Romany Roots and the Traveller's lament - by Ray Wills

21 February 2024
Ray Wills

Romany Roots


He had travelled through those Romany roots

where cultures and heartaches

were seldom foolproof

he'd walked o'er the footpaths

where thorns tagged your toes

where rabbits and foxgloves

bridled your clothes

he'd stumbled on wise folk

who'd been through the wars

when peace was a have

and Truth was ones word


His clothes they were tattered

and his language was rich

he'd laid in the gutters the sideways and ditch


The lore of his nation was caste to the winds

where freedom was gifted with Romany rings

where the sun hit you blindly

each morning at dawn

where the heavens were open

and your ways were forlorn



The paths that had ventured o'er valley and dale

with scent of the flower and the rich golden smells

where your fortune was told through the wink of an eye

where fairgrounds were rolling and spirits were high

like days long ago when the soil was rich

they travelled their wagons through mud and low ditch

where heather and fern stretched for many a mile

where the Romany roots were a haven a while

where the man was renowned for the good in his smile

Ray Wills

Travellers Lament

She took a reading whilst he worked the forge

She collected flowers and mixed the herbs

He bred the horses and mules a few

it was full of birdsong on the heaths of Poole


He worked the fairgrounds whilst she flew the darts

He rode the cars it was starlight in the dark

She cooked the stew whilst he told the tales

the land was rich then with wagons ponies and tails


He shook the hands and bartered deals

She picked the fruit turn turn turn wagon wheels

they used the stopping places and atchen tans

He told the stories he was the man

wise old ways gypsy man

She stood for Munnings art pictured frames

Stanley's, Lees, Coopers, James the same


She dressed in skirts and wore gay bright rings

He wore the waistcoat and boxed the sports of kings

She fashioned flowers with paper crepe

He worked with clay gravel and bricks



She sang the songs of Caroline Hughes

He wrote the stories like Dominic Reeves

She modelled for Augustus John at Alderney

He built the cottages Lady Wimborne rented free


She danced at pubs in new forest glades

he collected iron scrap

She was a Queen thousands were at her grave


He was a scholar poet bard

She was a countess whilst he played the cards

She was a sweetheart of Byron too

He was a wanderer traveller from Poole


She was a coal merchant whilst he was a Gypsy king

She was a Crutcher he was a White

where miners did sing.


She was a dreamer whilst he was a priest

She saved lives he saved souls to teach

She was a beauty and he was a rogue

She was a prophet indisposed


He was a fool

they rode their wagons

through the streets of Poole


Ray Wills


Ray Wills
Ray Wills with one of his books - The Last Stopping Place (c) Mike Doherty

Ray Wills is a Dorset-born Romani poet and author. His works can be purchased through his Amazon account: Ray Wills: books, biography, latest update

TT Poetry

(Artwork - artists unknown - used with the kind permission of the Robert Dawson Collection)