I was asked to write about sadness, green sadness. Silence. . . My mind wanted to take a detour, to avoid at all costs this chasm in the road that the repairers had forgotten to protect with barriers. They failed; I fell into the hole. As I fell into this wave of green sadness, it threatened to engulf me. I hung onto the edge of the drop knowing how deep that hole is.

Have I visited this spectre of sadness often? Grief, aloneness, anger, and many others are in my book of life, emotions that I have sequestrated away in my heart for later personal processing.

But sadness?

Perhaps green is the right colour for sadness. They use it in hospitals. Every wall is a pale green. The doors darker. It calms the emotions they say. Whilst people with fixed smiles evade evidence of pain and fear.

Sadness feels strange – trees that whisper in the fading light, remembering the light disappearing, a child in a pushchair with a mother walking away from her husband or lover forever. The sadness of winter when the green grass disappears beneath a blanket of white. Boarding a train, taking memories and connections away when the whistle blows. The sadness of seeing a bird, dead by the roadside.


I search for sadness somewhere in my body but I can’t find it because it’s amorphous, indistinct. If I really try, however, it seems rather like a cool anaesthetic, laudanum which has invaded my cells and can never be removed. Resignation and hopelessness, like morphine, lull me into inertia and on down to a disquieted reverie where I enter a cave and the sea traps me there, the green lichen, damp and alien, my shroud.


A memory of time past in childhood, of thatched cottages, roses climbing and echoes of Richard Llewellyn's 1939 book How Green Was My Valley, but seen through the wrong end of a telescope, a long way off in the past, oddly inaccessible. And followed by War.

Sadness leaks from the pages of thistimeless classic: Huw Morgan prepares to leave home forever, the golden days of his youth behind him in a prosperous time when coal dust had not yet blackened the green valley.


Isn’t the grass always greener in the future? But the past is greener and sadder.

I understand the writer.

There was a time when I could float up mountain faces, oiled limbs never failing me. My mind in terror twisted in my grasp like a snake trying to escape my will, but I always prevailed. Youth pasted behind in my book of memories was greener. The summers longer and warmer, society peaceful and ordered. The future bright and prosperous, the world an oyster with pearls to pick.

This green sadness is like the filament of grass on Gaia whose real essence is flame and fire. A spider’s web, entangling my mind, sticky with the poison of regret, it wraps me in the fire of guilt for wrongs to others.


Sadness is a deep well from which I cry out to the muffled voices suspended in the circle of light above me: “Help, Hilfe, Ayuda, Aidez-moi!” My cries come from every organ in my body. Are the voices retreating? No, they're getting louder, thank God!

Soon I’ll see the miracle of green grass and sadness will have changed colour.