The near horizons of my ignorance 

could even hide (as if beneath a cup) 

the mighty Chinese plains, and like a dunce, 

I knew not of the road that linked us up, 

whose fires of camel dung would warm the night 

beneath those stranger skies that deserts lend. 

It took three hundred dawns to bring in sight  

(at last) the treasures at the journey’s end. 

Today the footsore are no longer seen 

and now, we share as quickly as we think; 

a silk road of ideas weaves between 

our countries, great and small, our constant link. 

My caravan of words tonight must go –  

it will return with silk quite soon, I know. 


Ifor ap Glyn
Bardd Cenedlaethol Cymru | National Poet of Wales

(to mark the Welsh Government’s  

Trade and Cultural Mission to China, March 2018. English translation by Ifor ap Glyn.) 

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