Ifor ap Glyn: Blwyddyn y Bardd


Ifor ap Glyn: Blwyddyn y Bardd

Golwg ar flwyddyn gyntaf Ifor ap Glyn yn ei rol newydd fel Bardd Cenedlaethol Cymru. A look at Ifor ap Glyn's first year in his role as the new National Poet of Wales.


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Transcript


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-Last year, it was announced that

-I would follow Gwyneth Lewis...

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-..Gwyn Thomas and Gillian Clarke

-as Wales' fourth national poet.

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-Quite a responsibility then.

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-Everyone who's held the post

-in the past has had the freedom...

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-..to reinvent the role

-to fit their own strengths.

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-It's a bit like

-being the new Doctor Who.

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-So, here's what I've been up to

-in my first year...

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-..as the National Poet of Wales.

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-Literature Wales is responsible

-for the National Poet of Wales.

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-They arranged for the reigns to

-be handed over at the Hay Festival.

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-It's an international festival

-that draws authors...

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-..to Hay on Wye from all over

-the world to celebrate literature.

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-As my predecessor, Gillian Clarke

-held the post for eight years...

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-..I wonder how she felt

-about today's ceremony.

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-It's a great occasion.

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-I'm pleased that it's Ifor.

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-All poets work together anyway

-in Wales.

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-It's very important

-because Wales is a small country.

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-Thanks very much, Gillian.

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-It's an honour

-to stand in front of you...

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-..in this new,

-respectable, scary job.

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-After addressing the audience,

-Gillian and I had an informal chat.

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-She warned me about a few

-of the things I could expect.

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-What advice did she have for me

-as the new National Poet of Wales.

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-I just say "Yes". I go everywhere

-that I'm asked to go.

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-By doing that,

-Gillian has constantly fought...

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-..to ensure neither Wales nor its

-literature is pushed to the verges.

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-We first

-got to know each other properly...

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-..when we were both in Washington.

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-It can be done.

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-We both burn the same petrol

-in that way.

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-We're firmly opposed to any attempts

-to make Wales invisible.

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-Neither of us want to be part

-of a vampire nation...

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-..that looks in the mirror

-and can't see anything there.

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-Gillian's most important lesson

-to me was not to be scared...

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-..of expressing my opinion

-as National Poet of Wales.

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-Education, literacy,

-libraries, the NHS...

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-..decent treatment of everybody.

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-That's not party political.

-That's just, you know.

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-I'd fight for those things.

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-I'd lie down in the road

-to save the Welsh language.

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-I really enjoyed the ceremony.

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-I felt for Gillian.

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-It must have been a bitter-sweet

-feeling for her.

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-She's been in the job

-for a long time.

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-She's made it her own.

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-She's taken the job to a new level.

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-It's going to be a challenge to

-follow her and filling her shoes.

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-Congratulations, will you change

-your style because of this?

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-I'm hoping to be true to myself.

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-I hope I'll be true to the role too.

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-The thing I'm most unsure about

-is all the interviews.

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-When you do a public address,

-you've had time to prepare.

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-With interviews

-for the news and similar things...

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-..you're never sure

-which way it will go.

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-You can get caught out.

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-When I got the job, a friend of mine

-wrote a beautiful englyn...

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-..offering me some advice.

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-At least be controversial, he said.

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-But don't be controversial

-by accident.

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-There was nothing controversial

-about my next task.

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-It was a book-signing session

-at the Hay on Wye bookshop.

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-It was nice to see the odd person

-who struggled with Welsh...

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-..daring to buy a Welsh book.

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-Would a translation of this

-be helpful?

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-Very much so.

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-If you'd like

-to put your email there.

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-The day's final job was

-a reception with Literature Wales.

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-It was a chance to meet

-with old and new friends.

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-It was also another chance

-to thank Gillian...

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-..at the end of her

-tenure in the job.

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-The National Poet of Wales!

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-What can I say?

-Thank you very much, Gillian.

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-I'd like to read Gwaddol,

-a presentation to Gillian Clarke.

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-"A toolbox came

-anonymously to my door.

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-"And in it I found

-a knife to carve poems

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-" And a warning

-regarding the muse's clean slap.

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-"An imaginary hammer and nails

-with which to shoe our experiences.

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-"And a crosscut saw

-for translations

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-"enabling two people

-to pull together.

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-"This was the Taliesin of toolboxes.

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-"The heavy tools

-were the weight of wrens in my hand.

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-"A gadget for every requirement.

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-"From prolific ideas

-like bicycle seeds

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-"To a file to smooth off lines.

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-"And spanners of couplets

-to loosen meanings.

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-"On the blade or handle of each

-tool, the initials GC were etched.

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-"I now acclaim their owner for

-generously sharing them with me."

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-Thank you very much, Gillian.

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-My next responsibility

-as National Poet of Wales...

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-..was to write a poem for the

-Official Opening of the Senedd.

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-The late Iwan Llwyd had written

-a poem about the first Senedd...

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-..called by Owain Glyndwr

-back in 1404.

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-Iwan's influence can be heard

-here and there in my poem.

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-"Spring came late to our country;

-the winter locked down ambition

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-"and put our aspirations on ice,

-before the big thaw

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-"which made the drains gargle

-and the downpipes gush.

