The Peddler’s Almanacs

The young boy sits impatiently
at the rain-soaked attic window
watching the east end of the muddy road
for the Welsh-drawling Peddler to appear.
Tonight will be the first
full moon of the New Year,
and he always appears,
as if by magic, towards early evening.
Dressed in a weather-beaten Traveller’s cloak,
battered old stovepipe hat,
a skull & bones silver ring
upon the left thumb of a tattooed hand,
and with a top-knuckled walking staff
with several notches cut into the sides.
But, it’s his eyes, like green explosions,
which seem to see right through you,
that make the decent women of the Village
stiffen and the bad girls blush and flirt.
It was only recently that the boy had realized
that the Peddler’s name wasn’t really
Mr. Mischievous Rascal but Billy Bryavon.
As a crooked shadow, at last lurches into view,
the boy drops the previous year’s,
now dog-eared, well thumbed,
and candle wax smeared almanac to the floor.
And with three whole saved farthings
clutched tightly in his eager little fist,
runs excitedly down the stairs,
to get his Mam, to doorstep-buy him another.

Paul Tristram is a widely published Welsh writer, who’s currently up to his elbows in Magic, and long may it remain this way. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.