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(the summit of Snowdon)

 

(according to Welsh legend, yr Wyddfa ‘an eminent high point or burial mound’,

is the resting place of Rhita, the giant slain by Arthur)

 

They materialise from the mist; their podium itch

drives them in heavy footed droves

on the straitened path to the summit.

 

And what right have I

to deny them their swift selfie?

– as they crest the top for a moment,

and then descend,

as inconsequential now

as our forebears who scarred this peak in time past…

 

No-one from my Nain’s family, in their hob-nailed boots

ever stood atop giant Rhita’s cairn,

they just burrowed dourly into his flank,

at Glynrhonwy Quarry

 

– but the Wyddfa’s tougher than us all…

 

And in the shackles of my own spare time,

this mountain’s no mere stadium for athletic feats

but a soaring cathedral of the spirit;

and our steps re-echo lightly

with the ones that went before.

 

And in these lonely retreats

lies the gaunt and primal world

that exalts the soul,

that brings the great mystery near…

 

Ifor ap Glyn
Bardd Cenedlaethol Cymru / National Poet of Wales

(translated from the Welsh original by the author; poem commissioned for ‘Enaid Eryri’ by Richard Outram and reproduced here by kind permission of the publisher, Gwasg Carreg Gwalch)

Back to Ifor ap Glyn Commissioned Poems