(for Paulette Wilson, Anthony Bryan  -and Amelia Gentleman)

Blessèd am I, avoiding the plague,

in my imagined bondage;

treading ten thousand steps

on the outskirts of my town.


And I walk the old paths

with new eyes,

till I reclaim a seasonal tongue

that modulates between the slow, slow speech

of the far-off peaks,

and the abrupt babble of nearby hedgerows.


Blessèd am I,

with only the drumkit of a dove’s wings

to disturb my peace. That’s my privilege…

but that can revert in an eye-blink.


Because I was neither born

nor raised here

(though this is where I live

with my alleged children);


I’ve no proof that I’m Welsh;

that this is where I’ve lived

for each of the last forty years.



no-one provokes me

with vile words like these…

So, I am blessed.

And I give thanks…


…that I will not be denied

hospital treatment,

though I’ve paid my stamp

(I could’ve sworn)

since before those who spurn my rights

were born.


I give thanks

that I won’t be dismissed from my job,

that I won’t be turned out of my house;

that I won’t be exiled to a city

that doesn’t remember me;

that I won’t be jailed

at the edge of an airfield,

by those who’d make my world a lie.





blessèd are we

when we cannot pass by on the other side;

when there’s a new turning

in the heart of each town,

and we walk the old paths with new eyes,

stepping out, all together,

through the mud of winter,


till we walk new summers  into our speech,

till we rise up better,

till we can live in colour,

and not just see in black and white.


Ifor ap Glyn
Bardd Cenedlaethol Cymru | National Poet of Wales

(Comissioned by Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru in the ‘Cerddi AmGen ein Prifeirdd’ series, 2020. English translation by Ifor ap Glyn.)

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