Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Jim Cotter, Aberdaron and Mortality


St. Hywyn's Church, Aberdaron  sits at the end of North Wales' Llyn Peninsular.  It was once the jumping off point for pilgrims on their way Bardsey Island  - Ynys Enlli  -  The burial place of 20,000 saints.
"Sauntering Around St.Hywyn's : a brief guide to our church" is the work of a previous Vicar. Its final paragraph gives pause for thought:
If you think of a lifetime as a pilgrimage, say half a mile a year down the Llyn Peninsular, when you reach Aberdaron you will be near the end of your life. The peninsular narrows, the sea (the eternal?) gets closer and closer on both sides. Eventually it ends at a point. It is yet another "eye of the needle".
You can no longer return. You are slimmed down to get through that eye. Think, though, of how much can be stored on a microchip invisible to the naked eye. And the day comes to trust ourselves to that point, and launch into the beyond from the tip of the peninsular. Pilgrim soul, fare forth. Fare well.
Jim Cotter was the author of these lines. Both he and another former vicar, the poet R.S. Thomas, are buried in the churchyard of St.Maelrhys Church a mile or so south of Aberdaron. Thomas too wrote of Ynys Enlli .
There is an island there is no going
to but in a small boat the way
the saints went,

Did he write of death, or that island of the blessed towards the setting sun?

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