A TRIBUTE TO PHILLIP COCKWELL
By Phillip Cockwell.
“Neath River Valley”, “Deadeye Dan” and “Son of Deadeye” are poems based on conversations with the late Noel Thomas (of Glynneath Road). Noel explained to me that the tall tales were typical of the stories that used to be told in the old days by a group of old reprobates who used to walk along the canal at Resolfen on Sunday mornings in preference to atten
ding church or chapel. The stories they tell would have made Baron Von Munchausen blush.
Although I have used some poetic licence, the punchline in the story is as true to the original as I could make it.
We return once again to Resolfen
That city of sunshine and fun
And to me one special man who lived there
A deadeye shot with a gun.
He belonged to that black band, a sinner
Who lurked by the canal one Sunday morn?
When the godly went from chapel to dinner
Lads gossiped and tall tales were born.
As a marksman his kill was uncanny
His aim never once missed the mark
For this he was called Deadeye Danny
At him no village dog dared bark.
He was known through the length of the valley
As a marksman and superlative shot
Not a cat dared to stray down his alley
For fear Deadeye took a pot.
To go shooting was Deadeye Dan’s habit
His gun ever ready to aim
He would always return with a rabbit
Or game bird to make good his claim.
On this Sunday morn by the river
He boasted his aim was his pride
It put the ducks in their nests in a shiver
From him there was nowhere to hide.
To his friends by the river he told a story
How he hunted a magnificent bird
And in details both lurid and gory
The success of the hunting they heard.
“Six fine ducks swam on the water”
Deadeye Dan to his friends did declare
“I had promised a bird to my daughter”
But they saw me and took to the air.
“The birds quacked in fear as their feet left the pool
But I as the marksman remembered my rule
Whatever the rush, your head must keep cool
The man who forgets this is known for a fool”.
“ As the birds left the water, I loosed off a round
And of all the six the fattest I found
And down on the bank with aloud sounding bump
They’re landed that bird so handsome and plump”
“But as low on the water I pulled on the trigger
What happened next then no one could figure.
A magnificent salmon from the water took leap
And fell with the bird on the bank in a heap.”
“The shot at the bird had simply passed through
When the salmon had leapt, I hit that target too
Both the bird and the fish together I got
With one pull of the trigger and one single shot.”
This posting is made in tribute to Mr Phillip Cockwell ( Chairman of Resolfen History Society) who sadly died suddenly on Sunday last, the 11th of June,2006. Phillip’s enthusiastic contribution to the Society over many years has been immense and he leaves a massive gap which will be very difficult to fill.