Y Capel (the chapel)
Very raw and very familiar was the funeral that took place to a back drop of ancient sea weathered mountains in Wales. I could see that the connections of the people ran deep and gushed like the rivers of Gwynedd, profound and rich, as rich and as solid as the colour green that surrounded them, in all her varieties. Otherwise, you could say, it was a village that was beset with eyes that are now alive, and watched the day’s proceedings with a moping gape. Eyes filled with preoccupation, full of recognition; as old and as tall as the trees, unhurt, undamaged protective and old. The congregation was more than proverbial.
The people carried their smiles as their faces dimpled and were coloured the shade of chalky rose; their eyes filled and emptied with their tears. My thoughts are distracted to think of love, life and the pain we will all know. The clock ticked by and there was black, in the larger sense of the word, everywhere. Later, lilies and roses and even a posy, would decorate the mood that had begun to hang like your heavy curtain, threatening the sunlight that dared to enter the sky.
The chapel was little, squat and the colour of tea and biscuits. It was rain washed and rugged like the mountains that revealed its grey rocky interior. It sat on a jagged winding road surrounded by green grass that curved and looked like swaying French beans. The grass was dotted with daisies, dandelions, buttercups and tall grass, the feathers on long stalks. Mum saw a feather fall from the chapel roof. She recalls the same such happening on similar sober occasions. And nobody felt dandy like the dandelions today, because we only half recognised the familiar flower through hazy moments of stillness.
And the grass swayed because the wind continued its gentle unobtrusive gust. The day was in weather the same as any other June day; warm and sky blue: it was beautiful. All around were triangular mountains, edgy and raw, and they looked perfectly composed. The clouds were stretched and murky though still white, as they danced sullenly around Snowdon ’s peak, like muddled thoughts wandering, perhaps aimlessly for a while.
The minister in his robes looked like there were fish and chips in his belly, he was loud and his voice echoed, smiled like a happy cast of jelly. Apple red were his cheeks and he stomped his feet heavily, like a candy stick at Christmas, red and white striped. He has the perfect demeanour.
Little, squat and bare was the chapels insides; until we filled it brimming to the roof with our voices, and the space expanded with our song. The chapel was filled, just like an overindulgent stomach that is filled with cake at a tea party; feeling sick, adjusting its clothes to accommodate an uncomfortable pain, and still, the pain lingered.
Calon Lan, we sang and now the song sings synonymous with you. In rows of wooden seats little trickles of tears tricked their way down the sore cheeks of the collective. These were collected in tissues dabbed and dotted from our faces stored in pots, that would sit neatly on our inside shelf. The words of the song floated high, like reeling away from a cotton reel, unwinding; to find their way to the ceiling and yonder still, like a kite. Out of the chapel and into the sky, high with the buzzards, the red kites, the herons. The words were seen hopping to the clouds; because in this song of timeless rest, was your childhood long gone and favourite colour kept. I am sure; all this wonder emerges before you.
You are in the cloud, teardrops shaped by the rain, in the weather and bright as the sun, in the mountains…in past river veins.
Dad stared forward, into his space, his safer place, almost not there, but to return when it was time to leave the squat, tea coloured chapel. We drove the winding road to the field…The stone walls, the clean air…the sea in sight; the mountains you knew that held you tight. We dropped gently, red and yellow roses. The soil made it real, made it less dreamlike. Made it suddenly unfair.
da bo anti Eileen, da bo.
I wrote this in 2010 after the funeral of my Aunty. I found it recently. It is uploaded unedited.