Remembering by Waldo (Goronwy) Williams

Before the sun has left the sky, one minute,
One dear minute, before the journeying night,
To call to mind the things that are forgotten
Now in the dust of ages lost from sight.

Like foam of a wave on a lonely seacoast breaking,
Like the wind’s song where there’s no ear to mind,
I know they’re calling, calling to us vainly –
Old unremembered things of humankind.

Exploit and skill of early generations,
From tiny cottages or mighty hall,
Fine tales that centuries ago were scattered,
The gods that nobody knows now at all.

Little words of old, fugitive languages
That were sprightly on the lips of men
And pretty to the ear in the prattle of children –
But no one’s tongue will call on them again.

Oh, generations on the earth unnumbered,
Their divine dreams, fragile divinity –
Is only silence left to the hearts’ affections
That once rejoiced and grieved as much as we?

Often when I’m alone and it’s near nightfall,
I yearn to acknowledge you and know each one.
Is there no way fond memory can keep you,
Forgotten ancient things of the family of man?

From: http://www.hafodymor.com/poetry.html

Date: 1931 (original in Welsh); 1997 (translation in English)

By: Waldo (Goronwy) Williams (1904-1971)

Translated by: Anthony Conran (1931-2013)

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