(for Gillian Clarke, 31.5.16) 


A tool box arrived 

unbidden at my door. 

And there I found 

a trimming knife for poems 

(with a warning 

against the whelts of the muse); 

imagination’s hammer and nails 

to shoe my fleeting hours; 

and a cross saw for translation 

that two can pull in tandem. 


This was a Taliesin of tool boxes, 

each heavy tool 

weighed wren-light in my hand, 

and turned hare-swift to my needs, 

from the ball-bearing ideas 

fully formed like seeds, 

to the file for smoothing lines 

and the spanner couplets 

that loosen all understanding. 


And on each tool’s blade or handle 

I saw the letters ‘G.C.’ 

and I sing now to their owner, 

for sharing them so generously … 


Ifor ap Glyn
Bardd Cenedlaethol Cymru | National Poet of Wales

(This poem was written in May 2016, to thank Gillian Clarke as she handed the baton of National Poet of Wales over to Ifor. Ifor was invited in 2017 to send a poem to greet the British Literacy Conference upon their visit to Cardiff.)

Back to Ifor ap Glyn: National Poet of Wales 2016 – 2022