The Man on the Mountain
In the inky winter darkness
A rough track from the lane
Leads upward onto the mountain:
A small glimmer hints at life
and we wonder where we are being led.
Out of the blackness, a dark shape shows in the slight mist
The lights in a window flicker dimly yellow
and the smell of peat smoke drifts down in the still air
As we reach a door, light from the window shows a bucket darkly filled
'Blood', he says, 'use it to attract snipe.'
He bangs at the door and we enter
A small room is lit by oil lamps dimmed by more peat smoke
A dozen men in oilskins and waders
each with a shotgun held or leaning against a near wall
fill the room and face a small man sitting near the fire.
It is like a scene from an old film!
This is my first meeting with Dai Morris
He prods the peat and greets us and there is a rumble of assent
although there is obvious discomfort at my wife's presence here:
this is not a gathering expecting women:
there are frequent apologies for swearing
Not from Dai Morris who speaks softly and carefully
we learn something of their syndicate's care for the land
and of its regular shoots.
Someone tells me that Dai often shoots with Lord somebody
and is invited to fine estates all round the country.
Someone else says, 'Show him your guns, Dai.'
From an unremarkable and unlocked cupboard built into the hearth
are produced a pair of Purdey shotguns worth thousands of pounds
and the gathering admires aspects of their crafted beauty for our benefit
In this humble cottage in the heart of Mynydd Bach lived this remarkable gentleman
who lived simply off the land and dined with earls