Friday, July 09, 2010

Poetic pilgrimage

I'm off again tomorrow - a trip culminating in a pilgrimage to the last parish of the poet/priest R.S. Thomas, in Aberdaron. Thomas spent his life trying to return to the places he felt represented the real Wales, where the Welsh language was still in use and where the influence of the English was less apparent - but he also had this ongoing homesickness for the sea beside which he had grown up, and for the hills. No wonder I feel an empathy - even before I take into consideration his poetry. He himself felt it a great sadness that he was unable to write poetry in Welsh, but as an adult learner he never felt sufficiently at home in the language that in old age he spoke and wrote his prose autobiographies in.

Had he written in Welsh, however, I would never have encountered him, never discovered those telling lines and penetrating insights that have been such an influence on my own development as a writer. Now I'm going to see what inspired some of my favourite literature. I can hardly wait.

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