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-"And so may the sun shine bright

-on this house today

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-"This, the cauldron of our rebirth

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-"The platform for our voice,

-where we sing our vision into being.

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-"We come here

-from many commote, as before

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-"Treading the overgrown path, barbed

-with wool like Christmas trimmings

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-"And crowding down the wet lane

-which mirrors the sky's shine.

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-"We come here, to touch the horizon

-and bend it for common good.

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-"And as we,

-from our valleys and mountains

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-"approach our perpetual city

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-"We give thanks there are no bullet

-holes in the pillars of this house

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-"Just a cloud of witnesses

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-"who'll maintain us

-in all manner of beliefs.

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-"And as we are led

-to the halls of this house

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-"May there be passion in our debate;

-prudence in conciliation

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-"Let difficult' become simple,

-and challenging' become fun

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-The last thing we want is to import

-that kind of chaos into Wales.

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-"and let us each day

-repeat the maxim

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-"that two men will come together

-sooner than two mountains."

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-I couldn't be at the official

-opening of the Senedd last June.

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-Just like many fellow

-Welsh men and women...

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-..I'd crossed the sea to follow the

-national football side in France.

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-As there was a referendum on staying

-in Europe later in the month...

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-..I'd made sure

-of a postal vote before leaving.

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-After the victory against Russia

-in Toulouse...

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-..which got us a place

-in the second round.

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-I saw that as a great opportunity

-to do some canvassing for remain.

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-As my friend advised,

-at least be controversial.

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-"The party has started.

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-"Everyone's singing our praises.

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-"Our team is still in Europe,

-it's where we want to be.

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-"If like me,

-you want the party to continue

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-"Don't forget to vote.

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-"Vote remain this Thursday."

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-# Hal Robson-Kanu #

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-That video got a huge response with

-some 50,000 views in a few days.

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-These little verses are the most

-popular thing I've ever done.

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-It didn't change the result

-of the referendum, unfortunately.

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-Without doubt, one of the most

-popular stories of the year...

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-..was the success of the Wales team

-in France.

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-When a crew from Wales Arts Review

-came to look back at my year...

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-..they wanted to talk

-about the football.

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-So, the players singing

-the national anthem...

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-..it would be nice

-to hear your thoughts.

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-The biggest thing was that

-the experience bred confidence.

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-If only we could bottle that.

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-All of a sudden,

-Wales was in the headlines.

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-But there were a few cross words

-despite that.

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-As Wales did

-better and better...

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-..some of the London press began

-sniping around the team...

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-.."half of them

-were born in England."

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-So what!

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-So was I. I'm the National

-Poet Of Wales. Deal with it.

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-Wales' players embraced

-the Welsh language...

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-..as part of the team's image

-regardless of who spoke it.

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-That's only one of that month's

-odyssey of wonders...

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-..on and off the pitch.

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-Things like the behaviour of fans,

-the passionate support...

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-..on both sides of the sea.

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-These things are woven

-through the poem I wrote...

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-..to celebrate our success

-at the Euros.

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-"One June afternoon

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-"The long wait gilded

-by the sunshine

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-"I took myself off to France.

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-"There, I saw great wonders.

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-"First, a red wall

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-"Moving and singing as one.

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-"The wall became a tempest

-Rising from the stadium's flanks

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-"Turning into

-a celebrating sea of red

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-"Through the streets,

-from Lens to Toulouse.

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-"I heard the football heroes

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-"Claiming their language back,

-one 'diolch' at a time

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-"And shirt-makers and brewers

-from the end of the world

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-"Acknowledging it in turn.

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-"And here are my people,

-the vampire nation

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-"Who once stared into mirrors

-and saw nothing

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-"Stepping from the shadows

-and finding themselves

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-"As if for the first time.

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-"May these wonders continue

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-"To open up new paths

-as old ones seem set to close.

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-"That would complete the gilding."

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-.

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-Subtitles

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-Subtitles

-

-Subtitles

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-# Hallelu... Hallelujah #

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-Last September, I was in Blackwood

-for the Velvet Coal Mine Festival.

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-For three years, this festival

-has brought literature and music...

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-..to the middle of Gwent.

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-I was there on the invitation

-of the organiser, Ian Richards.

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-In a question and answer session

-before the reading...

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-..Ian was keen to know

-how writing in Welsh...

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-..affects the

-National Poet's ability...

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-..to appeal to audiences

-in places like Blackwood...

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-..where the majority

-don't speak Welsh.

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-Whatever language you write in...

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-..you want to engage with

-as wide an audience as possible.

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-There are translations

-on every seat.

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-I was eager to make a more

-fundamental statement about this.

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-It's important to make the point the

-Welsh language belongs to us all.

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-It can be something that divides us

-or something that unites us.

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-I'm interested in using it

-as something that unites us.

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-Not only can the language unite us

-but our history can too.

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-The history of Wales is frequently

-overlooked in our schools...

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-..as I noted

-in the evening's final poem.

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-"We saw ourselves,

-as if through glass.

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-"Like people who lost weight

-too quickly.

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-"Feeling their history

-hanging loose upon them."

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-The next morning in Blackwood...

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-..it was another poem about our

-history under the microscope.

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-I met local poet Clare Potter.

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-We've shared many a stage

-in the past.

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-That's why I turned to Clare...

