Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Wild places

I haven't blogged much lately - I'm sorry about that. Life's just been a bit full. I've done a few entries on the photoblog, though, so whenever it's quiet here there may be something happening there.

I had a stomach bug today so didn't go into work - and with thunderstorms and rain off and on all day, it's been a good afternoon to curl up with a book. The book I chose today was a cloth-bound blank notebook I've had for about 17 or 18 years, in which I write interesting quotes and things that I come across. While I read the quotes I've written into the book often enough, tucked into the front are numerous pieces of folded paper in which there are longer poems or extracts, and I don't reread those so often.

So, it was nice today to touch base again with some extracts from TH (Harri) Jones' poetry, a Welsh poet who lived a few years in Australia before his untimely death, aged 44, in 1965. I came across a book of Jones' poetry in my first year or so at university - and loved it. Unfortunately, I only copied out a few lines here and there - and I think I've lost one of the pages over the years.

Jones writes often of his self-exile from Wales, and I think that what resonates with me in his poetry is the sense of place and connection to it, even over the distance of time. For me, sense of place is also important, and my memories are often tied up in where as much as who or when. Also, I visited Wales in 1983 and loved it, feeling an immediate sense of home, of belonging, although its differences from Australia are legion. But, like Australia, Wales is not a place one can ignore; the landscape, the history, the very air itself seem to hold an ancient wildness, and I can relate to Jones' yearning for the places of his childhood:

Homesick for clouded hills that never lose
The loom and shape they had when I,
My head in other clouds, trod their old paths
Too proud then to know that I too would die.
And, from another poem, in which he writes of his daughter visiting Ayer's Rock (Uluru):
Would the vision of that monolith
Stay in her mind and dominate her dreams
As in my mind and dreams these thirty years
There stays the small hill, Altlyclych,
The hill of bells, bedraggled with wet fern
And stained with sheep, and holding like a threat
The wild religion and the ancient tongue,
All the defeated centuries of Wales?

Tomorrow I'm going to the library at work, to borrow his books again, and to renew the friendship.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Tagged again

I got tagged by Kate, who thinks I haven't been posting enough lately. She's right - I haven't. But I'm in Canberra, looking after elderly parents and trying to set things up so they can cope.

Three screen names I've used: God, I'm so boring. I just use my own name.

Three things you like about yourself: mostly optimistic, reasonable human being, even temperament

Three things you don't like about yourself: lack of self-discipline, 20 extra kilos of weight, lack of eyebrows

Three parts of your heritage: love of books, love of natural environment, respect for others

Three things that scare you: fire; intelligent, power-hungry, amoral politicians; the power of large corporations in today's world.

Three of your everyday essentials: chocolate, quiet moments, a cup of tea.

Three things you are wearing right now: dressing gown, underwear, and.... um, a big smile?

Three of your favorite songs: Waterboys' A Pagan Place; June Tabor's The Old Miner (or something like that); Dead Can Dance The Writing on my Father's Hand.

Three things you want in a relationship: trust, respect, warmth.

Two truths and a lie: My grandfather fought in the Battle of Jutland; my great-great-grandfather was a convict; my grandmother had an affair with an Earl.

Three things you can't live without: chocolate; quiet moments; making up characters and stories.

Three places you want to go on vacation: Isle of Skye; Central Asia; Outback Australia.

Three things you just can't do: sing in tune; get enthusiastic about housework;

Three kids names: Don't have kids, but if I'd had them, they would probaby have been Isabel and Alistair.

Three things you want to do before you die: spend summer on the Isle of Skye; see a royalty cheque with my name on it and a large number; give up the day job to write.

Three celeb crushes: nope, never did the crush thing. But back in 1983, Scottish actor David Rintoul had really sigh-inducing thighs when I saw him on stage.

Three of your favorite musicians: Sting, Waterboys, June Tabor

Three physical things about the opposite sex that appeals to you: eyes (that's two) and a genuine smile.

Three of your favorite hobbies: Weaving. That's about it - who has time for more?

Three things you really want to do badly right now: win the lottery; write; go on holiday somewhere quiet.

Three careers you're considering/you've considered: historical costume designer; teacher; academic historian.

Three ways that you are stereotypically a boy: hmmm, might have to think about that one - I don't do stereotypes well.

Three ways that you are stereotypically a girl: see above.

Three people that I would like to see post this meme: I'm on my parents computer away from all my bookmarks, so you can all breathe a sigh of relief.

Will I be surprised if they ignore this: see above.