Saturday, 8 April 2017

The Tongue of the Wave

The last two weeks of March were unseasonably cold, but at last there’s a real promise of spring. The soil is still cool, and flowers are late. A warming sun over the last few days has encouraged more gorse into flower at Hunt’s Bay. From my secluded lookout where Vernon Watkins wrote poems, I look down over a sea of yellow.  A couple of early swallows twist and turn, coming so close at times that I hear their bills snap as they catch an insect. They may be a pair that will nest in the farm at the head of the valley, but more likely they’re heading further north for the summer.

Vernon’s ledge is hidden from the cliff path; only locals seem to know it, and I’ve never been disturbed here. I look east towards the massive limestone cliff at Pwll Du Head. Below, the gentle slopes of the bay show the first signs of spring green amongst the dead browns of winter bracken. The constant crashing of surf on the rocks is the only sound; there’s a real sense of the wild.

As always at this spot, my thoughts turn to poetry. The Watkins family home is on the cliffs a short walk to the west, and I know Vernon came here with Dylan Thomas. From this magic place they must have composed together.  But it’s Vernon’s words, carved into a small marble plaque set into the rock-face that captures the spirit of the bay, and moves my soul each time I sit here.

I have been taught the script of the stones
and I know the tongue of the wave

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