2019 Annual Lecture

2019 Annual Lecture

The Annual Cymdeithas Waldo Lecture in 2019 will be held at Oriel y Parc, St Davids at 8.00 pm on Friday, September 27 and will commemorate 60 years since Waldo stood in a general election as Plaid Cymru’s first ever candidate in Pembrokeshire.

The lecturer will be Emyr Llewelyn who was one of those who supported the candidate. Emyr also delivered Cymdeithas Waldo’s first Annual Lecture at Bethel Chapel, Mynachlog-ddu in 2010.

Members of Cymdeithas Waldo will gain free entry to Oriel y Parc on production of their membership card. Available from secretary for £10. Otherwise an entrance fee of £5 will be charged.

A plaque will be unveiled outside the former Alandale Hotel in the city, where Waldo used to lodge at one time, at 6.30 pm. This will be followed by another unveiling at Oriel y Parc and a rendition by Goodwick Brass Band prior to the lecture entitled ‘Waldo’s Religion’. A new edition of ‘Cerddi’r Plant’, Waldo’s joint book of poems for children with E. Llwyd Williams, will also be launched.

Already this year a remarkable evening was had at Bethel Chapel Vestry, Mynachlog-ddu, on Friday evening, May 3, discussing a select few of Waldo Williams’ poems as seen in the volume ‘Dail Pren’.

The evening was steered by Wyn Owens and Eirian Wyn Lewis, chairman of  Cymdeithas Waldo, and national bard, Eirwyn George gave a notable contribution as he enlightened all present as to the meaning and significance of each poem.

Y Sant (The Saint)

The first poem to be dissected was the satirical ‘Y Sant’ which refers to the expected behaviour of a headteacher –  he must be teetotal and never be seen in a pub relaxing after a weary week. He must be present in all Sunday services and never use the Sabbath to write letters to friends. He must never criticise anyone and never be criticised by anyone either and live an exemplary  virtuous life on the basis of a daily ritual.

Waldo, of course, was a teacher but hardly the type of saint the appointments Committee expected to appoint as headteacher. He had convictions. He composed the poem in 1948.

Ar Weun Cas’Mael (On Puncheston Moor)

The poet’s convictions are well to the fore in the poem ‘Ar Weun Cas’Mael’. He could see that nature’s everlasting guidelines would be a means of vanquishing the temporary squalor, such as the ammunitions factory at Trecŵn, which he saw in his world. He could see society flowering again without any restrictions. There was a great deal of discussion as to whether the natives pronounced Casmael as Cashmâl. There was little evidence.

Preseli

According to Eirwyn George the poem ‘Preseli’ resonated in his heart as he could fully identify with its content. He could explain the various references to the close-knit agricultural community. Neighbours would converse on the farmyard during the day as they got on with their work at the same time but in the evening conversations would be held indoors on the hearth and a sense of community would blossom. The exact location of the ‘Efail’ (Smithy) was mentioned as the smithy at Penrallt and not as sometimes thought a reference to the nearby village of Efail-wen.

Daw’r Wennol yn Ȏl i’w Nyth (The Swallow will Return to her Nest)

A great deal of personal references were heard when discussing the ode  ‘Daw’r Wennol yn Ȏl i’w Nyth’ which refers to the rich Castlemartin land been taken over by the Ministry of War. There is as much as 12 inches depth of arable land there compared with about four inches at the most in these areas. “There is nothing as honest as soil” said Eirwyn “ because on giving to the soil there will be a handsome return”.

Lo and behold, one of those present, Anna Williams, Cymdeithas Waldo secretary, was able to relate her family’s history being forced to leave their rented farm Bulliber on the Cawdor Estate to make room for the military in the late 1930s. The significance of the poem was therefore far more poignant.

Eirwyn believed Waldo’s prophecy had to a great extent been realised as the swallow had literally returned to her nest on some of the county’s military sites that have been decommissioned. But he doubted whether there would be any large scale farming ever again on the vast Castlemartin range as it had already been designated as a special scientific site with its myriad of unusual and rare plants.

It was agreed that such a meeting should be held annually. Of the poets present there were several notable National winners such as Mererid Hopwood, Tudur Dylan and Idris Reynolds.

Cymdeithas Waldo’s next event will be on Sunday July 14 at 2 pm when an open air religious service will be held at Waldo’s Stone on Rhos-fach Common.