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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in
Aled Morgan's LiveJournal:
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|Monday, September 12th, 2005|
|Poem on the tideline
Sun after rain and
The sea in-flowing
Wave after wave after wave.
While I live, let me live.
When I die, let me rot where I fall,
Nurturing the worms
But remember me
Ankle-deep in the incoming tide
|Saturday, February 26th, 2005|
I do not like myself tonight.
I snap off the cavilling complaint of the news
And in the sudden silence hear the wind scour the rocks.
I used to have a friend who told me once
"When you are sad or sore,
Make something: a poem, a table, a meal."
I measure flour, knead dough, and set some bread to rise
And think of urban_homestead
So far away, still waiting.
Bread rising, dog walked, friends thought of, poem forming,
It's not such a bad evening, such a bad world,
I settle down to read, with tea and whisky.
|Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005|
I feel so old. And yet, inside I feel the same age I always have been. Which is nonsense, I suppose, but I don't feel any different from when I was fifteen. No wiser, just older.
|Monday, December 13th, 2004|
Repenting, a king walked
barefoot to Canterbury.
His sin, hasty words.
Who could make you go,
now your words are proved as lies,
barefoot to Baghdad?
|Wednesday, November 17th, 2004|
It wasn't actually raining, but it was grey, the sort of sky that seems like one solid block of cloud hanging about three feet above your head. It had been raining, and it seemed as though it would be raining again soon. It's November, that's what November is like.
I had Gelert in the car with me, and we'd been visiting a client out near Newgale. Because it wasn't raining, I decided we could have a quick run on Newgale sands, and pick up an early pub lunch there before seeing another four clients in the afternoon on a route that curved back and ended up with us at home.
The beach was, well, my Nan always used to call it "bracing" when the wind comes straight off the sea and through your clothes to your bones. There's a big pile of pebbley rocks -- man-made sea defences -- and then there's sand, stretching out to the sea. The waves were rushing in fast as if they had somewhere else to be and breaking with a rush and falling back. There was absolutely nobody else on the beach, and very few prints. Sometimes in winter there are some lunatic surfers in the water, but not yesterday. Gelert barked and put up a seagull then went running down towards the wet sand.
I followed along behind, up on the packed sand that was still dry. I was cold, but that doesn't seem to bother Gelert. I was about to call him, to turn and head back to the nice warm pub, when quite suddenly the wind ripped the clouds apart over the water, showing more clouds, but up beyond that, blue sky. For an instant there the sun shone through, like a spotlight. It illuminated a yacht out on the sea, which I hadn't even noticed was there before, a little yacht with a white sail, sailing west in that sudden sunlight on water that wasn't grey any more but green, just as if it was summer.
|Saturday, October 16th, 2004|
I know you're not supposed to do it any more, but nothing says "Autumn" to me like the smell of burning leaves.
|Tuesday, September 28th, 2004|
Someone on my Friends List, in a locked post, was talking about relativism in a way that made me think about it. I've been thinking about it on and off all week.
It seemed to me that she, and other people posting in her comments, believed that relativism meant thinking that all views in the world were equally true -- and, this being so, for someone espousing it, it wouldn't matter what you believed, so how could you decide?
It seems to me that actually, relativism is rather the belief that all views are equally valid, and that most sensible people would argue that there are certain areas in which relativism is applicable and certain areas where it isn't. Morality and ethics are areas where it is, and science, for instance, is an area where it isn't. Or, specifically, anything where there are grey areas, where reasonable people could hold different opinions, such as whether doing something is right.
There's an old joke about the skeptic being asked what colour the horse is and replying "It's white on this side." A pure relativist, if there were any such thing, would, I suppose, reply "I see it as white..." but be accepting to others seeing it as blue, polka-dotted or a cow. But in reality, there isn't much room for reasonable differences about what colour a white horse is, and not even the most convinced relativist in the world would say there was.
When it comes to what is good, where there's a huge ground people have been arguing over since Socrates, then saying your ideas are just as valid as mine, even though we disagree, seems quite sensible. It isn't to say I'm about to lay down my own ideas and take up yours, Fred's or Mrs Evans's. It's that in areas where it's reasonable to disagree, I'll allow that it is
I think there are some areas where everyone's a relativist. Taste, for instance. My lovely welshcakes might seem tasteless and dry as dust to you, and neither of us are lying, it's just what we like. And there are people who voluntarily eat curry.
I think the problem arises with areas that to some people are as indisputable as the colour of this side of a horse and to others are very disputed indeed -- like for instance religion. I've seen very firm believers and very firm atheists claim that there is no ground for disagreement from their position.
Relativism isn't the sort of belief people go to the stake for. Like moderation, there are very few fanatics leaping up and insisting everyone allows everyone's opinions validity or else! It doesn't give certainty -- far from it -- and people like to feel sure about things. There'll never be a crusade for it.
