Skeusen / Photograph: Gorsaf Bùss Cambron / Camborne Bus Station

Geof Sheppard © 2018

 Cubmyas / Licence: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International 


Gray Lightfoot © 2021

This poem and its translation first appeared in An Gowsva Issue 70.

An bardhonak-ma ha'y drailyans a wrug apperya an kensa treveth in An Gowsva Trogh 70.

Looking in his rear-view mirror, the bus driver muses

That no-one actually looks out of the windows these days,

Except mothers teaching young ones their first words.

The old folk chat to each other at 25 miles an hour;

They have made this journey so many times that

Nothing short of a car accident or a horse on the loose

Will draw their head from the quotidian vocal workout of gossip.

The rest, fixated on their phones ignore the transient scenery

Of passing clouds, sea views, country lanes and idyllic harbours.

The driver remembers how it was for him as a child

When he and his mother would catch the bus to go shopping.

Because of Mum’s polio they always had to stay downstairs.

He would run up the aisle and climb into a seat by the window,

She would fill the space alongside him, making him feel secure.

Through the Cinemascope window he had learnt his first words …

Esso, Shell, those shiny forecourt symbols he recognised

From their jingled adverts on the black and white television.

He always hoped for the funny conductor, with the hearing aid,

Who would turn the handle on the big metal ticket machine,

Spitting out the paper snake with a snappy satisfying whirr.

The ticket would be held out to the sparkle-eyed child

Only for it to be pulled away from his grasp at the last moment;

The ritual played out again and again at the giggling child’s delight;

But such things always have to end and he remembered

A disappointment in triumph, as he clutched the spoils in his tiny fist.

As the window’s landscape changed to more verdant scenes

His mother would encourage him to look out for grazing animals;

He’d crow with delight at the sight of cows, horses and sheep.

On cold, dank days, the windows doubled as a chalkboard

Where the condensation allowed him to draw cars and faces

Or to carefully write his name in the smoke-grey medium.

Wiping away, he’d be sad when there was nowhere left to write

And content himself watching raindrops race to the window-sill.

When he was older, he would go upstairs and peep.

Gazing into the unseen world of first floor windows

In the hope of seeing something (he never knew what).

It was better in the evenings when those rooms became aquaria

Lit from within, portraying the brilliance of wildlife on dark nights.

In the first aeons of adolescence and later as a young man

He would prize a nearside window to get a closer view

(the offside put you further away) of the ‘fit’ young girls 

As they parade their summer looks along the pavement.

The shy young boy, feeling as close as he would ever get to them.

Having meandered the bus through the archive of his youth

The driver disengages autopilot and slows to a halt

For a man with an outstretched arm running towards the stop.

Time ticks as he fumbles through his bag for a weekly ticket,

Places it on the machine; beads of sweat exude on his brow

And drop and track the valleys of his weatherproof sleeve.

Darting eyes betray the stress already driving his day;

Hindered by his bag of worries, he sways up the aisle of the bus,

Slumps in a seat and reaches for the only thing that can help.

He swipes through the CalmerU app on his phone

Ignoring ‘Mountain Stream’, ‘Garden Rain’ and ‘Sunlit Sea’

To the one that works best for him …

“A vision of passing clouds, sea views, country lanes

And idyllic harbours” He sighs … calmer now

It’s called …

“Through the Window of a Cornish Bus.”


trailys dhe Gernowek gans Nicholas Williams

Hag ev ow meras i’n myrour wàr dhelergh, ma drîvyor an bùss ow predery

Na vÿdh den vëth ow meras in mes a’n fenester hedhyw i’n jëdh,

Ma’s mammow yn unnyk ow tesky an kensa geryow dh’aga flehes.

Yma an bobel goth ow kestalkya pymp mildir warn ugans in eur;

Y re wrug an viaj-ma mar venowgh na wra

Tra vÿth ma’s droglamm kerry pò margh dienkys

Tedna aga fedn dhyworth omassayans levow scavel an gow.

Nyns usy an remnant, fastys dh’aga clapgùthow, ow merkya an vuys ow passya,

Cloudys ow tremena, semlant an mor, bownderyow keyn pow pò porthow pyctùresk.

