Tag Archives: Pembrokeshire

First snow

Foel Cwmcerwyn

Foel Cwmcerwyn, the highest point in the Preseli Hills, Pembrokeshire, after a fall of snow

Overnight the snow fell softly, steadily, remorselessly. In the early hours of the morning she awoke, confused by how hushed everything was. It was as if time had stopped and her bed was floating in a bubble that was her room.

She slipped out from under the duvet and into her slippers, and padded over to the window seat.

Flakes floated past the pane, then more, and more, and still they came. She knew the covering would be thick in the morning. Though, come the dawn, the house would be even more isolated, for now she felt cocooned, insulated even — insulated from outside interference, noisy visitors, passing traffic.

If she stayed awake she would go down later, light the kitchen fire, perhaps let the hens out early. But for now she would take in the unearthly light reflected off the settling snow, bask in the stillness, watch the frozen sky feathers floating down onto the vast white coverlet.

Later the phone would ring and she would ignore it, and if it continued she would take the receiver off the hook.

At present she would contemplate eternity for a while longer.

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Golden Mile in snow

Turn left, towards the west,
in a quarter-mile turn right towards the north
onto the Golden Mile (a straight track
half a mile up, turn about, half a mile down).

Stop, look! see there,
rising high a third of a mile
into the sky, now grey-shrouded,
Foel Cwmcerwyn (that is, the Hill
by the Coombe, hollow like a Cask),
a white whale in winter, green pillow in summer,
legend-saturated, myth-laden, tale-clouded.
Here, near the summit cairn, the mighty Arthur
hunted the giant boar Twrch Trwyth and his piglets.
The blood of Arthur’s followers flowed
down the barrelled vale, steeping the earth,
slaking a ground thirsty for stories
to satisfy the land’s lonely soul.

Now, back at home, turn right for one half-mile,
then left towards the north again,
down twisty turning lanes and see!
see there, along the Preseli ridge,
advancing slowly, stealthy silhouettes
of walkers, soldiers – Arthur’s men,
silent, almost standing still –
Cerrig Marchogion, the Stones of the Knights they are,
a phalanx of sky-hued bluestone pillars
hewn, as it were, by age-old glaciers.
One hundred centuries ago south the ice sheet marched,
then retreated, scarring the battlefield, abandoning
battered bodies, leaving a landscape as bare as bone.

Not quite bare: down, under the ridge,
below unseen Bedd Arthur — Arthur’s Grave –
loom Cerrig Meibion Arthur, the Stones of Arthur’s Sons
slain by the merciless twrch.
Sentinels, they serve as signposts
directing the curious traveller to a land made fertile
by febrile human imaginations, peopled by figures
larger than life, stirring the modern mind
with wonder and, perhaps, an elusive wisdom.

Foel Cwmcerwyn, Preseli Hills, Pembrokeshire