online: 24 june 2007
modified: 18, 19, 24 june 2007

16 june 2007 connectiveness

21:12 ...on the seat in memory of John Devereux (who died in 1989 aged 29)...

...this evening i asked a man and a woman if they had good eyesight and could see how many cygnets there are in Pond 2... apparently there are three... i'd just counted seven cygnets in Pond 1 and i mentioned that not many of the ones born here reach maturity...

...the man i spoke to is Owen Sheers, from Abergafeni... when i told him i was born in Aberystwyth he mentioned Gwenno Ellis (the widow of Alun Lewis) who lived nearby when i was a small child... throughout my life i've respected Alun Lewis's poetry and now i find that Owen Sheers is also known as a poet... he had visited Gwenno and knows the Ellis's house in the shape of a ship on the hill above Aberystwyth where we used to play... and now Owen is writing a radio play about Alun Lewis...

...then we found that we'd both been learning Welsh here in London (at the City Lit) and so we spoke it for a few moments and then we exchanged website addresses...

i picked up a colour supplement in a bus and came across an article about Owen Sheers and his recent novel, Resistance...

...i remember now how Gwenno's father (a retired sea captain who had a sailing boat and who taught us at Sunday School) once invited my sister Jennifer to 'look at Heaven' through his telescope... he'd focussed it on the sculpture of an angel on the war memorial... father always spoke of the Ellises as being the most accomplished pupils he had taught at the local grammar school... and to me they were an heroic family who used to figure in the stories that my father made up spontaneously for Jennifer and i, and in which other neighbours and imaginary people also appeared... for instance our next door neighbour Mr Nat (Nathaniel Davies) a retired chief of police, and the imaginary Mr John Lion Jones and his children Billy and Mary, with whom we flew to such places as Morocco in our imaginary aeroplanes (one red and one silver, if i remember rightly)... i walked past Pond 2 i came across a dog (an Irish lurcher) who seemed to be lost so i looked about for whoever might be its owner... i saw a picnic party of about 50 people and went to ask if any of them had lost a dog... no one had... but the person who replied said they are all Hungarians... which immediately modified my mental picture of 'London'! here, yet again, though paying attention only to particular things, i am suddenly in touch with this amazing connectiveness, little known, of the human universe*... we think and speak as if we are less connected than we are...

* 'human universe' is the title of a book and an essay by Charles Olson: Human Universe and other essays, edited by Donald Allen, Grove Press, New York 1967. For instance, on page 4:
...the habits of thought are the habits of action, and here, too, particularlism has to be fought for anew.

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