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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-Last year, it was announced that
-I would follow Gwyneth Lewis...
-..Gwyn Thomas and Gillian Clarke
-as Wales' fourth national poet.
-Quite a responsibility then.
-Everyone who's held the post
-in the past has had the freedom...
-..to reinvent the role
-to fit their own strengths.
-It's a bit like
-being the new Doctor Who.
-So, here's what I've been up to
-in my first year...
-..as the National Poet of Wales.
-Literature Wales is responsible
-for the National Poet of Wales.
-They arranged for the reigns to
-be handed over at the Hay Festival.
-It's an international festival
-that draws authors...
-..to Hay on Wye from all over
-the world to celebrate literature.
-As my predecessor, Gillian Clarke
-held the post for eight years...
-..I wonder how she felt
-about today's ceremony.
-It's a great occasion.
-I'm pleased that it's Ifor.
-All poets work together anyway
-It's very important
-because Wales is a small country.
-Thanks very much, Gillian.
-It's an honour
-to stand in front of you...
-..in this new,
-respectable, scary job.
-After addressing the audience,
-Gillian and I had an informal chat.
-She warned me about a few
-of the things I could expect.
-What advice did she have for me
-as the new National Poet of Wales.
-I just say "Yes". I go everywhere
-that I'm asked to go.
-By doing that,
-Gillian has constantly fought...
-..to ensure neither Wales nor its
-literature is pushed to the verges.
-got to know each other properly...
-..when we were both in Washington.
-It can be done.
-We both burn the same petrol
-in that way.
-We're firmly opposed to any attempts
-to make Wales invisible.
-Neither of us want to be part
-of a vampire nation...
-..that looks in the mirror
-and can't see anything there.
-Gillian's most important lesson
-to me was not to be scared...
-..of expressing my opinion
-as National Poet of Wales.
-libraries, the NHS...
-..decent treatment of everybody.
-That's not party political.
-That's just, you know.
-I'd fight for those things.
-I'd lie down in the road
-to save the Welsh language.
-I really enjoyed the ceremony.
-I felt for Gillian.
-It must have been a bitter-sweet
-feeling for her.
-She's been in the job
-for a long time.
-She's made it her own.
-She's taken the job to a new level.
-It's going to be a challenge to
-follow her and filling her shoes.
-Congratulations, will you change
-your style because of this?
-I'm hoping to be true to myself.
-I hope I'll be true to the role too.
-The thing I'm most unsure about
-is all the interviews.
-When you do a public address,
-you've had time to prepare.
-for the news and similar things...
-..you're never sure
-which way it will go.
-You can get caught out.
-When I got the job, a friend of mine
-wrote a beautiful englyn...
-..offering me some advice.
-At least be controversial, he said.
-But don't be controversial
-There was nothing controversial
-about my next task.
-It was a book-signing session
-at the Hay on Wye bookshop.
-It was nice to see the odd person
-who struggled with Welsh...
-..daring to buy a Welsh book.
-Would a translation of this
-Very much so.
-If you'd like
-to put your email there.
-The day's final job was
-a reception with Literature Wales.
-It was a chance to meet
-with old and new friends.
-It was also another chance
-to thank Gillian...
-..at the end of her
-tenure in the job.
-The National Poet of Wales!
-What can I say?
-Thank you very much, Gillian.
-I'd like to read Gwaddol,
-a presentation to Gillian Clarke.
-"A toolbox came
-anonymously to my door.
-"And in it I found
-a knife to carve poems
-" And a warning
-regarding the muse's clean slap.
-"An imaginary hammer and nails
-with which to shoe our experiences.
-"And a crosscut saw
-"enabling two people
-to pull together.
-"This was the Taliesin of toolboxes.
-"The heavy tools
-were the weight of wrens in my hand.
-"A gadget for every requirement.
-"From prolific ideas
-like bicycle seeds
-"To a file to smooth off lines.
-"And spanners of couplets
-to loosen meanings.
-"On the blade or handle of each
-tool, the initials GC were etched.
-"I now acclaim their owner for
-generously sharing them with me."
-Thank you very much, Gillian.
-My next responsibility
-as National Poet of Wales...
-..was to write a poem for the
-Official Opening of the Senedd.
-The late Iwan Llwyd had written
-a poem about the first Senedd...
