Standing With Clouds/Nights Were Light Days Long


Nights were light, nights were long
back when the sun held on to all the skies
unwilling to sink below mountains dark lines
but darkness came all the same as it was bound to do
each long day, as it must do each and every night
when we were young and brightness filled our eyes

Standing with clouds
it was a time of childhood a time of innocence
of days walking hillsides and high mountains
there was no other time there was no other place.


When did the beginning start to commence?
When did the beginning alter its course change stop?
When did the beginning of a story forget itself?

I stand here in the highest place
when we were young it was a time
when our dreams were golden
your star brightened night skies
your silence your absence now is a hurt
I choose not to bear.

Old names have been deleted
a constant pasting over of history
that endless creep
the landscape has lost a sense of itself
blackened elder dip tipped branches bow into the rivers sweep
floodwaters adorned stems with fluttering plastic waste
brought from upriver towns to befoul ocean seas.


On the black grey slabs of Twyn Bryn y Beddau*
we played the old games of hunt and seek
watched from rushes deep channelled
tunnelled walls of the old graves.

And the walled field
Ffynon yr saith erw*
remains silent
while processions of white
walk the hill
to the statue of Mair*.

And the blood field of Brithweunydd*
the death place of a prince.




  • Twyn Bryn y Beddau* means Hill of the Graves which in this case are megalithic ‘Round Barrows’
  • Mair* means Mary as in mother of Jesus — in this case, relates to the Statue of St Mary which was constructed in the early 1950s to commemorate the miracle of Mary and the be-jewelled and gold plated statue which was stolen by Oliver Cromwell. The original statue marked the place of a Miracle and was on the pilgrim route from Canterbury Cathedral to St David’s Cathedral.
  • Ffynon yr saith erw* means well of the six graves not in this case ‘Round Barrows’.
  • Brithweunydd* means stone littered or speckled place…

The late Oliver Rackham, world-famous authority on Trees and much more — in his authoritative book “The history of the Countryside” describe the South Wales plateau as an intact “funerary landscape” that had largely escaped the ravages of the Industrial Age. This landscape is the place I played and spent so much of my time as a child and teenager. It is the place where I live and still walk and write about.