mud,
cherished the horizon in
the very early day.
while merchants dealt in deals,
racked land and stock and heart.
Others meanwhile sang blues and soul,
painted palaces and clouds, flung
excited, unexpected reds
and blue. There were harpists, careful
stonemasons, and engineers
whose bridges lift and elevate,
and carers, teachers, seers of sorts,
who set their faces to a dim cool space
where coin and dealing falter.
The Cafe Days
The chat quite genial, whimsy's
talk. Overlords, it seemed,
of March's maidenfolk.
(Spring's benign term,
folk club chords and
poetry's rejection slips,
dry cider, dry banter,
skip jive, bars, a little
learning lightly taken in).
We even journeyed on so soon
to Suburbia Avenue,
on memory's light tread.
A crooner's schmaltz maybe,
yet as we cruised the half-mile walk
from dancehall to your parents' house,
town sounds stilled rapidly
in street lamps' moonlit mix. Song's
aura tinged the late night sky.
Many have commented, I know
(such dry, wise Larkins),
on love songs' broken promises.
But such moments, such midnights'
reaching impulses, had their own
direction, flow and light.
Robert Nisbet, a writer from Wales, UK, was for some years an associate lecturer in creative writing at Trinity College, Carmarthen, where he also acted as professor to exchange students over from the Central College of Iowa. His poems appear in many British magazines, in his chapbook Merlin's Lane (Prolebooks, 2011), and in the USA in San Pedro River Review, Red River Review, Main Street Rag, and Constellations.