Following the hilltop path, there is a warm patina, almost a glow, to the afternoon, despite the chill. You look down on this sleeve of land that is Cwm Grwyne Fechan. You have been walking here your entire life. The autumn colours on the hills, ranging from gold to russet to purple, the gradations of light, and the untamed horses, many of them the descendants of those abandoned by their owners over the years, left to breed in the wild, so that a new race has emerged from the stock of indigenous ponies and the incomers. You have a half-eaten apple, but you know they will not approach, so you show it, and toss it gently towards the nearest horse. He stares at you, unblinking. You shudder with the fleeting memory of something, then it is gone. The valley is small, and yet so vast. You experience the moment like a shaft of joy, even though there is something else, something that brings you to the edge of tears. You know so little. Back home, you watch the short video and the view across the valley brings to mind the final lines of ‘The Sleeping Lord’ by David Jones – who once lived not far from here – lines that now read as extraordinarily prescient:
yet he sleeps on very deep is his slumber: how long has he been the sleeping lord? are the clammy ferns his rustling vallance does the buried rowan ward him from evil, or does he ward the tanglewood and the denizens of the wood are the stunted oaks his gnarled guard or are their knarred limbs strong with his sap? Do the small black horses grass on the hunch of his shoulders? are the hills his couch or is he the couchant hills? Are the slumbering valleys him in slumber are the still undulations the still limbs of him sleeping? Is the configuration of the land the furrowed body of the lord are the dark ridges his dented greaves do the trickling gullies yet drain his hog-wounds? Does the land wait the sleeping lord or is the wasted land that very lord who sleeps?