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-..to ask her to translate

-a few of my poems to English.

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-We went for a cuppa

-to discuss her latest translation.

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-It's a poem to remember the Welshmen

-who lost their lives...

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-..at the battle of Mametz Wood.

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-I've had a little trouble with that.

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-"Lest the oaken..."

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-"Lest" might be a bit historic.

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-It sounds like the kind of thing

-you'd use for a Latin translation.

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-But it's a good idea to use it...

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-..because of the

-"Lest we forget" phrase.

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-That word is used

-when speaking about...

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-You're right. You're right!

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-What's interesting about this

-process, it's a thankless task...

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-..sometimes I say oh yes,

-try something new.

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-"No, that's the word."

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-It's a different poem then.

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-It's my poem if I do that too much.

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-It's like a bit of a negotiation.

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-It can feel a bit awkward at times.

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-It's small things

-like these last lines.

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-I was thinking something

-about Mametz and forget.

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-Yes.

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-A century gone since Welshmen

-claimed Mametz.

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-And their grandchildren return;

-remember that last sunset.

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-The feeling is different with that.

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-It's also cuts across

-the reality of the trees.

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-It's so dark there.

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-Have you seen Aled Rhys Hughes'

-photographs?

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-If you get a chance...

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-..he has an exhibition

-in the National Library of Wales.

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-They are striking.

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-They're very striking.

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-Most of the young Welshmen killed

-taking Mametz Wood...

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-..lie there to this day.

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-It wasn't possible to bury them

-amongst the heat of battle.

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-My poem about them was read

-for the first time...

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-..when Aled Rhys Hughes' exhibition

-at the National Library opened.

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-It's no surprise that Mametz Wood

-has a special place in our hearts.

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-Whose wood is it?

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-The Welsh or the French.

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-What is the significance

-of these woods today?

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-Those are some of the questions

-the poem and exhibition ask.

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-"Seeking the woods today was madness

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-"But we walked through

-bullet raindrop

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-"Bared our heads

-beneath the vociferous oaks

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-"Their leaves chattering

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-"Before turning our faces

-to the damp light.

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-"Ceux-ci sont des arbres galloisants

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-"des chenes, des noisettes,

-des hetres

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-"These trees speak Welsh

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-"The oaks, the hazels, the beeches

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-"Strong youths,

-straight like bayonets

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-"Their leafy branches

-sieving the rain

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-"Ecoute!

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-"Ici, on peut, a peu pres entendre

-les racines en s'enfoncant par terre

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-"Ou se couchent les Gallois

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-"Under this earth

-lie the roots of Mametz

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-"Cupping each helmet

-like an eggshell

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-"Squeezing through the boots

-loosened from soldiers' feet

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-"Tickling ribs,

-beneath the soil's embrace.

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-"Their blood

-still nourishes the trees.

0:17:440:17:47

-"C'est ici le memorial Gallois,

-n'est-ce pas?

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-"Today, walking softly

-over the bones of our forefathers

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-"We retrace the memories lest the

-oaks and beeches lose their voices.

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-"A century

-after the Welsh claimed the woods

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-"Their grandsons and granddaughters

-meet once more."

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-This is the community centre

-for Penyrheol near Caerphilly.

0:18:210:18:25

-That was the home last September of

-for the Durga Puja festival.

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-It's one of the main

-religious festivals...

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-..for the Bengali community

-in Wales.

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-After the opening ritual,

-I'd been invited to address them...

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-..in both Welsh and English.

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-Namaste, namaskar.

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-It's an honour to be invited

-to be here tonight.

0:18:500:18:53

-On the train on the way up here,

-I had time to think...

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-..about the different ways

-in which Indian culture...

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-..has influenced my life

-in the past.

0:19:020:19:05

-My best friend in junior school

-was from Goa.

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-My father's business partner

-was Gujarati.

0:19:090:19:11

-Maybe the biggest thing I've got

-in common with tonight's ceremony...

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-..is the fact that

-I was also raised as an exile.

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-I learned about the culture of my

-own country while living in another.

0:19:220:19:28

-After wishing them every success...

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-..I finished with a poem

-I wrote ten years ago in Delhi.

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-I was in India at the time filming a

-programme for S4C about the Ganges.

0:19:390:19:45

-Before heading home, I was eager

-to thank the local girl...

0:19:470:19:51

-..who'd been helping us

-during our journey, Namrata Gupta.

0:19:510:19:55

-"Many keys,

-an ability to open many doors

0:19:580:20:01

-"Many words,

-on our journey through the land

0:20:010:20:05

-"Precise when questioned

-on Hindi or India

0:20:050:20:07

-"Polite and full of questions

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-"A bridge to help us get far

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-"The light and an introducer

0:20:140:20:17

-"Tonight in Delhi,

-tears fall without her

0:20:190:20:23

-"A nightmare to lose my guide

0:20:230:20:25

-"As an invalid, I cry for hours

0:20:260:20:29

-"But back in the land of my fathers,

-she could be my healer

0:20:290:20:35

-"Will she come before summer's end?

0:20:360:20:39

-"Namrata has the answer."

0:20:390:20:42

-Thanks very much.

0:20:430:20:44

-I was given a traditional scarf

-as a gift.

0:20:470:20:50

-While listening to the music,

-I discussed the possibility...

