Happy Oak Apple Day
Clothes adorned with sprigs of oak leaves.
I’m also taking a spare set with me this time
for last year I got so drunk and clumsy
by the late afternoon that mine fell off
whilst participating in a couple of reels
of cider-induced one foot maiden dancing.
I was pelted with magpie and jackdaw eggs
and whipped with strands of stinging nettles,
they got me across the neck and shoulders,
I was rubbing dock leaves on them for a week.
We’ll all meet up down at the Village Square,
then start the procession over to the Church,
fastening small oak branches to each doorway
that we pass by to wish each household
that lives within Good Luck for the coming year.
We’ll all gather at the Church Porch together
as they take down last years dry Oak Bough
and fix the fresh new Bough up in its place.
Then it’s off over the wee humpback bridge
to the Festival Clearing in Bluebell Woods.
For many joyful hours of wild hog roasting,
lute playing, dancing, hatchet throwing and fun.
And after several attempts of all of these
I’ll race thee one and all deep into my cups.
© Paul Tristram 2014
The Ballad Of Bracken
He bangs the last wooden post
into the deep smelling earth
with the flat-side
of his fold-up carrying spade.
Then sticks the old rusty tin sheets
he obtained earlier
from the derelict
Clay Factory over yonder.
In between the two rows of posts
he has constructed
in an oblong shape,
in the small woodland clearing
that he is about to call home
for the foreseeable future.
When the small walls are in place
he slides the remaining tin sheets
over the squat structures top
to roof it up, nicely.
Then sets about packing the outside
with bunches of freshly cut bracken
to keep him both warm and dry
and hidden from view of the path.
Upon finishing this necessary task,
he sets alight to the small campfire
10ft away in the circle of stones.
Whistles for ‘Rumplestiltskin’
his loyal old terrier dog
and walks over to the babbling brook
singing its silver song nearby.
To happily wash the city stench
off his weather-brown skin
for another long blissful fortnight.
© Paul Tristram 2014
Under The Patchwork Cloudscape Of Future Childhood Memories
Upon the grass of Victoria Gardens
my Father and his Associates would lounge
drinking Strongbow cider
and Old England Medium Sherry
straight from the bottle necks.
I can still hear them now,
people don’t drink like that anymore,
the sound was amazing
like a starving man eating a piece
of their favourite food, loudly.
Each man was having a liquid banquet
all by themselves.
As I sat there only 8 or 9 years old,
chewing on a hock bone
from the butchers in Neath Market.
Under the patchwork cloudscape
of future childhood memories
listening to them talk of Valium,
Ativan, Speed and Soap Bar,
of different prisons and how they’re changing.
Which Policemen were Bastards
and which ones were fair and alright.
Then after the stories they’d trade scars
always trying to outdo each other,
stab wounds and razor slashes,
broken bottle and pint glass circles,
dog attacks and crossbow bolts.
They’d hold up their drunken hands
and count out loud the broken fingers
then bow down their heads to show
the small angry red horseshoe shaped
truncheon wounds that were never stitched
but left to horribly heal by themselves.
I remember a few years later
2 young loser boys from our street
came and got me because my ‘Old Man’
had got his hand through the wooden
slats of a park bench, right up to the wrist
and couldn’t get it back out again.
So after I had spent a small eternity
laughing my head off and asking him
how the Hell he had managed to do it?
I boot that wooden slat right out
with my Dr Martens, setting him free
the ‘Old Man’ used it as a walking staff
for the rest of the day and took it home.
Some children had Disneyland
or days out in Blackpool or Alton Towers
and they are more than welcome to them.
For I would not change a single one of my
patchwork cloudscape childhood memories
spent with ‘The Neath Cidernauts.’
for the world and that ain’t no lie, Boyo!
© Paul Tristram 2013
Paul Tristram is a Welsh writer who has poems, short stories, sketches and photography
published in many publications around the world, he yearns to tattoo porcelain bridesmaids
instead of digging empty graves for innocence at midnight, this too may pass, yet.