John Dunn

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The Turning

Wednesday, 16 Feb 2022

Farm at St. Kenox on Dr John Dunn. Written following my reverse pilgrimage from St David's to the Cleddau Vale in Pembrokeshire, back in 2013. A memorable journey.

Farm at St. Kenox. On the bridleway towards the ford across the Eastern Cleddau.

The Turning

The one to whom the dove was sent, forgive me,
It hurts to retrace the pilgrimage path from the shrine.
There was no awareness of existence in
The life of the everyday, until Aidan
Into the Cleddau Vale could let truth shine.
Was it guilt or chance that led him there?
Did Non look upon this same stone cross in the round,
And were her thoughts upon the struggle of birth?
And was death preached upon the tump at St Kenox?
Aenon’s baptismal pool beheld more faith
Than all the cathedrals of Christendom had dared.
The cooling spring will wash away presumptions,
No longer now the unspoken may remain
A mystery, though long it has been veiled.
the great forgetting,
the turning.
I’d rather have my books, exclaimed Faustus.
I’ll gather around me great numbers of teachers to say
What my itching ears want to hear; and then turn away
From the truth and look instead aside to myths.
And the shadow of the wingéd dove brushed his face.


A dove alighted upon the shoulder of St David as a symbol of God’s grace.
There is a shrine to St David at St David’s cathedral.

Karl Jaspers insisted that our awareness of existence is not revealed in everyday life but only when we encounter our limits: in death, struggle,guilt or chance.

St Aidan lived and studied at the St David’s monastery. He brought Christianity to Llawhaden and the valley of the eastern Cleddau. Llawhaden was on the pilgrimage route to St David’s.

St Non, the mother of St David. The round cross can be seen in the chapel on the site where she gave birth to St David.

A dissenter lived and preached in what is now the working farm at St Kenox.

The baptismal pool is still to be seen near the roadside at Aenon Baptist Church, South Pembrokeshire.

Scarcely permitted is it to awaken the dead.
No longer now the unspoken
May remain a mystery
Though long it has been veiled;

(Hölderlin, Germania)

The uncanniness of human beings is that they alone are capable of "catastrophe," in the sense of a reversal turning them away from their own essence.
(Martin Heidegger)

These metaphysics of magicians
And necromantic books are heavenly.
(Christopher Marlow’s Faustus)

Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
(II Timothy 4.3-4)

© John Dunn.

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