0:20:510:20:55

-..of translating more poems

-from Welsh to Bengali.

0:20:550:20:58

-It was a heart-warming night.

0:21:020:21:03

-Not least because some

-of the young people spoke Bengali...

0:21:040:21:08

-..but also spoke

-quite a bit of Welsh.

0:21:080:21:11

-I am over the moon with Durga Puja

-because it's fun.

0:21:110:21:15

-One thing that made me pause...

0:21:330:21:34

-..before taking on this job

-as National Poet of Wales.

0:21:350:21:38

-What if I had to write on a topic

-about which I had no opinion?

0:21:380:21:43

-I have to admit,

-the piece I've just finished...

0:21:430:21:47

-..this is the hardest piece

-I've had to write.

0:21:480:21:52

-It's about Aberfan.

0:21:520:21:53

-It's not so much that I feel I don't

-have anything to say about Aberfan.

0:21:540:21:59

-It's more I feel what right do I

-have to say something about Aberfan?

0:21:590:22:03

-In the end, I wove that uncertainty

-into the piece.

0:22:040:22:11

-What we have is Mam-gu...

0:22:110:22:14

-..trying to write a letter

-to her grand-daughter...

0:22:140:22:19

-..who has asked her Mam-gu

-who is from Aberfan...

0:22:190:22:22

-..to tell her the history.

0:22:220:22:24

-Mam-gu is unsure about

-what is suitable...

0:22:240:22:27

-..to share with her grand-daughter.

0:22:280:22:30

-"My dearest grand-daughter..."

0:22:340:22:36

-.."you've asked me to write down

-what I remember...

0:22:360:22:40

-.."for some project

-you have at school.

0:22:400:22:42

-"I don't know what I can say.

0:22:430:22:45

-"Silence is a hard habit to break,

-so they say.

0:22:480:22:51

-"The thing is,

-what hope was there...

0:22:530:22:55

-.."to find words

-that could describe what I'd seen?

0:22:560:22:59

-"Don't mention it.

0:23:020:23:03

-"I was, numb.

0:23:030:23:05

-"Like I was in a vacuum.

0:23:070:23:08

-The piece was performed

-for the first time in English...

0:23:130:23:16

-..during a special evening held

-to remember Aberfan...

0:23:160:23:19

-..at the Wales Millennium Centre

-in Cardiff.

0:23:200:23:22

-Sian Phillips presented it.

0:23:230:23:25

-"How much should you know?

0:23:250:23:29

-"It's part of your history...

0:23:310:23:33

-.."our family's history.

0:23:330:23:35

-"But I can't

-share my guilt with you.

0:23:360:23:39

-"For making the child I lost

-go to school that morning.

0:23:400:23:44

-"None of this makes sense.

0:23:460:23:48

-"There are pictures that

-you ought to see from afterwards.

0:23:500:23:54

-"The first baby,

-the first wedding, the first smiles

0:23:550:24:00

-"How many hundreds have there been

-since then, thank God.

0:24:000:24:04

-"Those photographs show you

-how we carried on.

0:24:100:24:14

-"We had to.

0:24:160:24:18

-"What can I tell you, sweet thing?

0:24:200:24:23

-"I don't want you to forget either.

0:24:270:24:29

-"I can only leave flowers

-for your little aunt.

0:24:330:24:35

-"But I can try to share...

0:24:380:24:40

-.."what I can with you."

0:24:410:24:44

-.

0:24:490:24:49

-Subtitles

0:24:520:24:52

-Subtitles

-

-Subtitles

0:24:520:24:54

-In November, I headed to London

-for a special occasion.

0:24:540:24:57

-To mark Remembrance Sunday...

0:24:580:25:00

-..the National Poets of Scotland,

-England and Wales...

0:25:000:25:04

-..were asked to provide a poem each

-to do with war losses.

0:25:040:25:08

-From 6.00pm that night, those poems

-would be projected on to Big Ben.

0:25:110:25:17

-There was a bit of interest

-in the fact my poem was in Welsh.

0:25:190:25:23

-One of the evening's first jobs...

0:25:240:25:26

-..was to do an interview

-for a news crew from ITN.

0:25:260:25:29

-"To see our language normalised if

-you like, legitimised...

0:25:290:25:34

-Then I was free

-to watch my own work...

0:25:350:25:38

-..crawl slowly up Big Ben

-in huge letters.

0:25:380:25:43

-"To these tidy streets, rows of boys

-came keeping their pattern as before

0:25:450:25:51

-"While crossing no man's land.

0:25:510:25:54

-"A century has greened the earth

-that was blown up in bloody seconds

0:25:540:25:59

-"Sifting innards, exploding flesh.

0:25:590:26:02

-"It sheltered the boys

-from the steel storm.

0:26:030:26:06

-"The turf doors

-closing quietly behind them.

0:26:060:26:10

-"They came from similar

-narrow streets

0:26:120:26:14

-"Where the horn of battle shepherded

-friends for the big adventure

0:26:150:26:19

-"Before the houses winked

-their blinds one by one

0:26:200:26:24

-"Tonight, the stones are bone white

0:26:250:26:28

-"The evening sunshine

-perfectly engraving the names

0:26:290:26:32

-"Casting long shadows.

