“Wall of my boyhood, Moel Drigarn, Carn Gyfrwy, Tal Mynydd, In my mind’s independence ever at my back”

Waldo Williams

Waldo Williams

1904 – 1971

Waldo Goronwy Williams is regarded as a mythical figure. No one who knew him bore a grudge towards him. Whoever spent time in his company would embrace him and treasure every meeting. Young children were always fond of him when he taught them.

Some would insist that he possessed the attributes of a saint. Indeed, he had strong convictions and an impish humour. Someone once said it had taken two thousand years of Welsh civilization to create a man such as Waldo. He had immersed himself in the history of his nation. On one occasion he stood as a Plaid Cymru parliamentary candidate.

Although he lost his deposit he won many admirers. To many Waldo was the greatest Welsh poet of the twentieth century. To others he was a pacifist who happened to be a poet. He was much admired for his insistence on serving two prison sentences for his refusal to pay income tax in protest against war and compulsory military service.

In his mid-fifties he joined the Quakers. He relished the inner stillness he would experience in the Meeting House. He dedicated his only volume of poetry Dail Pren (Tree Leaves) as a source of healing for his nation. We do not know of any other poet who made a similar gesture to his nation.