Saturday, January 7, 2012

Random 4 a.m. thoughts on Welsh literature

Welsh-language literature seems to be an old man in a care home. Occasionally there are flashes of lucidity (Owen Martell), but for the most part it just sits there: drooling on itself, repeating the same wearied themes, rambling incoherently about a past so mis-remembered that it never was, coughing up phlegm and ruminating it like a cow chewing cud.

The nurses dress him in loud shirts from time to time and celebrate him annually with mylar and plastic and simplistically structured songs but if you sit and look at the old man you see he's hardly there, despite lively attempts to make it appear otherwise. And if you look at him honestly you start to feel deeply sad and wonder whether perhaps the least-embarrassing thing to do would be to simply shut off the machines. Stop pouring so many resources into this thing that isn't and will never be.

That's a hard decision to make. To think it seems cruel, feels like betrayal. But is it right to keep a man alive simply because you don't want to put his nurses out of work?

1 comment:

DSO said...

Well, I'm reading the 2011 novel Yn y Tŷ Hwn, by Sian Northey, and I wouldn't say that anything about it feels old-fashioned or worn. The style and tone remind me of Wallace Stegner, and that's a compliment.