When my hands were tiny and fat and pink,
And even as fists could be encompassed entirely
Within my grandfather’s huge dark hands,
We used to walk down the grassy path to the church
In the exciting hour of twilight,
Just the two of us together.
Everyone had gone to Sung Eucharist that morning,
Or to the Welsh Communion,
And I had gone to afternoon Sunday School,
So this would be the third time
My little feet had trotted down the well-worn Sunday path.
After Sunday tea, with jam and cakes,
And thinly sliced bread and butter to eat first,
And ham, or tinned salmon as a special treat,
After my grandmother had cleared it all laboriously away,
My grandfather would look round hopefully,
“Who wants to come to Evensong?”
He loved going to church and could not understand
His treat was everyone else’s obligation.
But I, from my earliest years,
Would jump up eagerly,
And start to put my shoes on my wrong feet,
And my grandmother would get up,
Putting down the book she had just picked up
And wearily do it for me.
Then out I’d go to the magical twilight
When lights shone gold from windows,
And cars on the hills were moving stars,
I’d dance through the dusk
With my little paw clutched tight
In the big hand of my grandfather who knew everything
About flowers and birds and mosses,
And how to plait grasses and make whistles,
And catch trout in the streams,
And plaster, and paper, and paint,
And do arithmetic, who was People’s Warden,
Who loved going to church.
He would have been the age then I am now.
We’d walk together down to the path
And go once more into the shadowed church.
I’d stand in the porch looking out at the first stars,
While my grandfather rang the bell with his great hands.