Three-year-old Willis, bustled on to the bus
on Fishguard square, can only see a god,
a driver, a man who can drive a big blue bus.
His mother smiles at the driver too, responds
to his salute, but then it’s back to thoughts
of the early shopping and the night’s spag bol.
Jake and the boys, hoofing on at Letterston,
note the driver, nod. He’s OK, a bloke, but old,
it’s a bus. They dream just now of motorbikes.
The girls will see him through a kind of glaze,
for theirs will be a Smartphone journey, pumped
and punctuated by the nattering of the ether.
It’s the older ladies who best love the driver.
To them he’s “Emlyn”, a helpmeet, who listens,
always (but quickly), to their frailties and moans,
who sees them tenderly on and off. Take care.
The older men call him “Emlyn” – or just “boy”,
for this is Pembrokeshire, where everyone is “boy”,
and boys do things like drive the local bus.
And at the journey’s centre, Emlyn loves
the run of a corner, the tread and check
of a braking rhythm, the long, strong pull
of a gradient, the weight of the bus.
And three-year-old Willis, gazing on,
can see and understand it all,
the driver and the power and the bus.
Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet whose work has appeared widely in both Britain and the USA, where he has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.