Old Ianto now, could tell a tale.
He had the knack. His ancient mouth
would twist this way and that,
his eyes would jest – they’d glint like anthracite –
and always half-suppressed, that laugh
which masqueraded as a smile
would catch you unawares;
infectious, and you half collapsed
in gales before the joke was out.
He’d dig you in the ribs to make a point,
hang on to your lapels,
slam down his pint to imitate
a toff. He’d have us all
in stitches, rolling in our seats,
clutching at our sides and all.
But hear him talking serious, too –
oh, such a mellow voice, if only he was telling
of the time that he’d been passed
a dud ten-bob, or fleeced when he bought
that pile of junk he called a bike,
or thought he’d lost his milgi on the hill.
Then, he’d make a lump come to your throat;
I tell you straight, it was like you listened
to the pleading of a harp. Aye, Ianto was the boy.
Ianto had the power
to make you laugh or cry at will.
From ‘Welsh Past and Present’