‘Preseli’ by Waldo Williams from ‘Dail Pren’

(Publishers: Gomer Press 1956)

Reader: John Gwilym Jones; CD ‘Daw Dydd’ (TYMPAN Talking Book Series)



Wall of my boyhood, Moel Drigarn, Carn Gyfrwy, Tal Mynydd,

In my mind’s independence ever at my back;

And my floor, from Witwig to Wern and to the smithy

Where from an essence older than iron, the sparks were struck.


And on the farmyards, on the hearths of my people

Wedded to wind and rain and mist and heathery livrocky land,

They wrestle with the earth and the sky, and they beat them,

And they toss the sun to their children as still they bend.


For me a memory and a symbol – that slope with reaping party

With their neighbours’ oats falling four-swathed to their blades.

The act they took for fun at a run, and straightening their bodies,

Flung one four-voiced giant laugh to the sun.


So my Wales shall be brotherhood’s womb, her destiny she will dare it.

The sick world’s balm shall be brotherhood alone.

It is the pearl pledged by time to eternity

To be the pilgrim’s hope in this little crooked lane.


And this was my window – these harvestings and sheep shearings.

I glimpsed the order of a kingly court.

Hark! A roar and ravage through a windowless forest.

To the wall! We must keep our well clear of this beast’s dirt.


Waldo Williams’s own translation.

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