I’ve had to go into a very incidental learning mode (while I try and finish my dissertation!), just listening, reading and watching stuff in Welsh and picking up vocab as I go. I came across this programme and have fallen in love with the poems https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0707y4c
My problem is that, because the translations are for meaning rather than word-for-word, I have no way of learning the words in the poems. I have tried to write down the Welsh and use dictionaries to translate the words but my dictation skills are not good enough to write the correct Welsh spelling for what I hear. I have written the English and tried to translate into Welsh but obviously then this becomes a literal rather than poetic translation. I have also tried to find a book of Hedd Wyn’s poems but I seem to only find biographies (and the poems seem to be war poems rather than the short nature poems). If anyone knows of a way to solve my problem, it would be much appreciated. I will type out my first two dictations just incase these help.
y wawr. cilio mae’r nos or rhosyth. o greysn nac ei dyn nadenyth a mwyn cael cip mor mynydd a rheolawr. doriad dydd.
the night is retreating from the moors. a pity one has no wings to see one’s country from the mountain at the break of day.
gwawr air ar fry gereri. hidoliaeth a dawelwch Enlli. gem o fyd. mor gan mwy fi. estron ir fath artistri.
a hushed enchantment over Enlli. what a gem of a world and how awkward am I. a stranger to such artistry.
I’m not sure if all Hedd Wyn’s poems are included, but your best bet for a book of his work is Cerddi’r Bugail, available from a umber of Welsh online shops
A friend of mine edited an anthology of Hedd Wynn’s poems. Here’s the link on Amazon. I’ll see if I can find a link to another source because it maybe possible to get it a bit cheaper.
[Edited to remove the link to Amazon because I have details of Daffni’s website now.]
Thank you so much for this link, @Wren. I’m not trying to understand the individual words, just going with the flow. I’m listening to it as the birds outside my window compete with the recording, and I’m going so slowly now that my heart is barely beating… magic.
I have listened to it more times than I can count on my hands and feet and the words still give me an unexpected deep inside me.
I’m delighted to say that Daffni Percival still has copies of “Hedd Wynn Ei Farddoniaeth” for sale at the very reasonable price of £12 (hardback). If you live near Dolgellau, she has a regular bookstall in the Thursday indoor market that is held in the Ship Hotel. I popped in this morning and bought 2 copies.
Daffni is a next door neighbour (in Welsh terms, which means she lives some distance further up the same lane as Yr Ysgwrn!) of Gerald, Hedd Wynn’s nephew. So the book not only contains all of Hedd Wynn’s previously published poems but also some extra ones that Gerald found around the cottage after Hedd Wynn’s death.
If you don’t live near Dolgellau and want to order online, you can do so here:
Dyma fy Haiku
Os ydych chi’n ei hoffi
Byddaf yn hapus.