14 March 2009

'A Glimpse of the Ultimate Kingdom'—In Honour of the Patron of Wales


Today, 1 March on the Church’s calendar, we commemorate ‘Dewi Sant’, i.e. St David of Wales (c. 500-589), the patron Saint of Wales. I do not intend to try to cover his life. [In the original version of this post, I instead recommended the various posts on this Saint by Owen White, most of which quoted extensively from a translation of Rhygyfarch’s Life of St David and commented on aspects of the traditional celebration of St David’s feast. Unfortunately, his venerable if controversial blog, the Ochlophobist, is no more, and I now remove the links to it.] One can also read about St David at the old Catholic Encyclopedia (a sceptical account, one should note) and at the relevant page at David Nash Ford’s Early British Kingdoms.

As I mentioned in a comment on Owen’s blog, in honour of their great Patron I intend to offer a piece by a Welsh poet. In a previous post, I have quoted from some mediæval poets of Wales, but this time I have chosen a more recent one. Some years ago I came across a poem by A.G. Prys-Jones with which I fell in love. Unfortunately, I’ve never found much information about him, but a quick search did lead me here. We are told, ‘Arthur Glyn Prys-Jones (1888-1987) was an Anglo-Welsh poet, writer and educationalist’, and there is then a brief biography. Here is the poem:

October Evening (in the Vale of Glamorgan)
by A. G. Prys-Jones

The purple tapestries of dusk
Hung glittering and glowing in the high
Broad marches of the vivid evening sky:
And all the Vale like soft, blue velvet lay
In folded distances. Deep inland from the sea
To the bare uplands where the brown hills ride
Above the mists of autumn like tall ships,
Each field, each hedge, each gracious tree
Stood etched, it seemed for ever, in that air
Of stilled, ecstatic eventide . . .
As if some wandering angel, unaware,
Had left a glimpse of the ultimate Kingdom there
In final, tranquil beauty, and set free
To pierce the dimness of our mortal sight,
A vision of our immortality:
A facet of infinity to light
The blest perfection which the mystics know,
Holy as silence of new-fallen snow,
Serene and flawless as a precious gem.

And through the glowing dusk, an early star
Gave token of that realm where all things move
In ageless wisdom and immortal love:
Where death and sorrow and the year's decay
Throw no chill shadows on eternal day,
Where men grown cold in wintry journeying
Walk in the warm, green solace of the Spring.

(The icon above is by the hand of Aidan Hart.)

2 comments:

The Ochlophobist said...

Beautiful.

Thank you and happy feast!

aaronandbrighid said...

I thought you might like this!