Clouds Cristo-wrap El Capitain
and erase the top of the Falls;
then an afternoon of heavy rain.
After the Monologue from the Oregon Trail
we go out of the theatre into a pitch night
that the rain has washed clear,
stare up through the huge pines and meet
a sky that comes down to greet us
with its diamonds closer,
bright and sharp and beyond number,
met as if for the first time. As if,
crossing prairies and mountains seeking a new life,
this was the sign to put down roots: here,
and they saw exactly where they were.
The Rising of the Rivers
Today the Taf’s lost
itself in the marsh pastures
between St Clears and Llandowror.
It was always thus in those long winters
of my boyhood journeying down to the cousins
in the bay of cockles,
but now we see clearly,
from the high arc of this new road,
it has spilled from its meanderings
to lake over the fields
up to the edges of this raised passage:
this would have drowned the old road.
How long before the overspill
reaches Laugharne and the sea,
islanding the hamlets and farms?
The Gronw, Wenalt, Fenni and Cywyn
rising in the Precelis and the Fans,
the crooked stream becoming the Taf and Cynin,
all sluicing down to the Boathouse and Castle,
challenging the tide coming over
the heron and wader sand-flats of the bay.
Ahead of us on the eastern skyline –Paxton’s Tower:
high and dry – a rich man’s folly
to celebrate Nelson, who saved us.
Tony Curtis is Emeritus Professor of Poetry at the University of South Wales