Roger Redfern is one of my favourite writers about the Mawddach estuary and the mountains he knew so well – both as the chronicler of his family’s life on a dairy farm in Cutiau, and as one of The Guardian’s leading countryside correspondents.
This poem is taken from Verses from my Country and is the equivalent of a big, steaming mug of silky hot chocolate on a chilly Autumn afternoon.
WHERE THE GORSE IS GOLD AGAIN
A slant of winter sunlight through the naked trunks
And on the slopes to either side
The russet bracken flaming.
The little trees are empty, still alive in sleep.
My shadow, long and pale, climbs up the slope of lane
Ahead, and on the brow it levels out.
Behind, the sea silent with distance
Creams on the winter shore,
Lit by a mellow sun.
In front, two men are walking
With a dog before me in the hillside glow.
No breeze rustles dead leaves
Not a sound but silence
Over all with her sparkling cloak
Says, “This is my domain, an ancient natural law.”
And up the hillside lane I go.
Where the sweep of Llawllech drops down
To the Mawddach glistening below,
And washed sands and pebbles sing
With the tide; there on the slopes
Where ffridd melts into higher brown
And ruggedness, the song of the curlew
Echoes in the sun that suggests coming spring.
Lone white and purple clusters
Bob above the breeze-washed grass.
Gorse is gold again and swinging gates are open wide.
The sky, like Pacific solitude, is ranged
W ith islands, white and mounta inous,
Floating high. Before the sun pales more the skylark’s
Song climbs to the unatt i inable blue.
At Ffridd Bant I look along
That lane that leads by bullrush bed
But not today to tread that way.
Instead up the hill between high banks
Past Llwyn-gloddaeth, empty as winter branches,
Onto the opening of the way, the levelling of the land.
The whole, wide world is opened up.
From Diphwys’s moulded top and far sheepwalks
To cringing grass-blades at my feet –
A splendid harmony, a charitable harmony!
Now through the gate and down the lane,
On the way a wave from Llwyn-onn’s doorway.
Blue with paint; and Home again.
Through the gateway with the swinging gate
That squeaks and crashes to.
Down and down with walls of hazel and thorn
And whispering waters as I go
On the descending way.
I tread in Grace’s steps,
Long now silent since she went along the road
To live the evening days
In the hovel at Bontddu.
The fallen roof, the cowshed
And the chimney stacks
Stand, girt with shrub and leaf.
In the shade the everlasting waters run and splash,