david young
Tywyn, 1974
by Cynthia Anderson

There’s magic in being led to a place,
riding the train toward a dot on the map
and seeing what happens. We were two
American girls studying in London,
on spring holiday, Tywyn our first stop—
enchanted by the Welsh elf-land,
damp and quiet under grey clouds.
We carried our bags down empty streets
to a whitewashed B&B—where the proprietor,
a grandmother, brought us into her family
as naturally as breathing. She filled the holes
in our itinerary—insisted we attend church,
coaxed her grown son to take us hiking.
After a snug night in beds with hot water
bottles, and breakfast enough for ten,
we walked the beach to Aberdyfi,
sand wide as the sea, the tide so distant
we barely reached it, ourselves the only
humans in sight. On Sunday, at the old
stone church of St. Cadfan, we were greeted
from the pulpit as “our American friends”
and stood transfixed by Welsh hymns—
ordinary folk with the voices of angels.
Then a ramble in emerald hills, our guide
and his dogs putting us at ease. We knew
nothing would equal the start of our journey—
nearly stayed, but left with regret—strangers
who came with blind luck and rail passes
and received more than we guessed.

PHOTO: Scenery outside Tywyn, Snowdon, Wales by David Young.

wales stream 2

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’ve always treasured memories of a trip to Wales that I took with my college friend Ann nearly 50 years ago. Everything was new, unfamiliar, a grand adventure—we took our chances, and we were blessed by the travel gods time and again. I have just two faded photos from that trip—one of Ann on the beach at Aberdyfi, described in the poem—and the other, a bucolic stream where we came upon a young girl and her grandfather as we were hiking. She looked at him with rapt attention as he spun her a story. At some point later on that hike, I realized that I’d lost my wallet while rock-hopping in the stream. Determined to find it, I retraced our steps and sure enough, there it was, sitting on a rock in the middle of the water as though the travel gods had left it there for me to find.

PHOTO: Wales stream by Cynthia Anderson (1974).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cynthia Anderson has published 11 poetry collections, most recently Full Circle (Cholla Needles Arts & Literary Library, 2022) and The Missing Peace (Velvet Dusk Publishing, 2021). Her poems frequently appear in journals and anthologies, and her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Cynthia is co-editor of the anthology A Bird Black As the Sun: California Poets on Crows & Ravens. She has lived in California for over 40 years.  Visit her at cynthiaandersonpoet.com.