Bold Dewi Jones would leave his home
first thing every morning,
and trot him down to Towy Wood
just as day was dawning,
and there he filled his Tesco bag,
five pence from any store,
with chickweed celandine and seed
and other weeds galore.
Then he fed them to his finches
to peck at in the cage,
while he ate his Kellog Cornflakes
and read the sporting page.
When Dewi was a kid at school
he hadn’t many toys,
and on the farm out in the sticks
there were no other boys,
so the woods became his playground,
a bird his childhood friend,
and he played a game with finches
he prayed would never end.
Their songs were short machinegun bursts
that echoed through the wood,
and Dewi, in green camouflage,
would stalk like Robin Hood.
A grown-up now, he made a frame
that lay beneath a net,
and then with trails of wild bird seed
a crafty trap he set.
That’s how he caught his lovely birds,
cunning if not clever,
and neighbours came along to praise
Yet we all new that in the wood,
birds sang like heaven’s choir,
while, in the confines of the cage,
finches were much shyer.
Now Dewi’s wife, religious was,
chapel every morning,
in Aberystwyth born and bred,
should have been a warning.
Though pleasant to the roving eye,
pretty as a flower,
like milk upon a summer’s day
she curdled and went sour.
“It’s wings God gave,” his wife would scream,
“so birds can rise and fly;
and nature gave them songs to praise
the wonders of the sky.”
One day while on his morning rounds
bold-Dewi had a stroke.
“An awful thing,” the village said,
“for such a lovely bloke.”
No muscle could the birdman move,
eyelids would not flutter.
The voice that once trilled, “Sosban Fach,”
not a word could utter.
We don’t know why God struck him down,
spite – or was it pleasure?
What e’er the Lord was dishing out,
Dewi got full measure.
Now Dewi’s sitting in a chair,
just staring into space,
and carers who come twice a day,
pour soup into his face.
His wife just up and left him,
no fuss or angry words,
just said, “I hate to see you there,
caged up like your birds.”