0:26:320:26:35

-"No-one disturbs

-forgotten neighbours

0:26:370:26:41

-"Only some strangers

-from a future denied them

0:26:410:26:44

-"Staring incomprehensibly

-at the Braille of their names

0:26:450:26:49

-"Because all the doors are locked."

0:26:490:26:53

-I'm really proud to be part of

-Remembrance Sunday on the Thames.

0:26:560:27:01

-As one of the London Welsh, someone

-who was brought up in this city...

0:27:010:27:06

-..seeing our language projected up

-on to...

0:27:060:27:10

-..one of the biggest symbols

-of London is incredible.

0:27:100:27:15

-I like to think that, as this is

-such a cosmopolitan city...

0:27:160:27:21

-..as the UK in general

-is so cosmopolitan...

0:27:210:27:25

-..with so many of us now speaking

-languages other than English...

0:27:250:27:30

-..being raised to speak languages...

0:27:300:27:32

-..other than English

-as our first language...

0:27:320:27:35

-..I like to think that including

-Welsh here acknowledges that fact.

0:27:350:27:41

-When I was growing up in London...

0:27:440:27:46

-..there was a

-trinity of institutions...

0:27:460:27:49

-..that kept up my Welshness

-beyond my home.

0:27:490:27:51

-The chapel, Old Deer Park, the home

-of London Welsh Rugby Club...

0:27:510:27:56

-..and this place.

0:27:560:27:58

-The London Welsh Centre

-or simply the club.

0:27:580:28:01

-This hall hasn't changed very much.

0:28:080:28:12

-I've appeared more than once

-on this stage...

0:28:140:28:18

-..in the choir

-and in different plays.

0:28:180:28:22

-On this stage during the Society

-Eisteddfod over 30 years ago...

0:28:230:28:29

-..is when my career as a poet began,

-you could say.

0:28:300:28:33

-It almost finished at the same time.

0:28:330:28:35

-I'd decided to try an englyn, that

-year's theme were "the bellows".

0:28:350:28:39

-The first line was

-"Tawel yw ceg y fegin".

0:28:400:28:42

-I don't remember the rest, I do

-remember they weren't correct!

0:28:420:28:46

-Because of that, my englyn came

-fourth out of three competitors.

0:28:460:28:51

-It came with

-the traditional encouragement...

0:28:520:28:55

-...from the adjudicators

-to persevere.

0:28:550:28:58

-I've tried to do so.

0:28:580:28:59

-My family had lived in London

-since 1886.

0:29:060:29:09

-My great grandfather is here,

-T.W. Glyn Evans.

0:29:100:29:13

-He was the first

-to come here to live.

0:29:130:29:16

-In his old age, he was made

-President of the London Welsh.

0:29:160:29:20

-The Glyn in my name comes after him.

0:29:200:29:23

-During my teens, I came here

-constantly at the weekends.

0:29:270:29:31

-Just as my parents did before me.

0:29:310:29:33

-By the time I was here,

-English was the default language.

0:29:340:29:37

-I remember one night in this bar.

0:29:400:29:43

-There were 20 of us young London

-Welsh sitting around these seats.

0:29:430:29:48

-Someone asked "How many of us have

-got two Welsh speaking parents?"

0:29:490:29:53

-We went around. 15 out of the 20

-with two Welsh speaking parents.

0:29:530:29:58

-The other five had one parent

-who spoke Welsh.

0:29:580:30:01

-Only five of us could speak Welsh.

0:30:010:30:05

-It's things like that which make me

-appreciate how lucky I was...

0:30:080:30:11

-..to have been raised

-in Welsh in London.

0:30:120:30:14

-Back at home in Caernarfon...

0:30:170:30:19

-..it was time to discuss tasks

-for Talwrn Y Beirdd.

0:30:190:30:23

-I've been a part of different teams

-in this radio programme since 1984.

0:30:240:30:29

-For years now,

-my team is Caernarfon.

0:30:290:30:33

-What are we trying to do?

0:30:330:30:35

-Every time we get a list of tasks

-for another round of the talwrn...

0:30:350:30:40

-..we meet at the Alex pub...

0:30:400:30:42

-..to collect ideas, decide

-who will take on which task...

0:30:420:30:46

-..and to put the world in its place.

0:30:460:30:50

-It's important

-that a poet's usual work continues.

0:30:550:30:59

-For me,

-this is a part of what's normal.

0:31:000:31:03

-Two weeks later, I and the rest of

-Caernarfon's team...

0:31:050:31:09

-..were ready to record

-at Pantycelyn Hall in Aberystwyth.

0:31:090:31:13

-We were facing

-a new, youthful team this time.

0:31:130:31:17

-They were the local team

-from the Black Lion.

0:31:170:31:20

-I was responsible

-for the lyric competition.

0:31:200:31:23

-From Team Caernarfon, Ifor Ap Glyn.

0:31:230:31:26

-Folly

0:31:280:31:29

-"She pulls her skirt lower down

-as she walks in with her friends.

0:31:290:31:33

-"Freezing them in a smiling trio

0:31:340:31:36

-"Her phone like a wand

-in front of her.

0:31:360:31:38

-"If there's no photo,

-it didn't happen.

