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.


Merry said...

I came to give your stat-counter something to do...and read up on what you are doing, too! Been offline while dealing with family crises, so catching up...


Merry said...

I came to give your stat-counter something to do and to look at pretty pictures. And read some of your blog.

I've been offline dealing with family crises, so playing catchup here.


Lyn Cash said...

Just browsing and thought I'd say hello. Enjoyed the poetry.