We Learn to Grieve

The first sensation, vague dismay.

Too young, too young to die.

At home, alone, that Sunday morn,

Too numb, too numb to cry.


Crowded pub in nights to follow

Anaesthetised with beer,

Angered by people’s public sobs

While I could shed no tear.


Past tense and parrot sketch remarks

We speak of disbelief

Deceased, passed-on, he’s dead and gone;

Words hollow, shorn of grief


A churchyard we all gathered round,

Black ties, dark suits and glasses.

A collective mass of faces past;

An assembly of old school classes


Friend and family, young and old,

Their sorrow uncontained.

And through it all, unnaturally;

My emotional chill remained.


Six bearers carried him in a box,

And placed him in the ground;

Dirt tossed to thud on maple lid,

An eerie, final sound.


Then to the comfort of the bar,

A vibrant presence missed;

Young folk talk of days gone by,

Old friends, we reminisced.


As day gave way to darkness,

A lighter mood prevailed the wake,

Among the singing and the laughing crowd,

My reserve at last would break


Tight chest and shallow breathing

Unexpected, surging tide

And as the choir around me sang

I cried and cried and cried.

Party Like It’s 1999 (Again)

Party Like It’s 1999 (Again)

Hard to believe it’s really 15 years since that, somewhat memorable, Wales v England match at Wembley.

Anyway, I was a-hunting through some old boxes in the garage a few days ago and happened upon this little ditty below, penned a few days after the intoxicating event. So, what with another impending clash with them from over the bridge looming large, I thought – as a bit of nonsensical nostalgia – that I’d stick this up here on the interweb site.

So, a bit of background – in true Max Boyce, I was there mode…

The trip was in the heyday of what was then known as The Hawk President’s XV – a bit of an in-joke between young men trying very hard not to grow up. The Hawk in question was (and indeed still is) a man soft of voice, deep of thought and ill-fitting of blazer.
The XV made the trip to London and Wembley, the temporary home of the Welsh team as the Millennium Stadium was being built, stopping somewhere in Fulham on the Saturday night before the big Sunday match. A beautiful spring day full of warmth, blue skies, plane spotting and Heineken. After which a match which would take its place for the ages.

And, for better or, almost certainly worse, this was my recollection of the occasion, in the hazy, lazy days that followed.

Playing Away

That Sunday we woke early
The boys, the Hawk and me
On a floor in a flat in Fulham
A journey to Wembley

We walked out into that spring morning
Warm sun in a bright blue sky
Boarded a tube at Clapham Junction
Someone said, “if we win then I’ll cry”

In a pub by the ground we adjourned to
Not an English voice could we hear
For the Valleys had moved to London
Because Wembley was ‘home’ this year

In the ground Tom sang ‘Delilah’
The chorus the crowd joined in
And the sun beat down on the green grass of ‘home’
And for a second I believed we would win

We had lost to the Scots and the Irish
Written off without a chance
But Graham said have faith and we did
And we went and won in France

Now at Wembley against the English
Surrounded in the stand
We gifted the saes an early score
And I sat with my head in my hands

We were mocked as they stretched their lead
Swing low was the popular cry
But we stayed in touch thanks to Jenkins
And by a magical Howarth try

But the clock ticked down we were losing by six
A familiar feeling of woe
A penalty: a glimmer of hope
But only mere seconds to go

Wyatt to Howley to Senior Quinnell
To Gibbs, the crowd started to roar
As he scythed his way through the English defence
Raising his arm as he touched down to score

And I burst into tears embracing the Hawk
Saying, “Jenks still has to convert”
But this was a day for magic
The kick was, I knew, a dead cert

I slumped where I stood, crying freely
But the tears were of joy not sorrow
My voice had gone, my vision blurred
And I sobbed “I’m not working tomorrow!”

And so now we are back in Cardiff
Where God willing we shall stay
But the memory of that Sunday at Wembley lives on
Where we won while playing away


Download my short story: Last Day of Summer

Download my short story: Last Day of Summer

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Download my short story: Last Day of Summer

Download my short story: Last Day of Summer
And now, some limericks

And now, some limericks

There is a very specific reason for writing limericks on my blog tonight. But it’s a secret (besides, I like limericks).

A monkey called Mick from Mauritius
Considered bananas delicious
Whilst he liked sugar cane
It gave him a pain
And upset his tum something vicious

On a boat off the coast of the Gower
Bob fell asleep for an hour
He woke with a scream
From a terrible dream
Caused by milk that he drank which was sour
A widow alone in Rhiwbina
Took ill as she ate in the diner
The diagnosis, it shocked her
For she misheard the doctor
Who’d mentioned acute angina
You’ll go blind mum would frequently say
With oneself t’was not healthy to play
How she must regret
The damned the internet
Now dad’s vision’s gone into decay

Dai’s Dead Now

Dai’s Dead Now

Dai’s dead now
He wasn’t very old
He caught the dreaded lurgy
He thought it was a cold

People cried and mourned him
A popular fellow was Dai
Dai thought this was brilliant
As he looked down from the sky

Because Dai went up to heaven
He was greeted at the gate
St Peter said “you’ve earned your place”
Dai said “cheers mate”

On earth they planned a party
In memory of Dai
They ate a mighty buffet
And drank the local dry

Dai loved it up in heaven
There was peace and love and joy
He met an old school friend
Who arrived there as a boy

Back home they missed him dearly
“What a shame he died so young”
But they needn’t be too sad
For Dai was having fun

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