The Water Diviner
by Gillian Clarke
In 1976, a hot dry year in Britain, the well ran dry at our little farmhouse in Ceredigion, used then as a retreat from the city, but where I now live. We called in a water diviner. Using a divining rod, holding it over the ground and walking slowly, he felt a tremor, then a strong pull, in the rod. He thus found a strong source of water under our garden. The bore hole was drilled, and water found 54 feet down.
Although divining is a respectable way of discovering underground water or minerals, the science is not understood. The procedure seemed almost like magic to me. The echo through the hose dipped into the deep borehole, as we waited for the water to rise and fill the pipe, really did sound like ‘dwr’, which is the Welsh word for water. Welsh is Britain’s first language, and was once spoken throughout Western Britain as far as central Scotland. That day, out of the deep and ancient earth, even the water spoke Welsh. A ‘thorough bass’ is a musical term.