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brittle with relics

I recently shared my film Children of the Soil with a friend who wrote back that your film took me very directly to this”:

To live in Wales is to be conscious
At dusk of the spilled blood
That went into the making of the wild sky,
Dyeing the immaculate rivers
In all their courses.
It is to be aware,
Above the noisy tractor
And hum of the machine
Of strife in the strung woods,
Vibrant with sped arrows.
You cannot live in the present,
At least not in Wales.
There is the language for instance,
The soft consonants
Strange to the ear.
There are cries in the dark at night
As owls answer the moon,
And thick ambush of shadows,
Hushed at the fields’ corners.
There is no present in Wales,
And no future;
There is only the past,
Brittle with relics,
Wind-bitten towers and castles
With sham ghosts;
Mouldering quarries and mines;
And an impotent people,
Sick with inbreeding,
Worrying the carcase of an old song.

Welsh Landscape by R.S. Thomas.

One of the things I like about art is how it sends us to other things. It triggers our imaginations. It reminds us. Of course I don’t think this is the sole preserve of art (think of Proust’s madeleine) but perhaps one of art’s roles is to directly invite the possibility of connecting with our pasts, presents and possible futures (through the imagination).

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