0:31:390:31:41

-"She must share the seconds

0:31:410:31:43

-"Before heels and sucking drink

-through a straw

0:31:440:31:46

-"Creates distractions

0:31:470:31:48

-"The first one

-pulls her new mate's shirt

0:31:490:31:51

-"Dragging him like a trophy

-onto the dance floor

0:31:520:31:55

-There's the second, her hand making

-waves. "Hey Macarena!

0:31:550:31:59

-"One waves goodbye,

-the other disappears

0:32:000:32:04

-"The one that's left,

-in a dark corner

0:32:060:32:09

-"Punches messages into her phone

0:32:090:32:12

-"Her face pale

-in the light of the screen.

0:32:120:32:14

-"She tidies her tresses,

-flashes a smile

0:32:160:32:19

-"Another selfie

-to deny the nightmare.

0:32:200:32:24

-"Another exclamation

-in a monologue of pictures."

0:32:250:32:29

-From Radio Cymru and Aberystwyth to

-London and New Broadcasting House.

0:32:370:32:42

-One of the things that's been a nice

-surprise in the past year...

0:32:430:32:47

-..is the readiness of some

-of the British media...

0:32:470:32:50

-..to make space for Welsh.

0:32:500:32:52

-About time too, I say!

0:32:520:32:54

-On St David's Day, I was speaking

-to Kirsty Lang on Front Row.

0:32:540:32:59

-It's Radio Four's culture programme.

0:32:590:33:02

-What does St. David's Day

-mean to you?

0:33:030:33:06

-I think for some people St David's

-Day is the day they feel...

0:33:060:33:09

-..it's the only day they feel

-they're allowed to be Welsh.

0:33:100:33:13

-I hope I'm allowed to be Welsh

-every day of the year.

0:33:130:33:16

-To that extent, it's not much more

-important to me than any other day.

0:33:160:33:20

-You don't make a big deal of it?

0:33:200:33:20

-You don't make a big deal of it?

-

-No, not really.

0:33:200:33:22

-We asked you to write a poem

-especially for us...

0:33:220:33:25

-..to mark St David's Day.

0:33:250:33:26

-It's called Umbrella Welsh.

-Let's hear Umbrella Welsh.

0:33:270:33:30

-OK.

0:33:300:33:31

-Umbrella Welsh.

0:33:320:33:35

-"It rains so often in a stormy world

0:33:350:33:38

-"But your ribs always lock

-into a perfect dome above my head.

0:33:380:33:42

-"Under your wing,

0:33:420:33:43

-"I can fly with one arm

-through our lineage's imagination

0:33:440:33:47

-"For some, you refuse to open.

0:33:470:33:49

-"But rolled up tightly,

-you put a spring in our Welsh steps.

0:33:500:33:54

-"We hold it like a narrow flag

-to direct tourists to our history

0:33:540:33:58

-"And the alternative world

-that's there for all.

0:33:580:34:01

-"You are the umbrella

-that always completes us

0:34:020:34:06

-"Either open or closed

0:34:060:34:08

-"As long as we share you."

0:34:080:34:10

-It's important to use every possible

-chance to advance the language...

0:34:140:34:18

-..both in Wales and outside Wales.

0:34:180:34:20

-It's also important

-to use the language...

0:34:210:34:23

-..to discuss topics

-other than identity and history.

0:34:240:34:27

-Oxfam is a part of a coalition

-of organizations...

0:34:300:34:33

-..fighting global warming.

0:34:330:34:35

-They asked for a poem

-to support their cause.

0:34:350:34:38

-They wanted something simple,

-punchy.

0:34:380:34:41

-As Donald Trump had just started...

0:34:410:34:43

-..erasing information

-about climate change...

0:34:440:34:46

-..the poem almost wrote itself.

0:34:470:34:49

-But then, I needed to film it...

0:34:520:34:55

-..so it could be shared online

-and on social media.

0:34:550:34:59

-"And should we put our

-trust in those

0:35:020:35:04

-"Who'll swear with all their might

0:35:040:35:06

-"That 'water' really, still is 'ice'

0:35:070:35:09

-"That 'black' is really 'white'?

0:35:090:35:11

-"Who'll swear the smoke back into

-coal like a fairy tale?

0:35:110:35:15

-"And anyone who contradicts?

-that's 'fake news' without fail!

0:35:150:35:20

-"It's totalitarian wisdom,

-like the 'thirties with new looks

0:35:210:35:25

-"Surely, shutting down the web,

-is just like burning books?

0:35:250:35:29

-"The lesson for the rich is this:

-Our world is not a game,

0:35:290:35:35

-"To hand it unbankrupted to

-our children is the aim.

0:35:350:35:39

-"And we are not the president's men,

-our truth should hold no fear

0:35:410:35:46

-"Let's stand firm, for our

-unborn kids, the way ahead is clear

0:35:460:35:50

-"Whatever the source

-of their 'fake news'

0:35:500:35:54

-"The White House or Whitehall

0:35:540:35:56

-"We must deny that water's ice

0:35:570:36:00

-"That black's not white at all."

0:36:000:36:03

-.

0:36:060:36:07

-Subtitles

0:36:100:36:10

-Subtitles

-

-Subtitles

0:36:100:36:12

-Literature Wales were responsible...

0:36:120:36:15

-..for devising the job of

-National Poet of Wales back in 2005.

