Poem in October

It was my thirtieth year to heaven
Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood  
     And the mussel pooled and the heron
                 Priested shore
           The morning beckon
With water praying and call of seagull and rook
And the knock of sailing boats on the net webbed wall  
           Myself to set foot
                 That second
     In the still sleeping town and set forth.
     My birthday began with the water—
Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name  
     Above the farms and the white horses
                 And I rose  
           In rainy autumn
And walked abroad in a shower of all my days.
High tide and the heron dived when I took the road
           Over the border
                 And the gates
     Of the town closed as the town awoke.
     A springful of larks in a rolling
Cloud and the roadside bushes brimming with whistling  
     Blackbirds and the sun of October
           On the hill’s shoulder,
Here were fond climates and sweet singers suddenly  
Come in the morning where I wandered and listened  
           To the rain wringing
                 Wind blow cold
     In the wood faraway under me.
     Pale rain over the dwindling harbour
And over the sea wet church the size of a snail  
     With its horns through mist and the castle  
                 Brown as owls
           But all the gardens
Of spring and summer were blooming in the tall tales  
Beyond the border and under the lark full cloud.  
           There could I marvel
                 My birthday
     Away but the weather turned around.
     It turned away from the blithe country
And down the other air and the blue altered sky  
     Streamed again a wonder of summer
                 With apples
           Pears and red currants
And I saw in the turning so clearly a child’s
Forgotten mornings when he walked with his mother  
           Through the parables
                 Of sun light
     And the legends of the green chapels
     And the twice told fields of infancy
That his tears burned my cheeks and his heart moved in mine.  
     These were the woods the river and sea
                 Where a boy
           In the listening
Summertime of the dead whispered the truth of his joy  
To the trees and the stones and the fish in the tide.
           And the mystery
                 Sang alive
     Still in the water and singingbirds.
     And there could I marvel my birthday
Away but the weather turned around. And the true  
     Joy of the long dead child sang burning
                 In the sun.
           It was my thirtieth
Year to heaven stood there then in the summer noon  
Though the town below lay leaved with October blood.  
           O may my heart’s truth
                 Still be sung
     On this high hill in a year’s turning.

#WelshWriters (February 1945) Poetry Source:

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