Illuminations: An Anthology of Welsh Short Prose

By Meic Stephens | Go to book overview

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)


Of Time and Distance

Dyfnallt Morgan

'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

-141-

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Illuminations: An Anthology of Welsh Short Prose
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • The Village School 1
  • Fear of the Sea 7
  • A Windy Night 9
  • The Late Lemuel Parry, Esq., J.P., O.B.E. 12
  • On Drowning a Cat 18
  • The House Across the Way 21
  • Weobley and St. Emilion 25
  • The Man in the Street 28
  • Old Dent 31
  • On Collecting Roads 34
  • 'their Land They Shall Lose' 42
  • The Red Flag 46
  • Strolling Players 50
  • One Sunday Afternoon 57
  • Salem 61
  • A Trip to the Circus 63
  • Thoughts on Coronation Day, 1953 68
  • From the Pulpit 72
  • How to Choose and Treat a Wife 77
  • To the Mountain 83
  • The Imperative Upon Me 88
  • Disenchantment 92
  • The Hiring Fair 94
  • The Man at Chapel House 97
  • Question and Answer 102
  • The Little Llandeilo Boots 105
  • My Last Day in Prison 108
  • A Discovery 118
  • A Land of Romance 121
  • Hi-Ho! 129
  • Ancestors 133
  • While Shaving 138
  • Of Time and Distance 141
  • A Methodist Deacon's Advice 146
  • Of Violets and Bells 148
  • Remembering Mrs Newbould 151
  • Good Morning, Lloyd 156
  • In Modesty and Trembling 162
  • Christmasn in the Valley 166
  • On Stammering 169
  • Butlins 172
  • A Millionaire 176
  • A Scene from Military Life 178
  • An Exile 180
  • The Fox Under Glass 183
  • A Doctor's Medicine 186
  • The Little Huts 189
  • Three Heads 191
  • On Memory 198
  • Uncle John's Boots 202
  • The Fur Coat 207
  • An Holy Kiss 214
  • Notes on Authors and Texts 217
  • Acknowledgements 238
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