NWR Issue 55

A prospect of the sea

I'm standing on the promenade, near the Mumbles, in Swansea, a few hundred yards from my home. After a night of high winds, the waves are running across the path, firmly but without malice, confident of their rights, and pulling away again, leaving a fresh lick of sand. I'm unpacking my worries, and my memories, in cold wellingtons before breakfast. There's a cold comfort in the experience of such indifferent and overwhelming power, and this traditional remedy for muddle and heartbreak is an effective one: the ever-changing colours of the sea and clouds, the curve of the coastline fading into the mist, the solid dependability of the light-house, and ships receding like calmly departing souls, all offer an optimistic vista from Dylan Thomas's Devon-facing shore.

There's a morning-after-the-storm quality to the knowledge that the Arts Council of Wales, is to increase funding by 15%, five times the increase in aid that we were promised!

It's impossible not to wish that Robin Reeves had received such funding for New Welsh Review in his decade as Editor. He kept the magazine alive by sheer effort of will (and not only NWR see John Osmond's tribute within) but the continual strain of being under-funded, under-equipped and understaffed was enormous. Yet Robin never doubted or wavered in his commitment to the literary, cultural and political life of Wales; his editorship of New Welsh Review was also notable for his moral stature, his selflessness, and the kindness, warmth and respect that he showed to those who wrote for the magazine.

I hope that readers like the re-styling of New Welsh Review in this issue. Readers' comments are always appreciated, and feedback on the new look would be especially welcome.

Despite the optimistic vista, I'm watching the waves again. More storms soon: I'm thinking of September 11, the continued bombing of Afghanistan, war to come in Iraq, the upheavals in Argentina, where recently prosperous people are bartering CDs for food, beggared by the IMF; Robin had strong feelings about the predicament of the Palestinians, and the current carnage would not have surprised him. Robin was no armchair politician; genuinely nationalist ,i>and] internationalist, he was a thoughtful local councillor, who said that 'real change comes from the bottom up'. Hints of American intentions to use nuclear weapons remind me that he was a long-standing supporter of CND: it's a small country in an ever-smaller world.

A few yards away, by a gap in the sea wall, a Land-Rover has stopped. Perhaps the harsh beauty of the morning takes the driver's breath away, too. A sudden wave, orange with scooped-up sand, is thrown over the cab, the weight of it banging against the door and roof, rocking the whole sturdy vehicle. Standing back, the incoming rush of water rolls quietly over my feet. There's a moral there, maybe.


previous editorial: First a gripe...And then the good news
next editorial: Prologue to an adventure


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