The Darkening Green

Elizabeth Clarke
Date Published
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‘Owls call now in the hazy afternoon, and curlews get up in the night and join their voices with the plovers’ lost cries. Small birds, distracted by the fury of mating, fly hedge-high in flight and pursuit and brush past one’s ear, indifferent to human presence.There is a common belief that when sight diminishes hearing is intensified – an observation made, I would say, by onlookers. I doubt whether I hear more acutely than before, but every trifle heard passes under expert scrutiny in some formerly idle workshop in my mind…’

Elizabeth Clarke’s The Darkening Green (first published in 1964) portrays the gradual loss of sight endured by a farmer’s daughter, and bursts with lyrical observation of rural life. It was inspired by Clarke’s personal experience of supporting her husband, a farmer near the Elan Valley in mid-Wales, as his own vision began to fade.