Where it wins, I think, is not only in politeness and getting along with people with different opinions, but in encouraging open minds and consideration of many sides of complex questions. Where it doesn't is where you have minds so wide open everything falls out -- or with things like the supposed post-modern consideration of a scientific paper on purely textual grounds.
|Saturday, September 18th, 2004|
was just asking me if I'd had a nice summer. Well, I did, working hard and keeping my head down, mostly. It's definitely autumn now -- a chill in the air in the mornings, the nights drawing in, and the leaves turning. The surest sign summer's over though is the roads clearing up -- no more tourists. It makes autumn a new beginning, the children back to school, the tourists going away. I think the Jewish New Year has the best of it; it's a much better time for a new start than January.
I've taken to taking Gelert out with me in the car if I'm driving around seeing clients. He likes it, and he's very good about staying in the car when he needs to. Most of the time I can leave the window quite far down for him, and anyway, it hasn't been a very hot summer. Some people don't mind me bringing him in, and he's very good then as well, he walks around a strange room sniffing everything and then settles down next to me. He's quite good for breaking the ice with new people sometimes, it gives us something to talk about before we get down to business. It's also been a good change for him -- before, he stayed home with Gyp, now, he mostly comes out with me. I don't take him when I'm going into the office, of course, but that's usually only a couple of days in the week. I find him a good companion in the car, and usually we stop somewhere and have a good walk -- which means I've been seeing some new bits of the countryside.
Then when we get home, he jumps out when I stop to open the gate and runs up to the house, so he can be there to welcome me when I get out. He's a very intelligent dog. Poll -- and Sue at work as well -- keeps saying I should get another pup, but I couldn't take a pup with me the way I take Gelert, and they still haven't caught that murderer with the gun, whoever it was, and I'd just be worried all the time. It's not as if another dog would replace Gyp anyway. Gelert and I are doing all right together.
|Thursday, September 16th, 2004|
|Night walk on the beach.
Command of the sea and the deep waters was given by lot not to you, but to me!
Virgil, Aeneid, Book I.
Hey, have you seen the moon
through all the tattered clouds
reaching a cold hand
brushing off cloud-shreds,
gathering up the sea.
Here, where the water
Here, where the tide-line
is marked by the weed.
Here where footprints and paw-prints
Have you seen the moon
lighting the storm-night
raising the water,
catching the tides up
like the ragged hem of her dress.
|Saturday, June 5th, 2004|
As when the great wave curled,
weight of water
sea become sky
hung, poised a moment,
then broke, rushed on, drew back,
washed away our sand castle lives.
|Thursday, April 22nd, 2004|
The years between turn solid here
I know it with each spade I lift
Through all the earth I have to sift,
And yet you lived so very near.
Your name, your life are quite forgot
Not much to show you lived at all,
We pick through shards, a coin, a wall,
And pieces of a broken pot.
(The marketplace, the potter's stand,
Striped awnings, shoppers bustled round,
The rain ran streaming off your head.
You turned it smiling in your hand
And said, "Look, dear, what I have found!
Oh, isn't it a lovely red!)
|Monday, April 19th, 2004|
I'm knocking off early today because I did my back in yesterday in the garden and I just can't face another two hours of sitting in the car or other people's uncomfortable chairs. I've put in enough overtime recently that I'm well and truly entitled. So I'm sitting down with a pot of tea and arnica on the bits of my back I can reach, and I thought I'd post something here.
I haven't been posting much recently, and I haven't been reading much either. There's no reason, it's just that Livejournal hasn't been at the top of my priorities and I've been busy. Work has been crazy, and there has been more face-to-face social life than usual. Maybe it's Spring.
A friend of mine -- an acquaintance, an ex-colleague, called Mike -- organized a reading of Under Milk Wood
in his house near Narberth, which went wonderfully well. I feel very fortunate to have been asked. I read Captain Cat and Mr. Ogmore, and Widower Waldo -- we were all doubling up. It was such fun and gave me a real rush. It was also very nice to meet other like-minded people -- we had two rehearsals and a proper run through, which was on Friday. Mike wants us to do it again in a church hall with an audience in the summer, and will get in touch if he can organize that.
Polly Garter, whose real name is Judith but who I'll probably be calling Polly for the next century now I've got into the habit of it, wants to start a group for play-readings, without rehearsal, once a month, agreeing in advance what we're going to read next time. She wants to start with Stoppard's Arcadia
on May 2nd. I need to get hold of a copy pronto as I haven't ever read it. She's suggesting A Winter's Tale
which I have read and even own, for June, so maybe I'll skip May and go for June.
In other news, I sold my Cartimandua poem to a tiny magazine called Archon which pays five pounds and two copies. So that's two publications so far in 2004, which puts me one up on 2003 and it's only April.
