Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Lampeter Blog - Part 4 - (Welsh) Words and Poetry.

Today we had to choose a favourite word in Welsh - ah, so many to choose from, so many to exercise the tongue. There is Ysbyty (hospital), or nagio (to swim) or eira (snow) - all of which I like for different reasons. I like 'Ysbyty' because of the way it sounds, 'nagio' because of the sound and the meaning, and 'eira' because of the meaning most of all - it used to be the code word to radio stations to tell them to broadcast the message that all the schools in Flintshire were closed for the day because there was too much snow. So once it meant unexpected holiday to me.

Welsh, I think, is a language that is naturally poetic. Today we had a rhyme to remember the names of the colours. There was 'du' meaning black - as a crow, and 'llywd' meaning grey - as a squirrel, it was quite beautiful and I am going to try and use this for a poem myself today - since it is Poetry Thursday and the theme is favourite words. One word I like is helios. I started off with that and then extended it using colours. It has turned out sad. I wish it hadn't but it has.

HELIOS

To me, my friend,
you sometimes seemed white-hot.
Helios:
you burnt all in your path
- shining
as if you would never go out.

I didn't know then
how quickly you could fade -
orange then
dull-red
- a raging giant
some might say,
or a dwarf,
acid-yellow
- smaller and smaller
until all you that you were
was hidden within.

Black, now.
That is all there is
- every shadow hidden
behind others
- a space
as if all of you is gone.
Link

6 Comments:

Blogger Susan said...

It's a lovely poem, Clare. If you need a bit of cheer just read it last verse to first. It actually reads very well that way too!

Thu Jun 22, 06:38:00 pm  
Blogger jim said...

I like Susan's suggestion . . . if you were to play with revision possibilities.

I think it turns just on being true to the life of stars, as you catalogue it: the acid yellow, I think, is where it turns somber, more harsh. But I think that's where this poem must go, too.

Fri Jun 23, 02:40:00 am  
Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

I just love it Clare. I like poems that start out cheery and end up with a twist of bitter or sad - mysterious and strong with a shocked intake of breath at the end, is the impression I have after reading it.

I have been enjoying your reports on learning the Welsh language. I love reading about your impressions and descriptions. It's a glimpse into another world for me.

Fri Jun 23, 11:17:00 am  
Blogger Tammy said...

I loved the use of colors here and I flipped it and it worked that way too...cool!

Fri Jun 23, 03:47:00 pm  
Blogger Maxine said...

As I spend a half-hour or hour each evening scanning the many book and literary blogs on my list, I read or see a lot of poems. Only a few stand out for me. This is one. It is lovely and haunting.
I like it best your way round, Clare, but chacon a son gout, as they say (esp. on a blog!)
And I am totally lost in admiration of you for learning Welsh. (As a part-time Welshy sort of person)

all my best
Maxine.

Fri Jun 23, 05:02:00 pm  
Anonymous Clare said...

Thank you everyone - your comments have been noted. Shall get back to this later - this compueter is so slow...

Mon Jun 26, 08:25:00 pm  

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