I have been a buzzard, I have been a kite,
rare and dangerous,
I have been a jewel, I have been Taliesin,
I have wandered Rhos Helyg,
I have been a stag, I have been a dwarf, I have been here
in the form of a preacher, of an innkeeper
of a dreamer and of a bard,
no, I’m not a local, but the future,
springing deep in the old ground of Pumlumon,
and as I was leaving
the old man in the corner said,
Siwrne dda i ti, ffrind.
1. Ponterwyd, Pontrhydfendigaid, and Rhos Helyg are places in Cardiganshire.
2. Eiddig, the name of the husband of one of the many lovers of the Welsh poet, Dafydd ap Gwilym (1320 - 1370) and subsequently the stock name given by the bards to their ladies’ husbands.
3. Taliesin, the earliest poet to write in Welsh whose work has survived, lived in the Welsh-speaking Strathclyde region of Scotland in the late 6th century.
4. Pumlumon: a mountain in Mid Wales.
5. “Siwrne dda i ti, ffrind” (say: shurna tha ee tee, frind – ‘th’ as in that) = “A good journey to thee, friend.”
©: Iwan Llwyd. This poem of exile in his own country of Wales (where English steadily replaces Welsh in rural communities) was published in the Summer, 1998 edition of the Welsh language magazine Y Faner Newydd. We are grateful to the author and his publisher for permission to translate and publish it.
Translation: © The Wales Famine Forum
Published in The Green Dragon No 7, Summer 1998