-..called by Owain Glyndwr
-back in 1404.
-Iwan's influence can be heard
-here and there in my poem.
-"Spring came late to our country;
-the winter locked down ambition
-"and put our aspirations on ice,
-before the big thaw
-"which made the drains gargle
-and the downpipes gush.
-"And so may the sun shine bright
-on this house today
-"This, the cauldron of our rebirth
-"The platform for our voice,
-where we sing our vision into being.
-"We come here
-from many commote, as before
-"Treading the overgrown path, barbed
-with wool like Christmas trimmings
-"And crowding down the wet lane
-which mirrors the sky's shine.
-"We come here, to touch the horizon
-and bend it for common good.
-"And as we,
-from our valleys and mountains
-"approach our perpetual city
-"We give thanks there are no bullet
-holes in the pillars of this house
-"Just a cloud of witnesses
-"who'll maintain us
-in all manner of beliefs.
-"And as we are led
-to the halls of this house
-"May there be passion in our debate;
-prudence in conciliation
-"Let difficult' become simple,
-and challenging' become fun
-The last thing we want is to import
-that kind of chaos into Wales.
-"and let us each day
-repeat the maxim
-"that two men will come together
-sooner than two mountains."
-I couldn't be at the official
-opening of the Senedd last June.
-Just like many fellow
-Welsh men and women...
-..I'd crossed the sea to follow the
-national football side in France.
-As there was a referendum on staying
-in Europe later in the month...
-..I'd made sure
-of a postal vote before leaving.
-After the victory against Russia
-..which got us a place
-in the second round.
-I saw that as a great opportunity
-to do some canvassing for remain.
-As my friend advised,
-at least be controversial.
-"The party has started.
-"Everyone's singing our praises.
-"Our team is still in Europe,
-it's where we want to be.
-"If like me,
-you want the party to continue
-"Don't forget to vote.
-"Vote remain this Thursday."
-# Hal Robson-Kanu #
-That video got a huge response with
-some 50,000 views in a few days.
-These little verses are the most
-popular thing I've ever done.
-It didn't change the result
-of the referendum, unfortunately.
-Without doubt, one of the most
-popular stories of the year...
-..was the success of the Wales team
-When a crew from Wales Arts Review
-came to look back at my year...
-..they wanted to talk
-about the football.
-So, the players singing
-the national anthem...
-..it would be nice
-to hear your thoughts.
-The biggest thing was that
-the experience bred confidence.
-If only we could bottle that.
-All of a sudden,
-Wales was in the headlines.
-But there were a few cross words
-As Wales did
-better and better...
-..some of the London press began
-sniping around the team...
-.."half of them
-were born in England."
-So was I. I'm the National
-Poet Of Wales. Deal with it.
-Wales' players embraced
-the Welsh language...
-..as part of the team's image
-regardless of who spoke it.
-That's only one of that month's
-odyssey of wonders...
-..on and off the pitch.
-Things like the behaviour of fans,
-the passionate support...
-..on both sides of the sea.
-These things are woven
-through the poem I wrote...
-..to celebrate our success
-at the Euros.
-"One June afternoon
-"The long wait gilded
-by the sunshine
-"I took myself off to France.
-"There, I saw great wonders.
-"First, a red wall
-"Moving and singing as one.
-"The wall became a tempest
-Rising from the stadium's flanks
-a celebrating sea of red
-"Through the streets,
-from Lens to Toulouse.
-"I heard the football heroes
-"Claiming their language back,
-one 'diolch' at a time
-"And shirt-makers and brewers
-from the end of the world
-"Acknowledging it in turn.
-"And here are my people,
-the vampire nation
-"Who once stared into mirrors
-and saw nothing
-"Stepping from the shadows
-and finding themselves
-"As if for the first time.
-"May these wonders continue
-"To open up new paths
-as old ones seem set to close.
-"That would complete the gilding."
-# Hallelu... Hallelujah #
-Last September, I was in Blackwood
-for the Velvet Coal Mine Festival.
-For three years, this festival
-has brought literature and music...
-..to the middle of Gwent.
-I was there on the invitation
-of the organiser, Ian Richards.
-In a question and answer session
-before the reading...
-..Ian was keen to know
-how writing in Welsh...
-National Poet's ability...
-..to appeal to audiences
-in places like Blackwood...
