The Welsh Incident - Ynysgain - Criccieth



Barrel jellyfish galore scattered in random humps along the pebbled beach, extending as far as the eye could see. I ventured out on a gusty afternoon in-between hailstone showers. The drama of what was to come became apparent well before the showers arrived. Blackened sky's dappled with raise of sunshine with visible weather fronts marking the boundaries moving steadily eastwards. Choppy and wallowing sea waves tossed and tumbled as winds lashed across the water.

I have often spotted these scattered on the beach, but never in this quantity.....the creatures had been washed ashore very recently.....stranded, still glistening, translucent, with crevasses submerged in sea water and plump flesh.

The Barrel jellyfish seen varied greatly in size and colour, and although translucent in places had some opaque organs within. Their gut mouth and canals resembled a cauliflower-shaped inner structure, varying from blue, yellow, pink with purple fringes. Being 95% water once beached these jellyfish soon evaporate....leaving a faint imprint on the sand. 

Some had all tentacles intact, whilst others showed signs of decomposing. Their upturned forms indented into soft sand. Awkwardly hanging tentacles and misplaced body parts. A collection of alien and peculiar forms.....intriguingly beautiful. 8 arms, with frills; containing small stinging tentacles, surrounded by hundreds of little mouths, with a violet fringe; containing their sense organs.

It became apparent that the previous day's storm had contributed to this mass deposit of Jellyfish blooms and currents must have contributed to their congregation.

This was the first time I have ever seen so many stranded jellyfish, an ideal opportunity to take a closer look....and document them. The sight reminded me of Robert Graves poem ‘The Welsh Incident’ to quote;

‘What were their colours?’
‘Mostly nameless colours,
Colours you’d like to see; but one was puce
Or perhaps more like crimson, but not purplish.
Some had no colour.’
‘Tell me, had they legs?’
‘Not a leg or foot among them that I saw.’ -Richard Burton's reading.....

It takes the form of a dialogue between two Welshmen, and the descriptions are of local people ...the mythical creatures are evidently an embodiment of the poet's non-conformism.

The drama surrounding this poem encapsulated the scene on that barren cold beach....with the lashing winds and hailstone showers adding to the spectacle..... a mile away from Criccieth.





Jellyfish- Slefren fôr 

Ffion Gwyn

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