I've finished reading the Patrick O'Brian books. I thought about going back and reading them all again when I got to the end, but I've resisted temptation -- mainly because I've lent the first three to Polly!
|Sunday, April 18th, 2004|
|Thursday, March 4th, 2004|
Snow, which nipped some of the flowers in the bud -- literally. It's not often one gets to use a phrase like that exactly as it's intended! The dogs weren't at all sure about it, I don't think either of them had seen it before. Gyp sniffed at it and backed away and then tried to sneak up on it.
It didn't last long, fortunately.
Otherwise it's been work work work; and reading Patrick O'Brian. No good poetry, no even half-way good poetry. Nothing worth recording, I can't bring myself to set down such riveting events as considering buying a new hot water heater. Do you ever have days when you don't feel very interesting; as if you're not the hero of your story but just a bit character?
|Monday, February 23rd, 2004|
Thank you to everyone on my friends list who said "Happy Birthday" to me. I really wasn't expecting that and I'm extremely touched. chickenfeet2003
even said it in Welsh.
I was feeling terribly old, but that's cheered me up no end.
Billie was down for the weekend, which was lovely, we ate a lot and went out and enjoyed the early Spring mildness -- she says it's a lot warmer here than in London. There are narcissi and daffs out in my garden -- I always have them for St. David's Day, and if they're out for my birthday it seems like a bonus.
Billie brought me a huge stainless steel stewpot from the family, with instructions to throw out my (very) old one. She also brought me four jazz CDs, which I haven't played yet, and Robert Graves's Homer's Daughter
which I've been looking for for years.
In about half an hour, I have five people coming round for birthday dinner -- roast duck, apple sauce, mashed potatoes, frozen peas, all very easy, and a cake which Billie made and left for me. I've just brought in a few narcissi for the table. So things are pretty good.
|Sunday, February 22nd, 2004|
Sometime after that you
We were walking down the street,
together, so I stopped, turned,
thinking maybe an eyelash,
waving your hand through the fine rain,
"Isn't it absurd that of all time
from the coelacanths to the spaceships
that we should be standing
here, together, now,
that it should be Spring,
|Wednesday, February 18th, 2004|
|Sunday, February 15th, 2004|
I just checked my email, and it turns out that the Sappho fragment poem, below, has been accepted by H EPISTOLH, a Hellenic Reconstructionist magazine, where I sent it by email when I saw a call for poetry on the hellenion
community just after I'd written it.
They don't pay, of course, but it's a publication, which is very cheering.
I sometimes feel very alone in what I'm doing, and a little appreciation goes a long way.
|Wednesday, February 11th, 2004|
I went absolutely mad today and drove into Carmarthen after work and blew a hundred and fifty pounds and a booktoken in Ottakar's on the whole set of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin books.
I've been reading them for a little while from the library. I skipped the first one, but I read Post Captain
and HMS Surprise
and The Mauritius Comand
and that's about where they get really really good. Before that I could have stopped any time. I was enjoying them, or I wouldn't have gone on, but I could take them or leave them. Part way through The Mauritius Command
Jack loses his luck, and everything goes to a deeper level of reality, and the mail arrives soaked through and unreadable, and it just gets better from there on.
When, yesterday, I discovered that the library did not have a copy of the next one, The Fortunes of War
, I decided to buy it with my booktoken. Only I couldn't find it, not in Smiths in town, not in the bookshop in Pembroke Dock, not in Smiths in Pembroke, nowhere. I kept seeing the first one, which I havn't read, but with a cover with Russell Crowe's face splashed all over it.
So I decided to go to Carmerthen, have supper in Caban y Derwen by the Crimean War Mamorial, and see if I could find it there. I was actually considering, in desperation, going on to Swansea (it's only another twenty-five miles from Carmarthen, though that's an extra fifty all round) and looking in the big Waterstones there!
But luckily, when I got to Ottakar's, I saw the whole set, complete, matching, in attractive big paperbacks, with a pound off each if I bought more than three, and no silly film covers. I couldn't resist. The covers are rather nice, with bits of maps and the same pictures as the hardbacks from the library, ship pictures that look authentic but probably aren't because they match too well.
So, I have cleared a shelf in the study especially for them. There are cupboards in the alcoves, and shelves above them, which are bookshelves, but the bottom shelf, the top of the cupboard, sticks out more, and I used to put african violets on them, and they also had a tendency to get cluttered up with leads and letters waiting to be posted and clutter. No more! They are now designated bookshelves, the african violets are relegated to the downstairs loo. The right-hand shelf, by my wing-chair, contains the Aubrey/Maturin series, in order, looking very splendid.
Now I have to decide whether to rush on or go back and read Master and Commander
What a pleasant quandry to find myself in.
|Tuesday, February 10th, 2004|
But I wanted to say it is Spring here, and I am OK.