Red Sky in the Morning

Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight,
Red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning.
Country proverb

Our family does weddings.
When Rosalie married, first time round,
and the cars assembled for the drive,
it was in fact a lovely sunrise
and I (twelve, in the back seat) shut up
about red skies and rhymes and mornings,
but the Family Think Tank got to work
and Auntie Martha, the respected one,
declared that sky to be a harbinger.
A portent, for so many happy years ahead.
But we, the younger girls and we two boys,
we’d seen his photos, always called him
the man with the snakeskin smile.

Her second wedding was just ten years on.
We, loudly festive, celebratory,
knew Elfed for a good, kind man. There were
no portents I can think of on that January day,
just a mixture of sleet and primroses.
The gritting lorries had been out the night before.



Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet whose work has been published widely in Britain and the USA, with occasional forays into Canada, Ireland, India and Mauritius.