Fwd: A Sharpening of the Mind

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Subject: A Sharpening of the Mind
Date: Fri, 24 Apr 2009 06:17:52 EDT

Aled Llion, Catholic University, Lubelski, Poland

I am fascinated by your site

_http://elt.britcoun.org.pl/elt/forum/poetry.htm_ (http://elt.britcoun.org.pl/elt/forum/poetry.htm)

with its explanation of the bardic rules and the Welsh literary revival. I especially like the quote from the poet Anthny Conran, who describes the bardic art as: “The birthright of poetry, a mode of being human, a sharpening of the mind.” I often use the bardic rules in this exact same way. For example this is an englyn of mine, and it could have been written a thousand years ago.

Y Madarch

Ga^f oer ias yn ei gyfarch, – agwedd fain Fel gwddf wen yr alarch, Llai byddar yw lliw ei barch, Tir mud oer yw ty^’r madarch.

As you know this cannot be translated, only transliterated. The first two lines describe a cold fright on meeting a mushroom with an eerie neck like a swan. The second two lines describe the deaf, rusty red colouring of pride on the cold dumb house of the mushroom. The first line is cynghanedd traws, then g, dd, f, n in the foot (after the hyphen) alliterates with g, dd, f, n in the second line. The third line is cynghanedd lusg, the fourth is cynghanedd croes. The syllable pattern is 7 – 3, 6, 7, 7, all lines rhyming, second line ending on an unaccented word, third and fourth lines a couplet of a cywydd. The cynghanedd in the second line must not extend further than the third syllable because the end word in the foot is accented. For the absolute purist the first word should be Ca^f, but I have used my Swansea Valley dialectic Ga^f. To cure this the first line could be “Ca^f oer ias er y cyfarch, – agwedd fain”. This preserves the cynghanedd traws as c, f, r — c, f, r. Fascinating to red that the bardic rules were actually written into law, and it is very pleasing to see that the literary revival in Wales is being taught as far afield as Poland and that great efforts are being made to save the language from extinction.

Glyn Eithrym

(Prof. Myron Wyn Evans of Glyneithrym, British Civil List Scientist).

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