As I researched the details of what happened at Aberfan, I realised this was a historical story with a deeply urgent contemporary resonance: a story of what can happen when a community is run by a corporation.
On Friday 21st October 1966 a slag heap shifted. It slid inexorably towards a small mining village in South Wales, destroying several houses and at least one farm. The worst hit building was Pantglas Junior School. In total, 144 people were killed. 116 of them were children. The name of the village was Aberfan.
I remember this disaster; I was a contemporary of the children in that school. I remember the shock waves and the disbelief and later, the country’s sadness. I would have been nine years old. Continue reading “The Green Hollow by Owen Sheers: How to talk about it”
My Welsh spider’s lattice trembles with the passion of those fighting to preserve a native tongue.
Margaret’s weekly prompt for ragtag Saturday is ‘tracery’. In words and photographs, she offers us nature, pared back to the bones. Like Margaret, I take much from the skeletal branches of winter trees. When I think of tracery I think of intricate and often irregular pathways: interlocking, overlaying. Tracery is embodied by the slumbering arterials of naked branches against a winter sky. Continue reading “Dewithon Diary ii: Welsh Tracery”
When they went home, at last, the sky was a riot of violent colours and a lonely bird, hidden in the chestnut tree, cried out, like an augury.
(Read as part of Dewithon 19 and for The Classics Club.)
Continue reading “The Snow Spider Trilogy by Jenny Nimmo”
“If you want to find God,” Jon says “you just have to come here and look, don’t you?”
It’s St David’s Day – or it was when I first sat down to write. I have daffodils in the garden and on the window sill. And we are at the start of Dewithon 19, hosted by Paula aka Book Jotter. I’ve been swept up with the idea of a Welsh readathon; I have an impossibly long list of books in mind with others being added all the time. And I feel that I should post something on this, the first weekend of the event. But what, with several books started and none yet finished? Continue reading “Dewithon Diary”
There is something in the air on this final February Saturday. The light is bright; the sky is clear. There’s a strength to the sun that belies this shortest of months. There is birdsong on the wing and between the leafless branches. Into the blue falls the sharp mewl of buzzards, too high to be easily spotted but proclaiming their presence with haunting calls which shred the air like darts and remind me of my small place against this wide empty sky. Continue reading “Who Killed Cock Robin?”
And in making her choice, the squirrel – generous squirrel – has granted me the opportunity to join her at her table.
This morning I watched a squirrel, sleek and plump. The squirrel and I are at eye level. We are each intent upon breakfast: I, dallying safe in my warm kitchen in our inverted home built from bricks and glass, cocooned and disconnected from what it really means to be in the throes of life, and he, moving freely in a habitat more suited to his wild and precious nature where every sight, sound and smell weaves a story in his brain about how to survive. He is intent on his task and seemingly oblivious to my silent presence, tidied away behind the glass and safely distanced from those sensory signals that shout ‘danger’. Continue reading “The View from Here: a tentative return”
I had accepted that for the moment I can’t write – nothing publishable at least. It will pass. But snippets, fragments, jottings coalesced without my noticing… into what I would be writing about if I could.
Earlier today I accepted that, for whatever reason, at the moment I can’t write. I have the ideas but not the capacity to create anything from them. I was explaining this in a reply to Margaret at From Pyrenees to Pennines.
Margaret, thankfully, is much more prolific and consistent than I am. Among other posts on her blog, she provides a one-word stimulus every Tuesday here at Ragtag Daily Prompts. She has provided three so far, each one chiming absolutely with things I want to capture. Every week I want to respond – it just doesn’t happen. And I was explaining this to Margaret in a comment on her latest post. Until I realised that without thinking about it, I was writing what’s been eluding me these past weeks. Continue reading “The View from Here: when the words don’t come”