Monday, 11 May 2009


Gaufron is the village where as a boy, I spent the war years as an evacuee. I felt it was time to put into words what that place and its people meant to me.


I often think of Gaufron,
Happy hamlet in Wales afar,
Where as a boy I wandered,
Through the barren years of war.

I remember well my playmates,
Barry, Doug and Teddy,
We were doctors on the battlefield,
With steth’scopes at the ready.

To win the war we planned and schemed,
We didn’t like the Hun.
We thought him quite beyond the pale,
That’s why we always won!

My mind’s eye sees across the vale,
Moel Hywel, green and round,
Redolent with memories,
Of the inner peace I found

From sirens bombs and land mines,
Fear that never seemed to cease.
The green hills and the kindness,
Bathed my troubled mind with peace.

The gentle ewes and ‘tiddlings’,
The shearing; making hay,
The stuckles and the hay cocks,
Feeding chickens every day.

Games I played while all alone,
With Roman soldiers in the hills.
Dreams I shared with phantoms,
Ah nostalgia! How it thrills.

Seeing my first lamb born,
Then hearing its first bleat,
I was nearer here the source of life,
Than in any city street.

I remember Percy Mytton,
Bessie Mills and ‘Poll the Shop’,
The Swiss Rolls and the sponge cakes
With the sugar on the top.

In the Spring we’d search for birds nests,
Eggs from Curlew, Hawk and Crow,
We’d find them in the treetops,
Or in long grass below.

Idle in Summer’s lazy heat,
With insects buzzing round,
We’d talk or sometimes take a swim,
Then sleep upon the ground.

In autumn we went nutting,
Picked ‘brown shealers’ by the score,
Helped ladies picking blackberries,
To make jelly for the store.

In Winter after snow storms,
First the sheep would need our care,
We’d dig them free then follow tracks
Of Rabbit, Fox and Hare.

Oh my, I was so lucky,
Is it right or even fair
That the same war brought me happiness,
That to others brought despair?

As I sit here with my memories,
And think how changed things are,
With no gadgets, TV, Laptops,
We were happier then by far.

I thank the great Almighty,
For letting me be born,
In wartime with its sacrifice,
When all of pride were shorn.

© Lionel Owen 2009


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