at my bold face in the mirror before going downstairs. Another question that came to bother me in the wake of the first was this: Why does a man go to the trouble of living? Some groggy mornings you feel that life is an unmixed weariness, a habit that has no meaning. But this morning, after coming across that little book with the sweet-smelling leaves, there flashed through my memory a picture of my mother at home on our farm. She had just found a hen's nest under the hedge, and was warming her hands on the eggs, and there were wild hyacinths in a blue haze all about her feet.
Now that I come to think of it, that was the very moment my razor misbehaved in the vicinity of my eat.
Ysgrifau Heddiw (gol. G.R. Hughes & I. Jones, Gwasg Gomer, 1975)
'To tell you the truth,' my mother said to me, 'I seriously thought that I'd never see you again.' She was an old woman by this time, about three score years and ten, although you would never have thought it from her bearing. And she went on looking younger than her years right up until her death at eighty-four. Perhaps an only child, as I was, is blinder than most children to the change taking place in his parents' appearance. That is, except when some cruel disease intervenes to cut a man down in the flower of his days, as happened to my father when I was in my twentieth year. Two years previously, on my leaving home for the first time to go to college, in the middle of the great Depression, he had been in tears for hours afterwards, from what I was to hear later. We were close friends, true enough. But the probability is that his illness (undiagnosed at the time) was already giving him trouble, and also that some instinct was warning him that he wouldn't live to see me finish my course; he must have felt, too, the abysmal sadness of sensing that there was something final about his son's leaving home on that occasion.
My mother, however, went on living for thirty years after him. And just as I throughout all that time looked on her with a son's