-..where the majority
-don't speak Welsh.
-Whatever language you write in...
-..you want to engage with
-as wide an audience as possible.
-There are translations
-on every seat.
-I was eager to make a more
-fundamental statement about this.
-It's important to make the point the
-Welsh language belongs to us all.
-It can be something that divides us
-or something that unites us.
-I'm interested in using it
-as something that unites us.
-Not only can the language unite us
-but our history can too.
-The history of Wales is frequently
-overlooked in our schools...
-..as I noted
-in the evening's final poem.
-"We saw ourselves,
-as if through glass.
-"Like people who lost weight
-"Feeling their history
-hanging loose upon them."
-The next morning in Blackwood...
-..it was another poem about our
-history under the microscope.
-I met local poet Clare Potter.
-We've shared many a stage
-in the past.
-That's why I turned to Clare...
-..to ask her to translate
-a few of my poems to English.
-We went for a cuppa
-to discuss her latest translation.
-It's a poem to remember the Welshmen
-who lost their lives...
-..at the battle of Mametz Wood.
-I've had a little trouble with that.
-"Lest the oaken..."
-"Lest" might be a bit historic.
-It sounds like the kind of thing
-you'd use for a Latin translation.
-But it's a good idea to use it...
-..because of the
-"Lest we forget" phrase.
-That word is used
-when speaking about...
-You're right. You're right!
-What's interesting about this
-process, it's a thankless task...
-..sometimes I say oh yes,
-try something new.
-"No, that's the word."
-It's a different poem then.
-It's my poem if I do that too much.
-It's like a bit of a negotiation.
-It can feel a bit awkward at times.
-It's small things
-like these last lines.
-I was thinking something
-about Mametz and forget.
-A century gone since Welshmen
-And their grandchildren return;
-remember that last sunset.
-The feeling is different with that.
-It's also cuts across
-the reality of the trees.
-It's so dark there.
-Have you seen Aled Rhys Hughes'
-If you get a chance...
-..he has an exhibition
-in the National Library of Wales.
-They are striking.
-They're very striking.
-Most of the young Welshmen killed
-taking Mametz Wood...
-..lie there to this day.
-It wasn't possible to bury them
-amongst the heat of battle.
-My poem about them was read
-for the first time...
-..when Aled Rhys Hughes' exhibition
-at the National Library opened.
-It's no surprise that Mametz Wood
-has a special place in our hearts.
-Whose wood is it?
-The Welsh or the French.
-What is the significance
-of these woods today?
-Those are some of the questions
-the poem and exhibition ask.
-"Seeking the woods today was madness
-"But we walked through
-"Bared our heads
-beneath the vociferous oaks
-"Their leaves chattering
-"Before turning our faces
-to the damp light.
-"Ceux-ci sont des arbres galloisants
-"des chenes, des noisettes,
-"These trees speak Welsh
-"The oaks, the hazels, the beeches
-straight like bayonets
-"Their leafy branches
-sieving the rain
-"Ici, on peut, a peu pres entendre
-les racines en s'enfoncant par terre
-"Ou se couchent les Gallois
-"Under this earth
-lie the roots of Mametz
-"Cupping each helmet
-like an eggshell
-"Squeezing through the boots
-loosened from soldiers' feet
-beneath the soil's embrace.
-still nourishes the trees.
-"C'est ici le memorial Gallois,
-"Today, walking softly
-over the bones of our forefathers
-"We retrace the memories lest the
-oaks and beeches lose their voices.
-after the Welsh claimed the woods
-"Their grandsons and granddaughters
-meet once more."
-This is the community centre
-for Penyrheol near Caerphilly.
-That was the home last September of
-for the Durga Puja festival.
-It's one of the main
-..for the Bengali community
-After the opening ritual,
-I'd been invited to address them...
-..in both Welsh and English.
-It's an honour to be invited
-to be here tonight.
-On the train on the way up here,
-I had time to think...
-..about the different ways
-in which Indian culture...
-..has influenced my life
-in the past.
-My best friend in junior school
-was from Goa.
-My father's business partner
-Maybe the biggest thing I've got
-in common with tonight's ceremony...
-..is the fact that
-I was also raised as an exile.
-I learned about the culture of my
-own country while living in another.
-After wishing them every success...
-..I finished with a poem
-I wrote ten years ago in Delhi.
