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This review is taken from PN Review 90, Volume 19 Number 4, March - April 1993.

TIR Y BLAENAU Jonathan Miles, Eric Gill & David Jones at Capel-y-ffin (Seren Books) £5.95

Jonathan Miles is the author of the interesting Backgrounds. to David Jones: a Study in Sources and Drafts (University of Wales Press). In his new book, which is one of Seren's 'Border Lines' Series, about writers, artists and composers who have some connection with the Welsh Marches, Miles gives an account of the four years which Eric Gill and David Jones spent, as part of an artistic and religious community, at Capel-y-ffyn ('Chapel at the end' or 'Chapel at the boundary') in the Black Mountains.
 
Does he cock his weather-ear, enquiringly
lest what's on the west wind
      from over beyond the rising contours
may signify that in the broken
      tir y blaenau
these broken dregs of Troea
      yet again muster?


In 'The Sleeping Lord', from which these lines come, Jones glosses 'tir y blaenau' as 'land of the border uplands'.

The poem was first published in Agenda in 1967, and was written in five months, between November 1966 and March 1967, though part of it derives from material written in the forties. The late painting 'Y Cyfarchiad i Fair' (The Greeting to Mary) is set also in those 'border uplands', and Mary stands within a wattled enclosure, such as Jones saw and sketched on the Welsh hills. He and Gill were at Capel-y-ffyn in the years 1924 to 1928; the experience of the Marches and the landscape were clearly formative for Jones.
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