Monday, 16 August 2010

Ty Newydd 1

A brief one as it is a nine hour journey and I had only about four hours sleep the previous night - what is more it is for me to lead the session tomorrow morning.

The train ride is as beautiful is people said it would be - it's the last four and a half hour stretch from Birmingham to Criccieth. Till then I had been reading, now Pascale's new book, now diving back into Barthes's Camera Lucida. I still don't understand all of it, and sometimes he does that very French thing of saying something mysterious and portentous for the sake of it, which is a kind of puffing up, but what I do understand - that is to say when he is thinking rather than searching for terms or trying to find the mot juste from among the five or six possibilities that each might be juste if I knew what he was directing the mot at, he comes out with wonderful things that are just as applicable to poetry as to photographs, that, for instance, you want to feel that the poet / photographer has found things as if by accident rather than carefully placing them.

The route skirts the sea for hours in Wales and everyone looks out, enthralled. Why? you might ask. It's just water, a lot of it, slightly choppy, sparkling and pulsing. But children, teenagers, adults are entirely focused on it, and every time they lose sight of it then find it again, there is a surge of palpable excitement, that I too feel.

And I think of the word 'surge' which is the first word to come to mind, and realise it is exactly what the sea is doing. It surges towards the land and our eyes and hearts surge towards it, our alien, hostile. ravishing element.And that little word-play keeps me interested for a while, and then there's another surge... There is something significant there, about language and enactment and onomatopoeia and punning. Can language do what the sea does? Has it any alternative but to try?


Poet in Residence said...

You're dangerously close to RST up there, George! Take suitable care.

I have sensational memories of Black Rock Sands at Criccieth. Dad, car almost out of control, racing up and down the beach like a maniac in the 'new' Ford 8. We 4 kids laughing in the back. Mum in a semi-panic.

George S said...

What's RST, Gwilym? If I am in danger I should know..

Ty Newydd is the last house David Lloyd George lived in.

Poet in Residence said...

George, I refer to R S Thomas. He is the blesse`d and curse`d guardian of my hearth and home. One time he painted the inside of a church as black as one of his his jovial moods...but wait, you are both Bloodaxe bards... so mumble Aberdaron, or something like it, and softly pass. Enjoy!

Poet in Residence said...

ps- There's a lovely picture of the old cantankerer on my blog. He's below Homer, Sitting Bull and John Lennon.