Friday, November 18, 2016

Weather Without

In November 2015 the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (Comisiwn Brenhinol Henebion Cymru) held an Open Day at their headquarters in Aberystwyth, just before they moved up the hill to the National Library.  They invited members of the public to find something of interest among the material brought out from their archives, and then to produce 'something creative' (art, poetry, even tapestries).  I was struck by an aerial view of Fishguard, taken in 1929 by Aerofilms, that I actually stumbled across on Coflein (a combination of cof, memory and lein, line), their online catalogue. The picture can be seen here.  I sent off my effort at a 'soldier's englyn' (englyn milwr in Welsh) — lines of seven syllables; rhyme-scheme of AAA — and they replied to say that they would put it on the People's Collection Wales website here, along with other people's works.  I thought it seemed rather topical this week (though it is topical most of the time in a Welsh November!)

Weather Without

Surely little will outlast
West Welsh houses. They hold fast
In the western weather's blast.
When the wet Welsh wind is big
(Mast or trunk like straw or twig),
West Welsh houses only dig
Hewn heels further into hills.
Western weather finds and fills
Every crevice: gusts like drills
Deafen heaven, beaches teem,
Waves maraud and woodlands scream.
In foundation, wall and beam,
West Welsh houses, though, are made
Firm against the rain-storm's raid;
Stout of hearth and finely laid
Down in stone that shall not fail;
Hale of gable in a gale;
Staunch in every joint and nail.
Rows and rows are sworn to guard
West Welsh hearts against the hard
Rain, however swayed and scarred.
Snugly perched along the steep
Western hillsides, each shall keep
Stories, music, breath and sleep
Safe and sound for years on end:
Side by side, they shall defend
West Welsh souls and will not bend.

Westwards down Buarth Road, Aberystwyth, November 2015.

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