-I was in India at the time filming a
-programme for S4C about the Ganges.
-Before heading home, I was eager
-to thank the local girl...
-..who'd been helping us
-during our journey, Namrata Gupta.
-an ability to open many doors
-on our journey through the land
-"Precise when questioned
-on Hindi or India
-"Polite and full of questions
-"A bridge to help us get far
-"The light and an introducer
-"Tonight in Delhi,
-tears fall without her
-"A nightmare to lose my guide
-"As an invalid, I cry for hours
-"But back in the land of my fathers,
-she could be my healer
-"Will she come before summer's end?
-"Namrata has the answer."
-Thanks very much.
-I was given a traditional scarf
-as a gift.
-While listening to the music,
-I discussed the possibility...
-..of translating more poems
-from Welsh to Bengali.
-It was a heart-warming night.
-Not least because some
-of the young people spoke Bengali...
-..but also spoke
-quite a bit of Welsh.
-I am over the moon with Durga Puja
-because it's fun.
-One thing that made me pause...
-..before taking on this job
-as National Poet of Wales.
-What if I had to write on a topic
-about which I had no opinion?
-I have to admit,
-the piece I've just finished...
-..this is the hardest piece
-I've had to write.
-It's about Aberfan.
-It's not so much that I feel I don't
-have anything to say about Aberfan.
-It's more I feel what right do I
-have to say something about Aberfan?
-In the end, I wove that uncertainty
-into the piece.
-What we have is Mam-gu...
-..trying to write a letter
-to her grand-daughter...
-..who has asked her Mam-gu
-who is from Aberfan...
-..to tell her the history.
-Mam-gu is unsure about
-what is suitable...
-..to share with her grand-daughter.
-"My dearest grand-daughter..."
-.."you've asked me to write down
-what I remember...
-.."for some project
-you have at school.
-"I don't know what I can say.
-"Silence is a hard habit to break,
-so they say.
-"The thing is,
-what hope was there...
-.."to find words
-that could describe what I'd seen?
-"Don't mention it.
-"I was, numb.
-"Like I was in a vacuum.
-The piece was performed
-for the first time in English...
-..during a special evening held
-to remember Aberfan...
-..at the Wales Millennium Centre
-Sian Phillips presented it.
-"How much should you know?
-"It's part of your history...
-.."our family's history.
-"But I can't
-share my guilt with you.
-"For making the child I lost
-go to school that morning.
-"None of this makes sense.
-"There are pictures that
-you ought to see from afterwards.
-"The first baby,
-the first wedding, the first smiles
-"How many hundreds have there been
-since then, thank God.
-"Those photographs show you
-how we carried on.
-"We had to.
-"What can I tell you, sweet thing?
-"I don't want you to forget either.
-"I can only leave flowers
-for your little aunt.
-"But I can try to share...
-.."what I can with you."
-In November, I headed to London
-for a special occasion.
-To mark Remembrance Sunday...
-..the National Poets of Scotland,
-England and Wales...
-..were asked to provide a poem each
-to do with war losses.
-From 6.00pm that night, those poems
-would be projected on to Big Ben.
-There was a bit of interest
-in the fact my poem was in Welsh.
-One of the evening's first jobs...
-..was to do an interview
-for a news crew from ITN.
-"To see our language normalised if
-you like, legitimised...
-Then I was free
-to watch my own work...
-..crawl slowly up Big Ben
-in huge letters.
-"To these tidy streets, rows of boys
-came keeping their pattern as before
-"While crossing no man's land.
-"A century has greened the earth
-that was blown up in bloody seconds
-"Sifting innards, exploding flesh.
-"It sheltered the boys
-from the steel storm.
-"The turf doors
-closing quietly behind them.
-"They came from similar
-"Where the horn of battle shepherded
-friends for the big adventure
-"Before the houses winked
-their blinds one by one
-"Tonight, the stones are bone white
-"The evening sunshine
-perfectly engraving the names
-"Casting long shadows.
-"Only some strangers
-from a future denied them
-at the Braille of their names
-"Because all the doors are locked."
-I'm really proud to be part of
-Remembrance Sunday on the Thames.
-As one of the London Welsh, someone
-who was brought up in this city...
-..seeing our language projected up
-..one of the biggest symbols
-of London is incredible.
