online: 3 november 2009
modified: 29 october, 1, 3 november 2009

29 october 2009 a church by the sea


...looking through a clear glass window of this church of the 12th century (and later)... i can see slate gravestones (some at angles)... and railings... and beyond them the sea itself... with two holy islands in the distance... and i learn that a third of the graveyard has already been taken by the advancing sea... see the sea (Atlantic waves) from the inside of a church to me seems unique, evidence of an optimistic belief in things visible as well as invisible... the sky, the clouds, and the visitors not hurrying to leave but attracted (as i was at St David's long ago*) by the peaceful atmosphere, uncontrived... but resulting from natural elements... and the actions of people... who believed... sister Jennifer, her daughter Helen, and me... we are all three attentive to this church by the sea... Helen leaves a message as memorial to John (she is responding to an invitation to do this, written by the vicar)...

...this is the church where the modern poet R S Thomas was the priest or vicar while writing poems... his poetry is now much respected... as are the very different poems of Dylan Thomas... though each Thomas is i think concerned with the same connectiveness of things physical to what we may uneasily call spirit...

...the atmosphere here is one of lingering... to take in the presence of many people who have worshipped here... and those who have created or extended** it... through eight centuries or more...

*speaking of St David's cathedral (which is at the end of the southern peninsula of Wales, as this church at Aberdaron is at the end of the northern):
...speaking of the way that they have continued religious actions at the cathedral [every day] for fifteen centuries, I could not go on. I was overtaken by some feeling that extinguished my voice. I realised that ... this journey is reaching some level of experience that is usually left alone.
...from page 38 of my book after Giraldus, in two volumes published in an edition of three (one of which is at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth) by imaginary rock editions, London 2000, book 2, pages 13, 38, 111.

**the Rev Jim Cotter, the present vicar, is evidently reviving and extending interest in this church (of St Hywyn), with a pilgrims' trail, books of remembrance, and other modest acts that make the visitor feel welcome and involved... but not compelled...(websites: and

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