Carnedd y Filiast
It seemed a perfect day, a perfect walk:
the clouds so well-behaved, the path
so broad and clear, firm underfoot.
It coiled across the moor like ribbon,
gift wrapped the mountain for us –
so we thought, joking we’d be up and down
But the weather gods
had heard: behind us as we climbed
those clouds grew black with righteous anger.
Half way up we felt the first soft blows;
they soon came harder, faster,
stinging our faces, pummeling our limbs.
We pressed on – we had not come this far
to be defeated – fought for each step
as that gentle hill became an ogre.
There was a stream: it should have been
a trickle that would no more than
wet our soles. But those spiteful clouds
had made of it a flood that blocked our path.
We stared at it, and at each other:
it could not be crossed.
Back at the car
we changed our sodden clothes and poured
the water from our boots. We might as well
have swum across that stream.
We’ll come back, we said to cheer ourselves,
complete the walk another day.
For my father it was not to be
but forty-five years on, I found myself
beneath that mountain, walking
that same wide, winding track.
The clouds still glowered, but this time
the gods were merciful: they let me pass.
I crossed the stream, completed the ascent
begun three quarters of my life ago.