-I like to think that, as this is
-such a cosmopolitan city...
-..as the UK in general
-is so cosmopolitan...
-..with so many of us now speaking
-languages other than English...
-..being raised to speak languages...
-..other than English
-as our first language...
-..I like to think that including
-Welsh here acknowledges that fact.
-When I was growing up in London...
-..there was a
-trinity of institutions...
-..that kept up my Welshness
-beyond my home.
-The chapel, Old Deer Park, the home
-of London Welsh Rugby Club...
-..and this place.
-The London Welsh Centre
-or simply the club.
-This hall hasn't changed very much.
-I've appeared more than once
-on this stage...
-..in the choir
-and in different plays.
-On this stage during the Society
-Eisteddfod over 30 years ago...
-..is when my career as a poet began,
-you could say.
-It almost finished at the same time.
-I'd decided to try an englyn, that
-year's theme were "the bellows".
-The first line was
-"Tawel yw ceg y fegin".
-I don't remember the rest, I do
-remember they weren't correct!
-Because of that, my englyn came
-fourth out of three competitors.
-It came with
-the traditional encouragement...
-...from the adjudicators
-I've tried to do so.
-My family had lived in London
-My great grandfather is here,
-T.W. Glyn Evans.
-He was the first
-to come here to live.
-In his old age, he was made
-President of the London Welsh.
-The Glyn in my name comes after him.
-During my teens, I came here
-constantly at the weekends.
-Just as my parents did before me.
-By the time I was here,
-English was the default language.
-I remember one night in this bar.
-There were 20 of us young London
-Welsh sitting around these seats.
-Someone asked "How many of us have
-got two Welsh speaking parents?"
-We went around. 15 out of the 20
-with two Welsh speaking parents.
-The other five had one parent
-who spoke Welsh.
-Only five of us could speak Welsh.
-It's things like that which make me
-appreciate how lucky I was...
-..to have been raised
-in Welsh in London.
-Back at home in Caernarfon...
-..it was time to discuss tasks
-for Talwrn Y Beirdd.
-I've been a part of different teams
-in this radio programme since 1984.
-For years now,
-my team is Caernarfon.
-What are we trying to do?
-Every time we get a list of tasks
-for another round of the talwrn...
-..we meet at the Alex pub...
-..to collect ideas, decide
-who will take on which task...
-..and to put the world in its place.
-that a poet's usual work continues.
-this is a part of what's normal.
-Two weeks later, I and the rest of
-..were ready to record
-at Pantycelyn Hall in Aberystwyth.
-We were facing
-a new, youthful team this time.
-They were the local team
-from the Black Lion.
-I was responsible
-for the lyric competition.
-From Team Caernarfon, Ifor Ap Glyn.
-"She pulls her skirt lower down
-as she walks in with her friends.
-"Freezing them in a smiling trio
-"Her phone like a wand
-in front of her.
-"If there's no photo,
-it didn't happen.
-"She must share the seconds
-"Before heels and sucking drink
-through a straw
-"The first one
-pulls her new mate's shirt
-"Dragging him like a trophy
-onto the dance floor
-There's the second, her hand making
-waves. "Hey Macarena!
-"One waves goodbye,
-the other disappears
-"The one that's left,
-in a dark corner
-"Punches messages into her phone
-"Her face pale
-in the light of the screen.
-"She tidies her tresses,
-flashes a smile
-to deny the nightmare.
-in a monologue of pictures."
-From Radio Cymru and Aberystwyth to
-London and New Broadcasting House.
-One of the things that's been a nice
-surprise in the past year...
-..is the readiness of some
-of the British media...
-..to make space for Welsh.
-About time too, I say!
-On St David's Day, I was speaking
-to Kirsty Lang on Front Row.
-It's Radio Four's culture programme.
-What does St. David's Day
-mean to you?
-I think for some people St David's
-Day is the day they feel...
-..it's the only day they feel
-they're allowed to be Welsh.
-I hope I'm allowed to be Welsh
-every day of the year.
-To that extent, it's not much more
-important to me than any other day.
-You don't make a big deal of it?
-You don't make a big deal of it?
-No, not really.
-We asked you to write a poem
-especially for us...
-..to mark St David's Day.
-It's called Umbrella Welsh.
-Let's hear Umbrella Welsh.
