Majesty and the pit prop man

Dear Monty,

I was delighted that James Golden of FEDERALTWIST.COM posted some episodes of  - 'Around the World in 80 Gardens'. It was a revelation to see you in your element enthusing about what gardens do and what they are for, without the restrictions placed on you as a presenter of GW.

James' garden is a gem - or at least I believe it is from the images I see posted on his blog. This of course does not count as a objective view because I have never seen it in the flesh, much like we have never seen Longmeadow in the flesh. It must have been a great privilege to visit all of those gardens - one which stays with you - or does it ? Do elements stay with you and get translated into your own garden - or do the memories just fade ?

I'm not sure why, but my life is sometimes overwhelmed by the sense of the brevity of it - this is the curse of being human in middle age - we operate detached from the sense of the now - we look back and we look forward.

This morning the now filled my mind with majesty.

This tiny garden of mine is a rebellion against the abused post- industrial landscape within which it is set.
I am a rebel - a hapless one at that.

The tip tips closer to us by degrees - as its shale, clay and fine coal is washed away by rain - blocking drains and covering the road with silt, the consequence of unrestricted off-roading.

The County Council is without resources to stop the degradation - this is the truth of living in a cash-strapped South Wales valley. This is one aspect of living here, but there is another - thankfully - a spiritual one alive among the coalfields. This place still holds the spark of majesty.

Majesty is found in the golden leaves still falling at the end of November. Also in the flowers of a fading summer.
Contrasts in blues, reds and lime greens.
Majesty is found beyond our borders - in the high hills.

I love the fact that even in the darkest of places - light can bring an uplift of the spirit.

Abstract composition?

Autumnal pond margin

I agonise over how I can translate these gut responses to something beyond ourselves and convey them as real, as real as the image in front of our eyes. Something separate - holy occurs.


The pit prop man

The pit prop man was paid 'top money' for cutting wooden props 8' high and heavy
Man handling them into place with no machinery
To hold up 'roads' underground

85 years old and as strong as an ox - even now
Chiseled face as if from anthracite

But all he lives for is the past
Recounting stories of survival

Now all traces of his mines have gone
Save sink holes and erosion

Glories of the past
Perhaps that's all we end up with

Thank God for a majesty which is now and ever shall be
Beyond our time and memory
Just there
Almost visible.

Anthracite from 'The Diamond'



  1. Yes, light, light is the thing. As for time? Drives me mad. I think I will just feel as if I've learned how to live when I drop dead...

    1. That is exactly it! Living is a complicated thing for humans to do !


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