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Two selected poems
Hour Before the Dawn
by Rod Walford
Today I stood upon the shore
Where Grandad walked in days of yore;
Along its sandy, glossy sheen
Where once, his imprint would have been.
And thereupon I did behold
'Twas here, when I was two years old;
I dangled from his stalwart hands
In gleeful awe of foaming sands.
So timeless now, this scene appears
It's altered not these fifty years
Nor hundreds, thousands gone before;
As restless wave greets silent shore.
Still endless rolling surf she brings;
Now to my little son she sings.
I held him in her gentle lee,
The way my Grandad once held me.
As every wavelet's dying throes
Washed tiny grains between my toes;
Methought perhaps, that in his day,
For every grain, a pebble lay.
Eroded by the tick and tock
Of oscillating tidal clock;
Its pulsing rhythm, all abounding
In softest kiss, or anger pounding.
I pondered what it all may mean;
Our ocean's mighty time machine.
Where pebbles, hardened, flat or round,
By rolling surf to sand are ground.
From rock to stone to pebbled grain
To sand, and back to rock again . . .
As, in our turn, we surely must
Become as ashes . . . dust to dust.
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Rekindled, visions of my childhood's day
Do visit me in thoughts of old Torbay.
Oh Glorious Devon! How your red heart bleeds
In all your scattered offsprings' worldly deeds.
How well that little fishing village nestles;
Whose quaysides teem with art and chugging vessels.
The night's red sky, the cloth capped skippers wish;
When Brixham's trawlers taught the world to fish.
All Saints' presides, an ageless, stony aunt,
Where little streets of Furzeham slope and slant.
That beckoned Orange William once to stand;
Where still he reigns, in concrete, on The Strand.
Distress flares bark their thunder from beyond,
And brave hearts in the dead of night respond
To waken Princess Alex from her sleep;
Alert, her crew their constant vigil keep.
Torbay, your glow of evening's amber light
Inspired Henry Frances in God's sight.
On Berry Head, across your golden sea
He wrote his mighty hymn . . . "Abide With Me."
Where, years later, as a boy I'd roam
From Brixham's famous "Sons of Sailors" Home.
Perchance, I tarried there, on that same spot;
Becoming what I am . . . and what I'm not.
Now, through a darkened glass, I see the world,
Yet Devon's where my childhood banner's furled.
Where breaking waters foam, and mackerel play
As gently sets the sun on old Torbay.
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