Yma an drîvyor ow perthy cov a dhedhyow y floholeth,

Pàn wre va ha’y vamm kemeres an kyttryn rag mos dhe’n shoppys.

Awos pôlyô Mammyk res vedha dhodhans gortos awoles.

Ev a vydna ponya an dremenva in bàn ha crambla in esedhva ryb an fenester,

Hy a wre lenwel an spâss ryptho, hag ev a omglôwa yn saw.

Der an fenester Cynemascôp ev a dheskys y kensa geryow …

Esso, Shell, arwedhyow munys an ragcortys o aswonys dhodho

Dhyworth an argemynnow kenys wàr an bellwolok dhu ha gwynn.

Ev a’n jeva govenek pùpprÿs a’n tôkynor coynt esa darbar clôwes dhodho,

A vynna trailya an dornla wàr jyn brâs metol an tokynnow

Ha trewa in mes an nader a baper in unn whyrny yn teg.

Y fedha an tôkyn sensys in mes dhe’n flogh splann y dhewlagas

May halla va bos tennys in kerdh dhyworto orth an prÿjweyth dewetha;

Y fedha an devos gwaries arta hag arta ha sordya folwharth an maw lowenek;

Saw res yw dhe daclow a’n par-na dewedha pùpprÿs hag ev a remembras

Tùll in y vyctory, pàn wrella dalhena an pray in y dhorn bian.

Dell esa an wolok dhyworth an fenester ow chaunjya dhe vuys glassa,

Y vabm a wre y inia dhe whelas bestas ow pory;

Assa wre va cria gans joy ow qweles buhas, mergh ha deves!

Dedhyow yêyn ha glëb, an fenestry a servya avell astell galhen

May whre an glûth gasa dhodho tenna kerry tan ha fâcys

Poken screfa y hanow gans rach i’n main mogloos.

Pàn wrella ev deseha, y fedha trist na veu tyller gesys rag screfa

Hag ev a omgontentya owth attendya an glawednow ow fysky dhe legh an fenester.

Pàn vedha ev cotha, ev a vydna mos in bàn ha gîky,

Ow meras orth bÿs dywel fenestry kensa leur an treven

In govenek a weles neb tra (ny wodhya ev bythqweth pandra).

Gwell o gordhuwher pàn vedha chambours gwrës pyskvaow

Golow’hës wàr jy, ow tysqwedhes splander goodhvêwnans i’n nos tewl.

In kensa osow y adolescens ha moy adhewedhes avell den yonk

Ev a garsa fenester ryb tenewen an fordh may halla dhe well gweles

(Te a via pelha in kerdh wàr an tu aral) an mowysy yonk teg

Hag y ow kerdhes i’ga dyllas hâv an cauns ahës.

An maw yonk methek a omglôwa mar glos dhodhans dell vedha nefra.

Warlergh gwil dhe’n bùss gwandra dre govyon y yowynkneth

Yma an drîvyor ow dystaga an honenlewyor, ow lent’he hag ow stoppya

Rag den, istynys y vregh, usy ow ponya tro ha’n savla.

Yma an termyn ow tyckya ha’n den ow fysla der y sagh rag tôkyn seythen,

Y settya wàr an jyn; yma pederow whës ow sevel wàr y dâl

Hag ow codha hag ow sewya nansow y vrehel stanch.

Ma gwibya y dhewlagas ow tyskevra an dennva owth hùmbrank y jorna solabrës;

Sprallys der y fienasow, yma va ow lesca tremenva an bùss in bàn,

Owth esedha yn idhyl, owth hedhes y dhorn rag an unn dra a weres.

Yma va ow scubya der an dowlennyk CalmerU wàr y glapgûth

Heb gwil vry a ‘Gover Meneth’, ‘Glaw in Lowarth’ na ‘Howl wàr an Mor’

Erna dheu va bys onen a vydn y servya yn tâ …

“Vesyon a’n cloudys ow tremena, semlant an mor, bownderyow keyn pow

Ha porthow pyctùresk”.

Yma va owth hanaja…hag ev moy hebask.

Y dhôwys yw henwys …

“Dre Fenester Kyttryn in Kernow.”