Excerpts from Tongue Tied

The north/south divide

“Where Rhiannon is completely wrong is on this South Walian business. At the risk of repeating myself Elfed, let’s consider the sequence of events. Iron and coal was found in the South; Welsh speakers moved in from the North, followed by a trickle of English speakers from various places; the trickle soon turned into a tide, and it’s assimilation by the Welsh language became impossible; within a generation or two, half the population couldn’t speak Welsh. This was an inevitable consequence of industrialization, yet many Welsh speakers…most from outside the South…laid the responsibility on South Walians in general; South Walians naturally resented this, and a division was created…at a time when any push for self-government was dependent on solidarity. Now, you tell me, Elfed, if there is any blame, where does it lie? Oh! That’s enough of that. You’re right! I’m wearing myself out.”

Poetry within prose

…and he laughed as he opened the door to the public bar. The air was thick with pipe smoke and reeked of stout and ale, and but for the lady behind the bar, the public here were was male. The backs along the bar performed Pavlovian turns towards the door, and were about to swivel forward as they’d done a thousand times before, when, sickle-shaped, they stiffened to attention. Not a word was spoke, but the wonder on their faces said it all.

Greda

So, while in Greda’s graceful presence on that Monday, Peter mostly noticed; noticed everything about her with wonder and warmth: her high forehead, softened by strands of hair that never failed to flop; her blue eyes set deeply under delicate, darkish eyebrows; her long nose and finely drawn lips. Perfection was his verdict. Her smiles were typically restrained, yet soft and expressive, but when full, revealed such lovely teeth that he wondered why she wouldn’t smile that way more often. Her one flaw even, a little, pale diagonal scar on her left upper lip, perversely enhanced her allure. Her long fingers, which regularly flicked the locks from her brow, particularly caught his eye, and it was as much as he could do not to follow them each time to their natural resting place just above her knees. He’d feel terrible if she caught him looking at them, although they were lovely too.