Saturday, March 03, 2007

Anglo Welsh?

What is Welsh?
The place where I am not?
The land where the womb
emptied me of its contents?
Or is it a feeling, an impulse?

Would Glyn Dwr recognise
me as his own?
Or would defiant souls emerge
from mountain mists,
to kill or capture at the enemies' sound?

The ancient tongue
lies silent in my
recalcitrant mouth
but for cwtch, nos da and
other childhood simplicities.

I could learn Cymraeg,
but it's too late now to
educate thought and voice.
Anyway, who in Wiltshire would listen
or understand my strange new words?

Even RS knew Welsh too late
to turn its syntax, consonants
and vowels into poetry.
But he did try to be as Welsh
as his cut glass English would allow.

Welsh is home, but
home is not where I was,
neither where I am.
My home? One eschatological
day I will know, but not yet.

But Wales is in my double helix.
Its history floods my mind
with sad hope. Its people are
mine as other are not.
Welsh is not a place or
language but the heart's cry.

I am Anglo in speech
but Welsh in heart.

2 comments:

Alan Davey said...

Isn't it Glyn Dwr?

It's never too late to learn Welsh. You could read wonderful things that just don't exist in English, or are not the same... and you could listen to Radio Cymru on the internet!

If I can do French at MY age, you can do Welsh, surely?

It'd be difficult in Wiltshire, mind.... But at least you already have a good accent!

Exiled Preacher said...

Thanks for pointing out the typo. Corrected.

I did try to learn Welsh a while ago. Newport hosted the Eisteddfod in 1988, which got me all inspired. But my attempts to communicate with Welsh speakers weren't too successful.

I tried to chat up a pretty Welsh speaking girl at the Banner Youth Conference by saying, "Cymraeg?" She answered, like, totally in Welsh, which blew me away. All I really knew was childhood stuff, "cwtch" and "nos da". If I'd have said that, she might have slapped me.

When I learned some more stuff, I would try it out on Welsh speakers, but I found them a bit snooty. They would say things like, "That is OK for formal written Welsh, but we don't actually speak it like that." Being indolent I gave it all up and married an English girl.

So, I'll have to be Anglo Welsh. Respect to you for learning Frence, tho.