Posts tagged ‘anthony conran’

Monday, 19 March 2018

Excerpt from “Elegy for Madog ap Maredudd, Prince of Powys” by Cynddelw Brydydd Mawr

Door of a fort he was, companion shield,
Buckler on battlefield, and in brave deeds:
A tumult like flame blazing through heather,
Router of enemies, his shield stopped their way;
Lord sung by a myriad, hope of minstrels,
Crimson, irresistible, unswerving companion.

From: Leoussi, Athena S. and Grosby, Steven (eds.), Nationalism and Ethnosymbolism: History, Culture and Ethnicity in the Formation of Nations, Edinburgh University Press: Edinburgh, p. 86.

Date: c1160 (original in Welsh); 1967 (translation in English)

By: Cynddelw Brydydd Mawr (fl. c1155-1200)

Translation by: Anthony Conran (1931-2013)

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Pebble by Anthony Conran

World pebble in my hand —
Millimetre escarpments,
Cliffs, potholes,
Flat places.

It remembers
A red mist of
Liquid stone
Slopping into the air.

Pressure was the heartbeat of living rock,
Millions of tons of it,
The pouring of world
To its centre.

Now this little lost stone
Must travel the trivial
Rivers of death.
Rub into dissolution.

Sharp gravel. Sand. Mud.
And then, deep down
Like a froth of rock.

Settle into the seabed.
Relax under the tons of deep sea.
Harden again
To strata.

It could be my fingers
That the sediments
Into chert.

My thumbprints could be fossil next.
The pebble on its way to death
Might laugh last.
It would remember me.


Date: 1986

By: Anthony Conran (1931-2013)

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

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?


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

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

Translated by: Anthony Conran (1931-2013)