Monday, 13 January 2014

The Moon in Lleyn

Having enjoyed a wonderful day's walking around the Llyn on Saturday, I finished the day on the Uwchmynydd headland, taking some great shots of the sun as it set over Bardsey and highlighting the Irish coast. On my return, I took this image of the Moon as it shone out over the Llyn it brought to mind that great poem by R.S. Thomas, that highlighted his doubting faith, something of the despair at receding Christianity, but also elements of hope, and the renaissance of pilgrimage. It was written as if he were in Aberdaron church.

The Moon in Lleyn

The last quarter of the moon
of Jesus gives way
to the dark; the serpent
digests the egg. Here
on my knees in this stone
church, that is full only
of the silent congregation
of shadows and the sea's
sound, it is easy to believe
Yeats was right. Just as though
choirs had not sung, shells
have swallowed them; the tide laps
at the Bible; the bell fetches
no people to the brittle miracle
of bread. The sand is waiting
for the running back of the grains
in the wall into its blond
glass. Religion is over, and
what will emerge from the body
of the new moon, no one
can say.

But a voice sounds
in my ear. Why so fast,
mortal? These very seas
are baptized. The parish
has a saint's name time cannot
unfrock. In cities that
have outgrown their promise people
are becoming pilgrims
again, if not to this place,
then to the recreation of it
in their own spirits. You must remain
kneeling. Even as this moon
making its way through the earth's
cumbersome shadow, prayer, too,
has its phases.

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