0:36:160:36:20

-They manage the poet from

-their headquarters in Cardiff.

0:36:200:36:24

-It's one of the many projects

-they run...

0:36:250:36:27

-..to promote our country's

-literature in both languages.

0:36:270:36:31

-Every now and then,

-I meet up with Lleucu Siencyn.

0:36:340:36:36

-She's the Chief Executive of

-Literature Wales.

0:36:370:36:40

-We discuss the next plans

-for the role...

0:36:400:36:43

-..and how those can take place

-within a wider vision.

0:36:430:36:46

-We can do a few things.

0:36:480:36:50

-We can not just promote Wales...

0:36:500:36:52

-..in terms of co-operation

-with the Welsh Government.

0:36:520:36:56

-We want to raise Wales' status.

0:36:560:36:58

-With Brexit,

-it's even more important...

0:36:590:37:03

-..that we convey our different

-nation and culture...

0:37:040:37:08

-..all over the world.

0:37:090:37:10

-But also that the National Poet

-project is a positive answer...

0:37:110:37:15

-..to some things,

-a kind of soft diplomacy.

0:37:150:37:18

-It's an opportunity, isn't it?

0:37:180:37:20

-Soft diplomacy is trying

-to promote those links...

0:37:200:37:24

-..where they're at risk

-of disappearing in other contexts.

0:37:240:37:30

-It's important then that you

-and other poets and writers...

0:37:300:37:34

-..go to these big festivals

-in China or India...

0:37:340:37:38

-..and keep telling them

-about where we come from...

0:37:380:37:42

-..and what language we write in

-and why we write in that language.

0:37:420:37:46

-It's important to present

-that message in our own country too.

0:37:500:37:54

-Particularly when poets

-from other countries visit.

0:37:540:37:57

-That's why I headed down to the

-Volcano Theatre in Swansea in April.

0:37:580:38:03

-This was the first

-in a series of events.

0:38:040:38:07

-It gave a stage to 30 writers

-from all across the world.

0:38:070:38:11

-They represent

-almost 20 different languages.

0:38:120:38:15

-It's quite,

-there's an interesting group here.

0:38:200:38:25

-There are a lot of refugees

-in Swansea.

0:38:260:38:29

-There's a mix of

-written and projected translations.

0:38:290:38:35

-In amongst all this, I'm doing

-something I've never done before.

0:38:350:38:39

-I'm reading a translation

-of a Chinese poem.

0:38:390:38:42

-I'm then inviting the poet up to

-present his translation of my work.

0:38:420:38:47

-Can I first ask, does everyone

-have one of these booklets?

0:38:570:39:03

-We're going to start on page eight.

0:39:040:39:06

-The poem is called Gwers in Welsh.

0:39:070:39:10

-It's called Elevation in English.

0:39:100:39:13

-"To fly over Wales

-is to learn to love it

0:39:150:39:18

-"Hanging lazily above,

-knowing her from unfamiliar angles

0:39:190:39:23

-"Between the jests

-of the wispy clouds

0:39:240:39:27

-"There's the Lleyn Peninsula

-like a quickly rolled-up sleeve

0:39:270:39:31

-"Here are the unordered fields

0:39:320:39:35

-"The mysterious mountains,

-stitched together by hedges

0:39:360:39:39

-"The discarded slates like sand

-after fingers rake it through

0:39:400:39:45

-"Small, vibrant lakes, like hidden

-birth places in the waning sun

0:39:460:39:51

-"As I look out the airplane window

0:39:530:39:55

-"My lips insist on naming the sights

0:39:560:39:59

-"Dyfi junction, Cors Fochno

0:39:590:40:02

-"Your breath like a lover's caress

-along the body

0:40:020:40:06

-"Dowlais, Penrhys, Gilfach Goch

0:40:060:40:09

-"As she brings down the curtain

0:40:100:40:13

-"The airplane's shadow moves

-like a cross over the white clouds

0:40:140:40:19

-"A kiss

-on a love letter through the ages

0:40:200:40:22

-"An unwilling vote

-for her deliverance."

0:40:240:40:27

-Thank you.

0:40:270:40:28

-I'm very privileged and it's a great

-pleasure...

0:40:320:40:35

-..to welcome Yang Lian to the stage.

0:40:350:40:38

-He's translated the poem

-into Chinese.

0:40:380:40:42

-Thank you very much.

0:40:430:40:44

-Before I came to Wales, I said...

0:40:440:40:48

-.."the best way to meet a Welsh poet

-but also Wales...

0:40:480:40:54

-.."is to translate something."

0:40:540:40:57

-OK, here is your poem.

0:40:580:41:00

-It was both strange and wonderful to

-hear such a familiar poem...

0:41:130:41:17

-..in such an unfamiliar language.

0:41:170:41:19

-Yang Lian is one of the founders

-of the group Misty Poets.

0:41:280:41:32

-They came to prominence

-in China at the end of the 1970s.

0:41:320:41:36

-He and several of his contemporaries

-were exiled...

0:41:370:41:41

-..after the 1989 Tiananmen Square

-protest.

0:41:410:41:44

-His history certainly chimed

-with many of the Swansea audience.

0:41:440:41:51

-Many of them had to flee

-their own countries.

0:41:510:41:55

-Refugees from 100 years ago

-was the subject of my next work.

