reluctant to fall in real earnest. It would threaten a large, soft flake or two, and then turn into rain or cease altogether, but our hope wasn't one bit diminished for all that. And at last our hopes were fulfilled. It had been extremely cold that morning, and a few flakes had fallen from a dark grey sky, but this time it didn't let up and it didn't turn to rain either. By playtime at eleven o'clock a slight breeze had arisen, and by one o'clock it was high time to be on our way home. The snow lashed in from the cast, until there were drifts on the roads and the hedges were lost from sight, and no school for a fortnight. That storm fulfilled the hopes of years, and perhaps it's because they were so completely realized that a man, almost in spite of himself, will still look hopefully into a dark grey sky towards the end of January and the beginning of February. And anyway, it's much easier to think on winter's cold in August, however poor that month turns out to be, because there's only one kind of snow at summer's end, and that's the snow of yesteryear.
No, things might as well be left as they are from now on, a ragged hotch-potch of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. There's a pattern to the weave somewhere, no doubt, although it's hard to make out while the stuff is on the loom and the weaver's fingers busy hurtling the shuttle back and forth. It will be easier to see the pattern when the material is a bit longer. But then perhaps the material itself is merely a part of some greater pattern. On its own it's only something very, very small, like one of those hundreds of pieces in a ragmat.
Mân Sôn ( Gwasg Dwyfor, 1989)
There's a black sheep or two in every family, about whom no one speaks without a shake of the head and a lowering of the eyes. Uncle John is one such. I can remember him at home in my grandmother's house among the rest of my father's brothers, a collier just like them. And then he disappeared.
He was there, and then he wasn't, as some chap 1 from North