-"It rains so often in a stormy world
-"But your ribs always lock
-into a perfect dome above my head.
-"Under your wing,
-"I can fly with one arm
-through our lineage's imagination
-"For some, you refuse to open.
-"But rolled up tightly,
-you put a spring in our Welsh steps.
-"We hold it like a narrow flag
-to direct tourists to our history
-"And the alternative world
-that's there for all.
-"You are the umbrella
-that always completes us
-"Either open or closed
-"As long as we share you."
-It's important to use every possible
-chance to advance the language...
-..both in Wales and outside Wales.
-It's also important
-to use the language...
-..to discuss topics
-other than identity and history.
-Oxfam is a part of a coalition
-..fighting global warming.
-They asked for a poem
-to support their cause.
-They wanted something simple,
-As Donald Trump had just started...
-about climate change...
-..the poem almost wrote itself.
-But then, I needed to film it...
-..so it could be shared online
-and on social media.
-"And should we put our
-trust in those
-"Who'll swear with all their might
-"That 'water' really, still is 'ice'
-"That 'black' is really 'white'?
-"Who'll swear the smoke back into
-coal like a fairy tale?
-"And anyone who contradicts?
-that's 'fake news' without fail!
-"It's totalitarian wisdom,
-like the 'thirties with new looks
-"Surely, shutting down the web,
-is just like burning books?
-"The lesson for the rich is this:
-Our world is not a game,
-"To hand it unbankrupted to
-our children is the aim.
-"And we are not the president's men,
-our truth should hold no fear
-"Let's stand firm, for our
-unborn kids, the way ahead is clear
-"Whatever the source
-of their 'fake news'
-"The White House or Whitehall
-"We must deny that water's ice
-"That black's not white at all."
-Literature Wales were responsible...
-..for devising the job of
-National Poet of Wales back in 2005.
-They manage the poet from
-their headquarters in Cardiff.
-It's one of the many projects
-..to promote our country's
-literature in both languages.
-Every now and then,
-I meet up with Lleucu Siencyn.
-She's the Chief Executive of
-We discuss the next plans
-for the role...
-..and how those can take place
-within a wider vision.
-We can do a few things.
-We can not just promote Wales...
-..in terms of co-operation
-with the Welsh Government.
-We want to raise Wales' status.
-it's even more important...
-..that we convey our different
-nation and culture...
-..all over the world.
-But also that the National Poet
-project is a positive answer...
-..to some things,
-a kind of soft diplomacy.
-It's an opportunity, isn't it?
-Soft diplomacy is trying
-to promote those links...
-..where they're at risk
-of disappearing in other contexts.
-It's important then that you
-and other poets and writers...
-..go to these big festivals
-in China or India...
-..and keep telling them
-about where we come from...
-..and what language we write in
-and why we write in that language.
-It's important to present
-that message in our own country too.
-Particularly when poets
-from other countries visit.
-That's why I headed down to the
-Volcano Theatre in Swansea in April.
-This was the first
-in a series of events.
-It gave a stage to 30 writers
-from all across the world.
-almost 20 different languages.
-there's an interesting group here.
-There are a lot of refugees
-There's a mix of
-written and projected translations.
-In amongst all this, I'm doing
-something I've never done before.
-I'm reading a translation
-of a Chinese poem.
-I'm then inviting the poet up to
-present his translation of my work.
-Can I first ask, does everyone
-have one of these booklets?
-We're going to start on page eight.
-The poem is called Gwers in Welsh.
-It's called Elevation in English.
-"To fly over Wales
-is to learn to love it
-"Hanging lazily above,
-knowing her from unfamiliar angles
-"Between the jests
-of the wispy clouds
-"There's the Lleyn Peninsula
-like a quickly rolled-up sleeve
-"Here are the unordered fields
-"The mysterious mountains,
-stitched together by hedges
-"The discarded slates like sand
-after fingers rake it through
-"Small, vibrant lakes, like hidden
-birth places in the waning sun
-"As I look out the airplane window
-"My lips insist on naming the sights
-"Dyfi junction, Cors Fochno
-"Your breath like a lover's caress
-along the body
-"Dowlais, Penrhys, Gilfach Goch
-"As she brings down the curtain
-"The airplane's shadow moves
-like a cross over the white clouds
-on a love letter through the ages
-"An unwilling vote
-for her deliverance."