0:41:590:42:03

-Where do we put the mic? The middle?

0:42:040:42:06

-I'd place it about here.

0:42:060:42:07

-To close my first year

-as National Poet...

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-..I'd been invited to create a poem

-for an event in Brussels.

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-It's not too fast. There's plenty

-of room for the words to fit.

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-I'd asked the musician, Osian

-Howells to write a piece of music.

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-I wanted it to complement

-the new poem.

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-It's a poem about Belgian refugees.

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-They came to Wales

-during the Great War.

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-It comes down again.

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-"They came innocently

-with purple mouths."

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-I wanted to record the track...

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-..in the vestry of Salem Chapel

-in Caernarfon.

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-Only one institution across

-Wales took in Belgians...

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-..and cared for them 100 years ago.

0:43:020:43:05

-A few days after recording Osian's

-track, I was in Brussels.

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-I was trying to organize my address

-for that evening.

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-Back in 1914 when Belgium

-was conquered by the Germans.

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-250,000 Belgians

-came to seek asylum in the UK.

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-The way those Belgians were welcomed

-100 years ago...

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-..is a lesson to us today...

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-..as Westminster grumbles

-about giving asylum...

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-..to people from Syria

-and Northern Africa.

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-Passa Porta was the location

-for the event.

0:43:420:43:45

-By day, it's a bookshop.

0:43:450:43:47

-It's transformed into a stage

-for authors at night.

0:43:480:43:51

-The audience for this evening came

-to hear poetry about loss.

0:43:510:43:56

-It was a look at

-how the Great War...

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-..affected Belgium,

-Wales and Ireland differently.

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-Poets representing each of

-the three countries were attending.

0:44:060:44:09

-Lleucu Siencyn from Literature Wales

-was the chair.

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-A warm welcome to you all

-to this special evening.

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-I was the first to take the stage.

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-Diolch, Lleucu.

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-Thank you, Lleucu.

0:44:240:44:26

-Merci, Lleucu.

0:44:260:44:27

-Dank u wel, Lleucu.

0:44:280:44:29

-This first poem...

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-..is about an imaginary family of

-Belgian refugees, called de Wynck.

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-Less talk, more poetry.

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-This is the poem, Mwyara.

0:44:400:44:41

-"September, 1914

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-"A profusion of blackberries:

0:44:460:44:48

-"And that was when

-the de Wyncks came to stay.

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-"Father had read out loud

-about the autumn in their land

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-"How corpses collected like drifts

-of beech leaves on the streets

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-"And thousands fled.

0:45:040:45:07

-"And so we fetched them

-from the station platform

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-"A trio petrified,

-their eyes swivelling like smoke

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-"Their whole world in a few armfuls

0:45:190:45:22

-"And their same aged son,

-holding his mother's hand.

0:45:220:45:25

-"Next day, without a word in common,

-I was sent blackberrying with him.

0:45:300:45:36

-"We picked together, mute.

0:45:380:45:40

-"Finger-pricked and arm-scratched,

-seeking out blackberries: braambes

0:45:400:45:46

-"Until we were blackberry-blind

0:45:480:45:50

-"Their shiny spheres filled our eyes

0:45:510:45:54

-"The fat ones mocked us

-from the depths of the hedge

0:45:540:45:58

-"And its topmost crests

0:45:580:46:00

-"Te hoog!; Too high!

0:46:000:46:02

-"And we laughed in our innocence

-with purpled mouths.

0:46:020:46:06

-"That was when compassion

-begat action in our house

0:46:090:46:14

-"And the first fruits of frustration

0:46:140:46:18

-"For a young girl who could not

-put her language in your mouth

0:46:180:46:22

-"So I put blackberries

-like sharp sweet kisses

0:46:230:46:28

-"On your surprised tongue

0:46:280:46:31

-"Four and a half years exactly

-before you and your family left

0:46:320:46:38

-"To rebuild a shattered country."

0:46:400:46:45

-That's the end of the final event

-of my first year as National Poet.

0:47:000:47:04

-It's quite nice that we've finished

-here in Brussels.

0:47:050:47:10

-As the year went on...

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-..I realised how much being an

-ambassador is a part of the role.

0:47:120:47:17

-I've had a chance to write and note

-all kinds of events during the year.

0:47:180:47:23

-I've celebrated some things.

0:47:240:47:26

-Some other things have made me sad.

0:47:260:47:29

-Creating connections and dialogue

-with people...

0:47:300:47:33

-..both inside Wales and outside.

0:47:340:47:36

-It's incredibly important.

0:47:370:47:39

-It's even more important...

0:47:390:47:40

-..than I would have thought

-at the start of the year.

0:47:400:47:43

-Who would have thought

-we'd have voted to leave Europe.

0:47:440:47:47

-I myself am not leaving Europe.

0:47:470:47:49

-I think it's important that Wales,

-at least culturally stays in Europe.

0:47:500:47:54

-There we are.

0:47:550:47:56

-S4C Subtitles by Testun Cyf.

0:48:260:48:28

-.

0:48:280:48:28

Golwg ar flwyddyn gyntaf Ifor ap Glyn yn ei rol newydd fel Bardd Cenedlaethol Cymru. A look at Ifor ap Glyn's first year in his role as the new National Poet of Wales.