Poetry for Supper – David Sylvian and his Journey to Manafon

Robert Leeming

You can’t get much more rural than Manafon, the tiny Welsh border village of sandstone and slate, dominated by a simple chapel and an ancient elm tree. The tree’s leaves turn a rich golden yellow in October and collectively give up the ghost in a stiff biting breeze, cascading from their branches one autumnal afternoon, the scene briefly bringing to mind a “golden fountain playing silently in the sun.” Those last few words belong to the former rector of Manafon, R.S. Thomas, a deeply spiritual, solitary, nationalistic man and a poet too, one of Wales’s greatest, who wrote, “Every night is a rinsing myself of the darkness that is in my veins. I let the stars inject me with fire, silent as it is far, but certain in its cauterising of my despair. I am a slow traveller, but there is more than time to arrive.”

We probably all cannot…

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