(for Gillian Clarke on her 80th birthday)


I have been the oak, shoulders wind-provoked

and clouds at sunset blowing their own-going;

I have been the fox corpse in a cloak of flies,

an expletive of relief in the farmer’s eyes.


I have been the butterfly tacked to the house-end,

its beaty rusting under nail heads;

I have been a pinch of unexpected description

and a razor’s kiss upon white skin.


I have been rare sun on the devotee’s nape

before ranting to the young for his own sake;

I have been the treat of fat floating on cawl

Who strands against us? Who knows our soul?


I have been glasses worn when blind,

I have been memory and imagination, intertwined;

I have been a bowl passed from hand to hand …

I have been a link in a chain without end …


Ifor ap Glyn
Bardd Cenedlaethol Cymru | National Poet of Wales

(This is a poem by National Poet of Wales, Ifor ap Glyn, it was commissioned by Literature Wales to celebrate the 80th birthday of former National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarke. English translation by clare potter)

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