i.m. Roger Cecil (1942–2015)
‘When birds come to suffer by severe frost, I find that the first that fail and die are the redwing-fieldfares, and then the song-thrushes’ (Gilbert White, 12 April 1770)
In a cold field in Croesyceiliog
no one saw me lie down to sleep
or frost weave its lacework on my cheek.
Today in the crem’s bright arcade
you’ve come to greet me and to say
goodbye, with old-time hymns and hummed Myfanwy.
Remember, though, my compass was faulty –
I was ten miles short, and in the wrong valley –
But my end was to walk my way back home,
where the neat brushes and knives await
my instructions to carve and shade
and colour the rough-cut boards
into rivers, bridges and dark valleys,
tracks up steep mountainsides,
the contours of Angharad’s long limbs.
Angharad, who shares each room in my terrace house,
my meals and my bed and my canvasses.
As I reach home she’ll open the door to me with her smile.