Sea Virus

May 9, 2016

Ilya Repin, Sadko in the Underwater Kingdom (Oil on canvas), 1876.

I knew I should never have gone below
but I did, and the fug of bilges and wood
caught me aback. The sheets of my heart
snapped taut to breaking, as a gale
stronger than longing filled the sail
inside me. To be shot of land
and its wood smoke! To feel the keel
cold in a current! To see the mast
inscribing water like a restless pen
writing a fading wake! It’s true,
I’m ruined. Not even peace will do
to keep me ashore now. Not even you.

Gwyneth Lewis

(Gwyneth Lewis has published six books of poetry in Welsh and English. Her first collection, Parables and Faxes (Bloodaxe, 1995), like her second, Zero Gravity(Bloodaxe, 1998), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize. She writes in English and in Welsh. Y Llofrudd Iath (The Language Murderer) (Barddas, 2000) won the Welsh Arts Council Book of the Year Prize. Her most recent collection of poems is Sparrow Tree.)


May 9, 2016


It crumbles
where the land forgets its name
and I’m foreign in my own country.
Fallow, pasture, ploughland
ripped from the hill
beside a broken farm.

The word’s exactness
slips from children’s tongues.
Saints fade in the parishes.
Fields blur between the scar
of hedgerow and new road.
History forgets itself.

At the garage they’re polite.
‘Sorry love, no Welsh.’
At the shop I am slapped
by her hard ‘What!’
They came for beauty
but could not hear it speak.

Gillian Clarke

(Gillian Clarke is one of the central figures in contemporary Welsh poetry, the third to take up the post of National Poet of Wales.)

artistic creation…

May 9, 2016

Willem de Kooning - woman on a bicycle

Modern art has taken the wrong turn in abandoning the search for the meaning of existence in order to affirm the value of the individual for his own sake. What purports to be art begins to looks like an eccentric occupation for suspect characters who maintain that any personalised action is of intrinsic value simply as a display of self-will. But in an artistic creation the personality does not assert itself it serves another, higher and communal idea. The artist is always the servant, and is perpetually trying to pay for the gift that has been given to him as if by a miracle. Modern man, however, does not want to make any sacrifice, even though true affirmation of the self can only be expressed in sacrifice. We are gradually forgetting about this, and at the same time, inevitably, losing all sense of human calling.

Andrei Tarkovsky
Sculpting in Time



May 9, 2016


Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.


Mark Twain

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Jack Vanzet

It is dreadful when something weighs on your mind, not to have a soul to unburden yourself to. You know what I mean. I tell my piano the things I used to tell you.

Frederic Chopin
Letter to George Sand