-I'm very privileged and it's a great
-..to welcome Yang Lian to the stage.
-He's translated the poem
-Thank you very much.
-Before I came to Wales, I said...
-.."the best way to meet a Welsh poet
-but also Wales...
-.."is to translate something."
-OK, here is your poem.
-It was both strange and wonderful to
-hear such a familiar poem...
-..in such an unfamiliar language.
-Yang Lian is one of the founders
-of the group Misty Poets.
-They came to prominence
-in China at the end of the 1970s.
-He and several of his contemporaries
-..after the 1989 Tiananmen Square
-His history certainly chimed
-with many of the Swansea audience.
-Many of them had to flee
-their own countries.
-Refugees from 100 years ago
-was the subject of my next work.
-Where do we put the mic? The middle?
-I'd place it about here.
-To close my first year
-as National Poet...
-..I'd been invited to create a poem
-for an event in Brussels.
-It's not too fast. There's plenty
-of room for the words to fit.
-I'd asked the musician, Osian
-Howells to write a piece of music.
-I wanted it to complement
-the new poem.
-It's a poem about Belgian refugees.
-They came to Wales
-during the Great War.
-It comes down again.
-"They came innocently
-with purple mouths."
-I wanted to record the track...
-..in the vestry of Salem Chapel
-Only one institution across
-Wales took in Belgians...
-..and cared for them 100 years ago.
-A few days after recording Osian's
-track, I was in Brussels.
-I was trying to organize my address
-for that evening.
-Back in 1914 when Belgium
-was conquered by the Germans.
-came to seek asylum in the UK.
-The way those Belgians were welcomed
-100 years ago...
-..is a lesson to us today...
-..as Westminster grumbles
-about giving asylum...
-..to people from Syria
-and Northern Africa.
-Passa Porta was the location
-for the event.
-By day, it's a bookshop.
-It's transformed into a stage
-for authors at night.
-The audience for this evening came
-to hear poetry about loss.
-It was a look at
-how the Great War...
-Wales and Ireland differently.
-Poets representing each of
-the three countries were attending.
-Lleucu Siencyn from Literature Wales
-was the chair.
-A warm welcome to you all
-to this special evening.
-I was the first to take the stage.
-Thank you, Lleucu.
-Dank u wel, Lleucu.
-This first poem...
-..is about an imaginary family of
-Belgian refugees, called de Wynck.
-Less talk, more poetry.
-This is the poem, Mwyara.
-"A profusion of blackberries:
-"And that was when
-the de Wyncks came to stay.
-"Father had read out loud
-about the autumn in their land
-"How corpses collected like drifts
-of beech leaves on the streets
-"And thousands fled.
-"And so we fetched them
-from the station platform
-"A trio petrified,
-their eyes swivelling like smoke
-"Their whole world in a few armfuls
-"And their same aged son,
-holding his mother's hand.
-"Next day, without a word in common,
-I was sent blackberrying with him.
-"We picked together, mute.
-"Finger-pricked and arm-scratched,
-seeking out blackberries: braambes
-"Until we were blackberry-blind
-"Their shiny spheres filled our eyes
-"The fat ones mocked us
-from the depths of the hedge
-"And its topmost crests
-"Te hoog!; Too high!
-"And we laughed in our innocence
-with purpled mouths.
-"That was when compassion
-begat action in our house
-"And the first fruits of frustration
-"For a young girl who could not
-put her language in your mouth
-"So I put blackberries
-like sharp sweet kisses
-"On your surprised tongue
-"Four and a half years exactly
-before you and your family left
-"To rebuild a shattered country."
-That's the end of the final event
-of my first year as National Poet.
-It's quite nice that we've finished
-here in Brussels.
-As the year went on...
-..I realised how much being an
-ambassador is a part of the role.
-I've had a chance to write and note
-all kinds of events during the year.
-I've celebrated some things.
-Some other things have made me sad.
-Creating connections and dialogue
-..both inside Wales and outside.
-It's incredibly important.
-It's even more important...
-..than I would have thought
-at the start of the year.
-Who would have thought
-we'd have voted to leave Europe.
-I myself am not leaving Europe.
-I think it's important that Wales,
-at least culturally stays in Europe.
-There we are.
-S4C Subtitles by Testun Cyf.
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.