A Janus-Faced Nation

A Janus-Faced Nation


From Planet 252

by Niall Griffiths

    Taking loose inspiration from Planet Patron Jan Morris’s book A Machynlleth Triad, and the double-headed Romano-Celtic god Janus, this new series reflects on the past, present and future of a particular place in Wales. The place could be a city, town, village, street, nature reserve, bro, common, valley, market, piece of wasteland… any named place, as long as it has its own distinct identity. This aligns with Planet’s role in bringing a geographically and culturally fragmented nation into dialogue with itself. It also connects to another of our key purposes: to draw on the resources of the past to work for a better, or at least liveable future.


THEN (past tense)
I imagine wet weather. I don’t know why. I imagine squelchy mud and irate rain. Beads of water running along hat brims and dripping off noses. Did you have a beast of burden? Surely you had a pony, a Welsh mountain pony, soaked forelock across its eyes. A kind of trailer, too, or did you just tie the slab to the pony’s saddle or harness and drag it through the mud? Slapping the animal’s hindquarters. The heavy weight and the furrow it wore through the sodden sloping field. I imagine a chestnut horse with a white blaze.

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About the author

Niall Griffiths lives in mid Wales and writes books. His next novel, Of Talons and Teeth, will be published in December.